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The Death Of Google Health: Whose Fault Is It?

After more than three years of struggle, the online records service Google Health will cease to exist come January 1. But whose fault was it—Google's (for bad execution) or the health-care industry's (for being too resistant to change)? Opposing experts argue their cases.

"For Google Health to have value, it needed to be tied to the doctors' electronic health records. There wasn't enough benefit for patients because the doctors weren't participating. When there's benefit, people will absolutely do it." DAVE CHASE, CEO OF RECORDS SERVICE AVADO

"What Google was trying to do was ambitious and laudable. In Google-like fashion, they wanted to conquer a whole sector at once rather than marketing it block by block as successful EHR companies have done." ISAAC KOHANE, DIRECTOR OF THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL INFORMATICS PROGRAM

"Google does really well when there are big, generalized needs, but health care just does not lend itself to a one-size-fits-all solution." DAVE CHASE

"The real message about the Google Health failure is that they made a premature assumption about the liquidity of patient data. They were not able to do their typical small-team conquering of a large universe of data, because that large universe of data was not there." ISAAC KOHANE

Illustrations by Riccardo Vecchio

A version of this article appeared in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.