Google partners with Ascension to collect medical data on millions

'Project Nightingale' gives Google access to records of the largest non-profit healthcare system in the US

Google privacy

Google is partnering with Ascension, the largest non-profit healthcare system in the US, to collect medical data on millions of Americans, according to The Wall Street Journal's sources familiar with the project.

The tech giant will collect lab results, prescribed medications, hospitalisation records, patient birthdates, family profiles, and more personal information as a part of "Project Nightingale", launched in 2018.

"As the healthcare environment continues to rapidly evolve, we must transform to better meet the needs and expectations of those we serve as well as our own caregivers and healthcare providers," said Ascension's executive vice president of strategy and innovations Eduardo Conrado.

"Doing that will require the programmatic integration of new care models delivered through the digital platforms, applications and services that are part of the everyday experience of those we serve."

Project Nightingale is just one facet of Google's greater plan to create new software that will analyse patient information and recommend treatments using artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

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Google recently took over AI firm DeepMind's health division, signing contracts with five NHS trusts that effectively handed over confidential UK hospital data to the tech giant.

Google's parent company, Alphabet, did not obtain consent from doctors or patients in the Project Nightingale data-collection process. However, that didn't stop it from sharing the medical data of tens of millions of patients with more than 150 of its employees, a process which still complies with federal health law, according to a Google spokesperson.

Google is partnering with Ascension, the largest non-profit healthcare system in the US, to collect medical data on millions of Americans, according to The Wall Street Journal's sources familiar with the project.

The tech giant will collect lab results, prescribed medications, hospitalisation records, patient birthdates, family profiles, and more personal information as a part of "Project Nightingale", launched in 2018.

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"As the healthcare environment continues to rapidly evolve, we must transform to better meet the needs and expectations of those we serve as well as our own caregivers and healthcare providers," said Ascension's executive vice president of strategy and innovations Eduardo Conrado.

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"Doing that will require the programmatic integration of new care models delivered through the digital platforms, applications and services that are part of the everyday experience of those we serve."

Project Nightingale is just one facet of Google's greater plan to create new software that will analyse patient information and recommend treatments using artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Google recently took over AI firm DeepMind's health division, signing contracts with five NHS trusts that effectively handed over confidential UK hospital data to the tech giant.

Google's parent company, Alphabet, did not obtain consent from doctors or patients in the Project Nightingale data-collection process. However, that didn't stop it from sharing the medical data of tens of millions of patients with more than 150 of its employees, a process which still complies with federal health law, according to a Google spokesperson.

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