San Francisco: Google is reportedly gathering health data of hundreds of thousands of US residents — with out informing them or their medical doctors — to design an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven software program, the media reported.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, “Google is engaged with one of the US’s largest health-care systems on a project to collect and crunch the detailed personal-health information of millions of people across 21 states” and at the least 150 Google staffers could have entry to the data.
St. Louis-based faith-based healthcare organisation Ascension is sharing lab outcomes, diagnoses and hospitalisation information — in addition to health histories full with affected person names and dates of delivery — with Google, the report claimed.
“The initiative, code-named ‘Project Nightingale,’ appears to be the biggest effort yet by a Silicon Valley giant to gain a toehold in the health-care industry through the handling of patients medical data,” the report mentioned.
The crunching of health data is the following large frontier for tech giants as Apple to Amazon and Microsoft are aiming large to infuse data findings into their gadgets and options within the burgeoning healthcare house.
The New York Times later wrote that “dozens of Google employees” could have entry to delicate affected person data and a few could have downloaded that data too.
As half of “Project Nightingale”, Ascension uploaded affected person data to Google’s Cloud servers.
In a weblog put up, Google tried to make clear its partnership with Ascension.
“All of Google’s work with Ascension adheres to industry-wide regulations regarding patient data, and come with strict guidance on data privacy, security and usage,” mentioned Tariq Shaukat, President, Industry Products and Solutions, Google Cloud.
Google mentioned it has a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with Ascension, which governs entry to Protected Health Information (PHI) for the aim of serving to suppliers help affected person care.
“To be clear: under this arrangement, Ascension’s data cannot be used for any other purpose than for providing these services we’re offering under the agreement, and patient data cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data,” mentioned the corporate.
Ascension additionally issued an announcement, saying it’s working with Google to optimise the health and wellness of people and communities, and ship a complete portfolio of digital capabilities that improve the expertise of Ascension customers, sufferers and medical suppliers throughout the continuum of care.
“All work related to Ascension’s engagement with Google is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) compliant and underpinned by a robust data security and protection effort and adherence to Ascension’s strict requirements for data handling,” mentioned the healthcare firm.
According to Google, some of the options it’s engaged on with Ascension usually are not but in lively medical deployment, however reasonably are in early testing.
“This is one of the reasons we used a code name for the work — in this case, Nightingale,” it added.
However, neither Google nor Ascension instantly replied to the WSJ report.
In 2017, Google partnered with the University of Chicago Medical Centre to develop machine studying instruments succesful of “accurately predicting medical events — such as whether patients will be hospitalised, how long they will stay, and whether their health is deteriorating despite treatment for conditions such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia, or heart failure.”