(Take this article with a grain of salt, it is just my perspective on Google Health.)
Don’t get me wrong but Google is an amazing company. They understand hiring the best engineers, building the best search engine in the world and have extremely innovative email Gmail. Also Google had the vision, seeing what healthcare will be, an integrated ecosystem.
That being said, healthcare is an interesting space, very different then web search and email.
So what is the real reason Google Health failed? My answer is lack of innovation. I didn’t see anything in Google Health that gave me chills. I asked myself when using the software, would this make my life better? Would it make my families life better? Does it being me value? Truth be told, not as much as it could have. Did it show me information that a google search won’t give? Not really, it could have showed me value add data about myself.
My experience when I logged in for the first time was, “Ok I need to fill out forms….web forms and more forms”. It didn’t have the “wow” factor that Mint.com or Squareup.com gave me when I first logged in. So they lost me as a user for several months. Losing someone for several months is bad. I came back and logged back in months later, and the same experience. I was waiting for the wow factor, hoping for it.
There was a ton of hype around Google Health, every company was integrating with them.
Healthcare companies need to build that wow factor into software. So what is the wow factor? Having an experience that you want to have again. Ever open the box to an iPhone and turn it on for the first time? There is that wow factor. Facebook actually as the wow factor, it keeps you coming back, the value is you know instantly what your friends and family are up too.
Google Health didn’t have an Android/iPad/iPhone app. They should have build this.
If they had a mobile app, I might have tried it out. There is also value if a patient went to a doctor and said, here is all of my information on this iPad, it would have brought some amazing value to healthcare.
Google Health also didn’t capitalize on what they are known for. Search. Google Health should have had hooks into some amazing search results, better and more advanced that just standard google searches. ( Site note: There are companies built on top of healthcare search, like healthwise.)
This is just and idea: Google has a social network, it is Gmail. Most people don’t think of Gmail as a social network, ah but it is. When you think of Gmail as a social network you get amazing companies building on top of it in innovative ways. Look at the company Rapportive. Google Health could have been plugged into Gmail in some interesting way to get people engaged.