Google Cloud to make custom-made workflow algorithms for HCA Healthcare

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | June 01, 2021
Artificial Intelligence Health IT
Google Cloud has agreed to design custom-made algorithms to help HCA Healthcare boost its workflow, better monitor patients and support decision-making among its physicians and nurses
Clinicians at HCA Healthcare will soon have access to algorithms designed by Google Cloud to improve workflow, monitor patients and enhance decision-making within their facilities.

Cloud Healthcare API, analytics, and AI will create workflow tools, analysis and mobile device alerts to support physicians and nurses responding to emergencies and changes in patient conditions. Google Cloud will also use BigQuery, a planetary-scaled and-HIPAA compliant database with full support for HL7v2 and FHIRv4 data standards.

“The cloud can be an accelerant for innovation in health, particularly in driving data interoperability, which is critical in streamlining operations and providing better quality of care to improve patient outcomes,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, in a statement.
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Under the multi-year agreement, Google Cloud will build the algorithms using data in patient records and internet-connected medical devices at about 2,000 hospitals under HCA Healthcare in 21 states. HCA already uses information from 32 million annual patient interactions to make decisions for improving clinical care and assisting its 97,000 nurses and 47,000 physicians. It also has deployed 90,000 mobile devices that run its own health analysis software, and will use its own data to train the algorithms designed by Google.

In addition, the partnership will also help to improve workflow in nonclinical areas, such as supply chain, human resources and physical plant operations.

While seen by both as an opportunity to support decision-making around patient care, the deal has raised some concerns about the access Google will have to HCA records. Medical ethics expert Arthur Kaplan, a professor at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, told CNBC’s "The News with Shepard Smith" that that deal is an example of why the U.S. must update privacy laws now.

“Now we’ve got electronic medical records, huge volumes of data, and this is like asking a navigation system from a World War I airplane to navigate us up to the space shuttle,” he said. “We’ve got to update our privacy protection and our informed consent requirements.”

HCA, however, told The Wall Street Journal that records will remain under its control and that it will remove all identifying information from them before giving Google access.

Google also told CNBC in an emailed statement that the deal will follow its Enterprise Privacy Commitments and that it does “not process customer data to create ads profiles or improve Google Ads products. We do not sell customer data or service data to third parties.”

The tools will be built in partnership with Google Cloud’s Office of the CTO and Google Cloud Professional Services.

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