Google's Page urges free disclosure of medical records

Posted by Nick Farrell

After suffering from a mysterious throat condition, Larry Page is now telling the world+dog that people are being precious about hiding their medical records from the known world.

Now let's be clear about this. Page has had his medical condition for nearly a year and no one has been able to get a clear statement about it. He began skipping public appearances in July last year due to a problem affecting his vocal chords, but at the time didn't disclose the precise nature of the problem. Now that he has decided to come clean, he thinks that other people should be more open about their medical histories.

According to IT World he said that after he disclosed his voice problem, he had so many thoughtful emails from people and advice.

Page said he had originally thought his own medical information should be very private, but the response he got from his blog post caused a rethink.

He thinks he should have done it sooner and he wonders why people are so focused on keeping their medical history private. The winner in the privacy stakes had to be Apple CEO Steve Jobs who battled and ultimately lost a fight with cancer without telling anyone he was sick until he was legally required to.

Page has had his condition since age 14 with a nerve problem that has caused his left vocal cord to be partially paralyzed. A cold last summer affected his second vocal cord, leaving him unable to speak. While his voice has returned, it's much softer and quieter.

He thinks that people are forced into silence because of insurance reasons and they are worried that they are going to be denied it. He said that the rules around insurance should be changed so that they have to insure people.

But there are some other reasons that Page might want people to be more open about their medical history. He mentioned how he was frustrated with laws that were preventing Google from doing some experiments. Health records were just one such area where legal restrictions ultimately led to the closure of its Google Health service.

Humanity has not built mechanisms to allow experimentation. There are many things, exciting things that you could do that you just can't do because they are illegal or they are not allowed by regulation. And that makes sense, we don't want our world to change too fast, he said.

We guess those are the sorts of laws which prevent you from building creatures from the bodies of the dead and then activating them with lightning bolts when they strike your castle in the Valley.