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Why is Google collating tens of millions of patient health records?

Google employee's reportedly have access to tens of millions of patients' sensitive health information

By: Jak Connor from Nov 12, 2019 @ 6:03 CST

A new report out of the Wall Street Journal has suggested that Google has access to and is collating millions of patients' sensitive health information.

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The WSJ reports that Ascension, a company with the second-largest health system in the United States, is currently in partnership with Google. This partnership involves Ascension sharing lab results with Google regarding patients' hospitalization records, health histories, names, dates of birth, and more.

According to a person close to the partnership, the project has been called "Project Nightingale" and that reportedly 150 Google employees have access to tens of millions of health records. But why? Google is said to be using the data to feed into new AI-driven software that will be able to make accurate suggestions for patients. It's said that Google wants to eventually be able to develop a searchable cloud-based tool that will be able to examine patient data at large.

Ascension's Executive Vice President of Strategy and Innovations, Eduardo Conrado, said, "As the healthcare environment continues to rapidly evolve, we must transform to better meet the needs and expectations of those we serve as well as our own caregivers and healthcare providers. Doing that will require the programmatic integration of new care models delivered through the digital platforms, applications, and services that are part of the everyday experience of those we serve."

President of Google Cloud, Teriq Shaukat also spoke out about the partnership, saying Google hopes "to transform the delivery of healthcare through the power of the cloud, data analytics, machine learning, and modern productivity tools-ultimately improving outcomes, reducing costs, and saving lives."

In other news about Google and health, the company recently acquired FitBit for a whopping $2.1 billion, more on that here.

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NEWS SOURCES:engadget.com, arstechnica.com