Google Expands in the Healthcare Market
Google and HCA Healthcare Ink a Deal
Google (GOOGL) is expanding into the healthcare market. The tech giant has inked a deal with hospital chain HCA Healthcare (HCA) to develop algorithms to improve operations and patient care. The healthcare sector is valued at about $3 trillion, and Google is working to become a part of the industry through a variety of deals. Google already has agreements with other hospital systems in the US including Ascension and Mayo Clinic.
Healthcare systems are making a shift to digital medical records. This fosters new opportunities for startups and technology companies such as Google to analyze data. Through work with data, the healthcare industry can develop better treatments and care for individuals.
Patient Data Algorithms Increasing
HCA Healthcare, which oversees roughly 2,000 healthcare facilities in 21 states, will store all its data from digital health records and connected medical devices with Google. Google and HCA engineers aim to collaborate on algorithms to monitor patients and help doctors make care decisions. Google will need HCA’s permission to access the patient data. The company does retain the freedom to develop analytical tools using patient records, which HCA will test.
The multiyear partnership with HCA is similar to Google’s arrangement with Mayo Clinic. Google stores Mayo Clinic’s medical, genetic, and financial data. The hospital and the tech company jointly develop algorithms. Meanwhile, Microsoft (MSFT) is partnering with hospital Providence to use patient data to develop algorithms for cancer treatments.
Privacy Advocates Raise Concerns
Deals like the one between Google and HCA are raising concerns from privacy advocates who worry about technology companies having access to personal medical records. Google and Ascension’s “Project Nightingale,” which aimed to create a search tool for patient data, faced significant backlash. Privacy advocates were concerned that Google had access to the names, dates of birth, and medical information of patients. In the HCA arrangement, the hospital chain plans to scrub data of any identifying information before sharing it with Google.
As large technology companies and startups work to enter the healthcare sphere, hospitals are making deals and seeking ways to leverage the information they gather. While new systems could streamline processes in the healthcare industry, they could also pose privacy dilemmas. The healthcare industry is gigantic and has room for change and growth. It is likely that there will be more deals like the one between Google and HCA in the near future.
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