Another Caution About Online Health Records

One service is already going belly up. Others surely will.

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Storing our personal health data online has obvious appeal in giving us more convenience, control, and comprehension. But making the move to online records raises concerns, not the least of which is privacy.

Another is stability. Just who's in this for the long run?

As they exist today, most of the online services require that we enter the medical data that we want to store. Some tied to insurers or health providers add the records they have, but we'll want to add more. As it is now, building a medical record is a tedious, time-consuming process.

If you move to a different insurer, can you take your data with you? And what happens if the service goes belly up? It's happening already—including one service that's been around for a few years at says it's going out of business as of March 21. The site says it will delete all files after that date. Consumers are urged to print them out in the meanwhile, but there's no option for transferring them electronically to another service.

Maybe we can take comfort that big tech companies like Google and Microsoft are getting into the business. But we've no guarantees that they'll stay in, either.