What You Need to Know
– Google has been secretly working with St. Louis-based Ascension on an initiative code-named “Project Nightingale” to gather millions of patient records across 21 states since last year, reports The Wall Street Journal.
– The collected data includes patient names, date of birth (DOB), lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records to provide a complete health history.
– After the WSJ article, Ascension officially announced its collaboration with Google to transition to their Google Cloud Platform, G Suite of solutions, and explore artificial intelligence/machine learning apps to increase consumer and provider satisfaction.
– All work-related to Ascension’s engagement with Google is HIPAA compliant and underpinned by robust data security and protection effort and adherence.
Google has been secretly amassing millions of patient records across 21 states, in partnership with Catholic health system Ascension, The Wall Street Journal reports. Google has been working with Ascension on this data collection initiative, code-named “Project Nightingale” since last year and reports at least 150 Google employees already have access to much of the data on tens of millions of patients, according to a person familiar with the matter and the documents.
The patient data involved in ‘Project Nightingale’ includes patient names, date of birth (DOB), lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records to provide a complete health history. Neither patients nor doctors have been notified. Ascension reported that all work related to their engagement with Google is HIPAA compliant and underpinned by robust data security and protection effort and adherence to Ascension’s strict requirements for data handling.
Based in St. Louis, Ascension is the second-largest health system in the nation and operates more than 2,600 sites of care – including 150 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities – in 21 states and the District of Columbia. S
Ascension officially announced the partnership today after the WSJ article was published and said the collaboration will focus on several initiatives that will improve the experience of patients and consumers, as well as providers and associates. These initiatives include:
1. Transition Patient Records to Google Cloud
Modernizing Ascension’s infrastructure by transitioning to patient records to a secure, reliable and intelligent Google Cloud Platform. Key elements of this work will focus on network and system connectivity, data integration, privacy and security, and compliance.
This project has been in the works since February of this year and includes a search product that allows Ascension healthcare providers to see an “overview page” about their patients. The patient overview page includes complete patient information as well as notes about patient medical issues, test results, and medications, including information from scanned documents, according to presentations viewed by Forbes.
Google’s search service has been deployed in at least one Ascension facility each in Florida and Texas. Google reportedly plans to release the product in Ascension facilities in states including Michigan and Tennessee by the end of this year, according to documents.
2. Adopting Google G Suite Productivity & Collaboration Tools
Transitioning to Google’s G Suite productivity and collaboration tools. Using G Suite will enhance Ascension associates’ ability to communicate and collaborate securely in real-time, supporting interdisciplinary care and operations teams across Ascension sites of care.
3. AI/Machine Learning Apps
Exploring artificial intelligence/machine learning applications that will have the potential to support improvements in clinical quality and effectiveness, patient safety, and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable populations, as well as increase consumer and provider satisfaction.
“Ascension is a leader at increasing patient access to care across all regions and backgrounds, particularly those in disadvantaged communities. We’re proud to partner with them on their digital transformation,” said Tariq Shaukat, President, Google Cloud. “By working in partnership with leading healthcare systems like Ascension, we hope 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.