Google signs healthcare data and cloud computing deal with Ascension

  • Published | 14 November 2019

Google's Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) has signed the largest cloud computing customer in healthcare so far, in a deal that gives it exposure to databases that could help to set up potentially lucrative AI software. 

Global: Google and Ascension, which owns 150 hospitals and over 50 senior residential facilities across the United States, said the healthcare provider will transfer some data and analytics software to Google's servers in their facilities.

The data includes laboratory tests, physician diagnosis and reports of hospital treatment, among other things, which contributes to a complete history of health along with names of patients and birth dates. According to the Ascension Alliance, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) covers medical information. The key objective, according to Ascension, is to use AI to help improve both medical effectiveness and patient safety. Google has been using artificial intelligence for several years to automatically interpret MRI scans and other patient data in order to identify diseases and make predictions aimed at improving outcomes and reducing costs.

According to BlueWeave Consulting, in general, the use of IT in healthcare systems followed the same pattern as in other industries. The U.S. Economic and Clinical Health Technology Act— an initiative to encourage the use of health information technology— and the U.K. National Health Service's National IT Program. Healthcare industry players have been relatively successful at the first and second phases of IT adoption, and have benefited from it. Yet they struggled to navigate the various stakeholders, legislation, and privacy concerns needed to build a fully integrated IT system for health care. The positive impact of technology in healthcare is the digital transformation in healthcare. Telemedicine, medical devices enabled by artificial intelligence (AI), and electronic health records from Blockchain is just a several specific examples of digital healthcare transformation. Creativity is the name of the game, with the main objective of streamlining the work of doctors, optimizing procedures, enhancing patient outcomes, minimizing human error and cutting costs through innovative web and mobile experiences.