Monday, July 02, 2007
In a world of 24/7 news cycles, a summer weekend can bring considerable -- and unanticipated -- excitement. Take for example the reaction we've just seen to an item on our new health advertising blog. Frankly, we were surprised by the pickup, but perhaps we shouldn't have been. We've been proponents of corporate blogging for some time, despite the significant communication challenges that obviously arise from having many voices from all parts of our company speak publicly through blog posts. In this case, the blog criticized Michael Moore's new film "Sicko" to suggest how health care companies might use our ad programs when they face controversy. Our internal review of the piece before publication failed to recognize that readers would -- properly, but incorrectly -- impute the criticisms as reflecting Google's official position. We blew it.
In fact, Google does share many of the concerns that Mr. Moore expresses about the cost and availability of health care in America. Indeed, we think these issues are sufficiently important that we invited our employees to attend his film (nearly 1,000 people did so). We believe that it will fall to many entities -- businesses, government, educational institutions, individuals -- to work together to solve the current system's shortcomings. This is one reason we're deploying our technology and our expertise with the hope of improving health system information for everyone who is or will become a patient. Over the last several months, we have been blogging about our thinking in this area. See: November 30, 2006, March 28, May 23, and June 14, 2007.
In the meantime, we have taken steps on our own to address the failures we see in our health care system. In our case, the menu of health care options that we offer our employees includes both direct services (for example, on-site medical and dental professionals in certain locations) as well as a range of preventive care programs. It's one of the ways we're attempting to demonstrate corporate responsibility on a major issue of our time.