Billions of dollars worth of the health care industry have long been on the radar for Google. And now the tech behemoth in it in a big way. as first reported in the Wall Street Journal. Ascension is sharing information with Google. In the program called ”Project Nightingale” Ascension, a health system Google also provides lab results for hospital admissions and diagnoses is reportedly providing patient names and dates of birth, as well as lab results, including more than 2, 600 hospital and health care centers in 21 states. Patients and doctors were not notified.
Google is helping the Ascension in the information section centralize its patients’ database, as well as design new software that uses artificial intelligence to predict or identify the medical condition, reports CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula.
Pam Dixon with the World Privacy Forum said digital records are necessary, and so is knowing what companies are doing with such personal and private information and how they are protecting it.
Access to private medical information is very common, Dixon said, ” The Department of Health’s Human Services actually tracks all of the medical data breaches and some of the largest data breaches in history have been medical data breaches. So it is a significant concern.”
In a press release, Google and Ascension said they are fully committed to a ”robust data security and protection effort” and fully compliant with HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 that protects patient privacy.
Dixon said more has to be done.
”But I do think that there is room for having an independent, third party taking a look at what’s happening at that health information that’s at Google, ”Dixon said.
While Amazon and Apple are also trying to step into healthcare. Google has made the biggest progress so far. It has the previous deal with the Mayo Clinic, but in that case, any identifying information has been removed-which is not the case with Project Nightingale.