Outside of Fitbit's acquisition earlier this month, Google's health ambitions are multifaceted and expanding to hospital and healthcare providers. This effort under the name Project Nightingale was announced in detail today, along with the end product: Patient Search.
At Wall Street Journal today reported on Project Nightingale, with Forbes providing more details of the effort, including screenshots. Ascension – one of the largest health systems in the country – is transferring its patient records to Google Cloud. This "complete health history" includes "laboratory results, medical diagnoses and hospital records".
In turn, Google analyzes and compiles this data in a Patient Search tool that allows doctors and other healthcare professionals to easily view all patient data on the "review page".
The site contains notes on the patient's medical problems, test results, and medications, including information from scanned documents, according to the presentations she sees Forbes.
The interface is pretty straightforward and not too different from hospitals that today deliver results directly to patients.
Internally, the project is being developed in Google Cloud, and reportedly 150 Googlers have access to the data. This includes Google Brain, an internal company researching the company's AI. At WSJ describes another developing tool that uses machine learning to propose possible changes to patients' treatment of physicians.
In this case, Google is using the data, in part, to design new software, backed by advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, which makes it possible for individual patients to suggest changes in their care.
This appears to be further away than the "Patient Seeker", which is already deployed at Ascension Facilities in Florida and Texas, with more locations planned this year. Google obviously does not charge Ascension for the work and may offer a tool to other health systems in the future.
When asked for comment, Google said Project Nightingale is in compliance with all federal laws and that privacy protection is in place. The experts who spoke with WSJ believe that this initiative is permitted under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).
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