Our friends at MedGadget got their hands on a CR-48, Google’s Chrome OS pilot notebook, and recently published a great review of how the device could have potential in the medical arena. They named four key features that give the Chrome OS laptop potential: Disposability, Interchangeability, Security, and Hardware customization.

If you delve deeper into the explanation of each, you come at really what is a single conclusion — one they mention, but one I think is central to the Google Operating System (OS) potential, it’s all about the cloud. Google’s OS stores and pulls information almost exclusively from the cloud, something hospitals already do with most of their laptop and desktop station computers.

I’ve used the electronic medical records at multiple hospitals, and almost all the computers that access patient data do not allow local storage on that particular device — rather, it’s in the cloud — a central storage server, so even if you lose the device, no patient data is compromised, making the device disposable as well.  Many of these EMRs exclusively run through web browsers or have the potential to do so, and Google’s operating system is optimized for the web experience, even promising a great flash experience.  Epic is just one example of an EMR that runs seamlessly using a web browser.

Google’s biggest advantage for penetrating the healthcare market is they are not Microsoft.  Hewlett Packard and Dell already offer cloud based solutions to healthcare institutions – but they mostly rely on running a Windows based operating system, and each license for a device is going to cost a hospital or healthcare organization capital.

If Google is able to show their devices can run electronic medical records seamlessly using their web browser — or if they are able to collaborate with EMR companies to offer joint solutions, they could very easily penetrate the market because their devices will be cheaper than a Windows licensed  device from a traditional computer manufacturer.  Lastly, if they can assure CIOs and healthcare leaders their Chrome operating system is secure or can be customized with additional security layers, then the cost saving argument could be extremely compelling to healthcare institutions.

Video of Chrome OS: