Google is moving deeper into the health care business. Under a multiyear deal with HCA Healthcare, a hospital chain, the companies' engineers will develop algorithms to help monitor patients, guide medical decisions, and increase efficiency. Google will store data generated by HCA's medical devices, as well as information from health records, the Wall Street Journal reports. The company has about 2,000 US sites. "Part of what we're building is a central nervous system to help interpret the various signals," says Jonathan Perlin, the company's chief medical officer. The companies hope to come up with algorithms that will, among other things, send an alert to clinicians' mobile devices when there's a change in a patient's condition.
The advent of digital medical records has provided opportunity for tech companies, including Google. Data can be used to improve patient outcomes and discover new treatments, advocates say. "We want to push the boundaries of what the clinician can do in real time with data," a Google Cloud executive says. But deals like this one, including Google's agreement with Ascension, also have raised concerns about patient privacy. Perlin says Google and HCA will be vigilant about privacy, per the Hill. Identifying information will be removed from patient records before they go to Google, he says. (Read more Google stories.)