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Google Cloud details Ascension health partnership, acknowledges ‘Nightingale’

Following reports of “Project Nightingale” coming to light, Google Cloud last night published a blog post detailing its “partnership with Ascension.” One large aspect sees the health provider move data to the cloud, while another sees the two companies working on future technology to improve patient care.

Ascension is migrating from “on-premise data warehouse and analytics environments to their own private and secure Google Cloud environment.” This includes patient data that’s often managed today in electronic systems accessed by doctors and nurses to “deliver patient care.”

All data is protected by industry-wide regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

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.

Forbes yesterday showed screenshots of “Patient Search” that allows health providers to look up patient data like vitals and lab results all on one consolidated page. Another standard aspect sees Ascension employees switching to G Suite productivity apps for communication and collaboration.

Lastly, and what most of yesterday’s coverage was focused on, Google is building tools for doctors and nurses “to improve care.” Ascension notes how the two companies are “exploring artificial intelligence/machine learning applications.” The goal is to improve “clinical quality and effectiveness, patient safety, and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable populations.”

The Wall Street Journal yesterday detailed an effort where AI/ML could be used to recommend different patient treatments. These future solutions — like Patient Search — are “not yet in active clinical deployment, but rather are in early testing.”

This is one of the reasons we used a code name for the work—in this case, “Nightingale.”

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: