Google on Thursday laid out plans for one of its most anticipated new services, a digital health records system meant to give users more control over their personal healthcare.
The plans would put Google's database of health records at the heart of a broader health information system that draws in health insurers, doctors and others, potentially giving the internet company a central role as the health industry moves towards greater use of information technology.
The initiative also opens a new front in Google's spreading confrontation with Microsoft. The software company launched its own personal health records system, known as HealthVault, late last year.
Eric Schmidt, chief executive, outlined the Google Health plans at a conference in Florida on Thursday. The system will be based on personal health records that patients authorise their health insurers, doctors and others to move into Google's database.