On the heels of the I/O keynote on Thursday, Google cofounder Larry Page spilled his guts to Farhad Manjoo from The New York Times. "Right now we don't data-mine health care data," Page said. "If we did we'd probably save 100,000 lives next year." But is that actually a good idea?
Mining health care is a very slippery slope, whether it's done by Google or some government agency or anyone really. The privacy concerns alone have always kept prying eyes out of your health records. But now that technology has advanced to the point where we could anonymize the data and use the information to cure diseases, it's worth revisiting that topic.
The data store is only going to get bigger too, as gadgets like fitness and health trackers become more ubiquitous. (Google, of course, is leading the charge on this front as well.) While Page's 100,000 figure is probably completely made up — and not even that many lives in the grander scheme of things — it seems pretty clear that a better understanding of health care data is a good thing.
So what do you think? Is it time to chill out about privacy so that Google algorithms can start saving some lives? Or would you rather keep your personal health care data personal? [NYT]