Google has signed a deal with HCA a leading hospital chain , which will allow the tech giant access patients records to use in developing health care algorithms’. HCA operates 181 hospitals and more than 2000 healthcare sites in 21 states across the US. Google will develop algorithms to help improve operating efficiency, monitor patients and guide doctors’ decisions.
Dr. Jonathan Perlin, chief medical officer of HCA, which is based in Nashville, Tenn said Part of what they’re building is a central nervous system to help interpret the various signals.”
The partnership with Google Cloud is expected to empower physicians, nurses and others with workflow tools, analysis and alerts on their mobile devices to help clinicians respond quickly to changes in a patient’s condition.
The partnership will also focus on impacting non-clinical support areas that may benefit from improved workflows through better use of data and insights, such as supply chain, human resources and physical plant operations, among others.
The partnership will seek to utilize Google Cloud’s healthcare data offerings, including the Google Cloud Healthcare API , analytics, and AI including BigQuerry to power custom solutions for clinical and operational settings at the Hospital chain.
The deal will enable expand Google’s reach in healthcare, where the recent shift to digital records has created an explosion of data and a new market for technology giants and startups, for instance Microsoft which has also ventured into a similar project which uses patient records to develop cancer algorithms.
The deal has however raised security concerns about personal patient information as its protected under the US federal health-privacy law referred to as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The law allows hospitals and some other healthcare companies, such as health insurers, to share information with contractors, on condition that they abide by the law’s privacy protections
In response,HCA has said Google isn’t permitted to use patient-identifiable information under the agreement. Dr. Perlin said HCA patient records would be stripped of identifying information before being shared with Google data scientists and that the hospital system would control access to the data.
In addition Google will access data when needed with consent from HCA, although the company can develop analytic tools without patient records and allow HCA to test the models on its own, said Chris Sakalosky, managing director of healthcare and life science at Google Cloud.