Google, HCA Developing Healthcare Algorithm Using Patient Records

Healthcare Algorithm, google, HCA healthcare, digital patient records

Alphabet’s Google and the national hospital chain HCA Healthcare are teaming up to create healthcare algorithms using patients’ medical records. 

The multi-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud aims to tap HCA Healthcare’s information technology to advance the company’s digital transformation, according to a press release on Wednesday (May 26). The goal is to develop a “secure and dynamic data analytics platform” for HCA in order to advance operational models that will target “actionable insights and improved workflows,” stated the release.

“Next-generation care demands data science-informed decision support so we can more sharply focus on safe, efficient and effective patient care,” said Sam Hazen, chief executive officer of HCA Healthcare. 

The company anticipates that its partnership with Google Cloud will provide the necessary tools to enable physicians, nurses and other medical professionals to act fast if a patient’s condition changes.

“The cloud can be an accelerant for innovation in health, particularly in driving data interoperability, which is critical in streamlining operations and providing better quality of care to improve patient outcomes,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud. 

“Data are spun off of every patient in real time,” noted Dr. Jonathan Perlin, HCA’s chief medical officer, per a Wall Street Journal report report. “Part of what we’re building is a central nervous system to help interpret the various signals.” 

HCA, which has hospitals in 2,000 locations in 20 states and the U.K., will give Google consent to tap data when needed, but the search giant can also develop analytic tools without patient records. HCA can then test the models independently, Chris Sakalosky, managing director of healthcare and life sciences at Google Cloud, told the WSJ. “We want to push the boundaries of what the clinician can do in real time with data,” he added.

The deal gives Google a deeper reach into the $3 trillion healthcare industry. The use of digital records has triggered mountains of data, making the industry ripe for tech companies and startups. Data analysis can lead to better care and new treatments, but privacy issues remain as more tech companies team with hospitals, the WSJ reported.

Healthcare data breaches are an unwelcome side effect of digitizing records, with cyberattacks increasing since the pandemic took hold last year. In March alone, there was a 37 percent increase in attacks compared to last year, and cybercrime is up 58 percent since January.

Amazon and Microsoft are also making inroads into the digital healthcare space. Microsoft is working with the hospital system Providence to develop cancer algorithms using shared patient data stripped of identifying information. 

In a PYMNTS interview, Dr. YiDing Yu, chief medical officer of healthcare-centric artificial intelligence (AI) platform Olive, said that the healthcare system will be improved by using advanced technology. The firm is in the process of developing automated workflows using AI with an eye on streamlining manual tasks.