Meet Dr. Google Health: Roni Zeiger, right out of Stanford!

Roni F. Zeiger, MD (watch his presentation), Google Health product manager, whose PubMed profile (if he really is the very same person) gives us a very strong reason why he was hired by Google for this job (he joined Google in 2006).

The 38-year-old, who still sees patients some evenings and weekends at a nearby clinic, said: “At Google, I can use my expertise and knowledge to potentially help millions of people each day.”

Fortunately all of his 3 papers are freely accessible out of which 2 are particularly interesting and related to Google (Health). Here I just copy the abstracts and probably get back to the papers after I digested them.

Zeiger RF, Stave CD, Schmitzberger F, Fagan LM. Modeling the relationship between search terms in clinical queries. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2005; 2005: 1167.

We designed hedges for clinical queries sent to MEDLINE and Google in an attempt to explicitly model the relationship, such as treatment or diagnosis, between search terms. A pilot evaluation suggested that mean average precision (MAP) improved for a precomputed diagnostic query but not for a precomputed treatment query. An important limitation to this approach is that target resources do not explicitly model these relationships.

Roni F Zeiger Toward Continuous Medical Education J Gen Intern Med. 2005 January; 20(1):91–94.

While traditional continuing medical education (CME) courses increase participants’ knowledge, they have minimal impact on the more relevant end points of physician behavior and patient outcomes. The interactive potential of online CME and its flexibility in time and place offer potential improvements over traditional CME. However, more emphasis should be placed on continuing education that occurs when clinicians search for answers to questions that arise in clinical practice, instead of that which occurs at an arbitrary time designated for CME. The use of learning portfolios and informationists can be integrated with self-directed CME to help foster a culture of lifelong learning. /Table 1 from the paper:

The other doctor behind Google Health is advisor Dean Ornish whose point of view is quite clear:

“I asked Dr. Ornish why putting health information into patients’ hands was better than relying on solely on doctors to provide necessary care and information. “That model,” he said “has been of limited value because it provides all the information and all the control with the physician … It’s much more powerful to have a collaborative relationship with the patient where the physician becomes the resource that has information, shares that information and provides choices to the patient about what to do with it – the risks, the benefits, the costs the side effects and so on.” He argues that “Google Health can help provide that information to the patient as well as the physician.”

For those upcoming MDs who recently developed the idea of getting a Google Health job I suggest choosing Dr. Zeiger’s Alma Mater for graduation: Stanford Medical Informatics, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

23 thoughts on “Meet Dr. Google Health: Roni Zeiger, right out of Stanford!

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  2. Dr. Roni Zeiger, I know Dr. Dick Tayrien, VP for Clinical Information Services at Catholic Healthcare West, and he gave me your name. I am a member of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians. We have around 700 members and are spread around the country. We are looking for some internet mechanism wherein we can communicate, ask questions, perhaps run studies, etc. My daughter told me something about “list serves.” Could Google be of help to us? Don Paxton

  3. I’m still a fan of Google Health. I think the idea of sharing information with patients and potential patients will ultimately lead to a healthier society based on what will be learned from the interaction between patient and health information and then doctor, as opposed to Dr telling patient what is wrong and here’s the pill.

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