What happens when Google Wave hits Google Health?

By Brian Dolan
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Google WaveFrom the same engineers that designed Google Maps comes an online collaboration tool called Google Wave that attempts to answer the question: What would email look like if it was invented today, instead of some 40 years ago before the Internet even existed? Some have called Google's answer to that question a Twitter-killer, but given the application's status as an open-source project, it could have far greater implications.

We wonder if Google Wave will accelerate development of the Google Health PHR, which has yet to become fully functional on mobile phones, even though Google has stated their intent to develop its mobile functionality more fully.

First, a brief explanation of what Google Wave looks like today, according to Google: "In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly. It's concurrent rich-text editing, where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. That means Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content - it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use "playback" to rewind the wave and see how it evolved."

We're happy to hear Google Wave will come in two mobile flavors to start -- Android and iPhone. But what is perhaps most exciting about Google Wave is that the company has announced the product well before it is ready for use by the general public. The reason? Google wants to let developers write applications and extensions to Wave for their own services, sites and blogs. It's an open-source project right now with more than 4,900 developers potentially working on it. 

Google Health already has an API available for developers. Google Wave could bring real-time collaboration between physicians and patients to the Google Health platform. Imagine being able to easily insert comments into every line of information in your medical health records. Google Wave could make it much easier for physicians to upload information into Google Health, too. If nothing else, the new application looks to greatly improve the user experience for Google Health users, should developers, whether inside the Googleplex or one of those 4,900 external developers with new Google Wave accounts, take advantage of the opportunity to make Google Health more collaborative. 

How could Google Wave change Google Health? How could it change the way physicians collaborate with each other? With patients?

For more, take a look at the video demo of Google Wave from the Google I/O developers conference last week at the bottom of the official blog post from Google that announced Google Wave.