The search giant's push into artificial intelligence as a tool for health improvement is a natural evolution for a company that has developed algorithms that reach deep into our lives through the Web.
Tech evangelists say consumer electronics that sense, stream and interpret vital signs will lead to better health and lower costs. But skeptics say reliability and privacy issues still loom.
Health insurer Aetna has reached a settlement with people whose privacy was compromised when their HIV status was visible through the clear address windows on envelopes sent to them.
Apps can make managing health care a lot easier, but most don't have the privacy protections required of doctors and hospitals. And a simple Web search can clue in advertisers to health concerns.
As health care increasingly moves from hospitals and doctors' offices to the home, patient medical data become more vulnerable to hackers. Dartmouth College researchers hope their product will help.
Deceased veterans' documents were sent to the wrong widows. VA workers snooped on patients who had committed suicide. And whistleblowers contend the VA violated their medical privacy.
Regulators have logged dozens, even hundreds of complaints against some health providers for violating federal patient privacy law. Warnings are doled out privately, and sanctions are rarely imposed.
Breaches that expose the health details of just a patient or two are proliferating nationwide. Regulators focus on larger privacy breaches and rarely take action on small ones, despite their harm.
When well-known performers receive health care, the details of their cases can leak. Electronic medical records make peeking easier — and also make it easier to catch the staffers who looked.