Google amps up its healthcare ambitions


Google introduces Open Health Stack for developers | TechCrunch

Google announced a new open source program called Open Health Stack for developers to build health-related apps. These tools, unveiled at the company’s “The Check Up” special event this week, include a Software Developer Kit (SDK) for Android and design guidelines for health apps.

The search giant said that the stack is centered around the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards. This makes it easier for developers to capture the information and healthcare workers to access that. FHIR has been adopted by a lot of major electronic health record (EHR) providers.

This is an interesting development. Google hasn’t abandoned its health-tech ambitions, but is instead looking at expanding into standards. I have written extensively about platforms, and my long-term interest remains focused on the healthcare-tech platforms; specifically as different entities collaborate and interact, giving rise to a integral outcome.

Should other countries shift to their own healthcare standards? The implications are profound; especially as the entire industries and ecosystems are formed based on these standards. Standards evolve over time, but conceptual ideas remain the same. No one can create any specific “timeless standards” though. I think the standards will also assume the geopolitical dimensions. (Think about the railway gauge standards, for example). The tracks are standard, but the trains have evolved from steam, diesel and electric locomotives.

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