Google's DeepMind can read 1.6 million NHS patients' records

AI division has a data-sharing deal with the Royal Free NHS Trust

DeepMind, Google's artificial intelligence company, is able to access 1.6 million NHS patient records thanks to a data-sharing agreement with the Royal Free NHS Trust.

The deal, revealed in a document obtained by New Scientist, gives DeepMind access to healthcare data for the 1.6 million patients attending any of the Royal Free NHS Trust hospitals in London Barnet, Chase Farm and the Royal Free.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The deal also includes patient data from the last five years, including that from critical care and accident and emergency departments.

DeepMind's partnership with the NHS started in February, when they worked on an app called Streams, designed to help hospital staff monitor patients with kidney disease. The data-sharing agreement is directly related to this project.

Google argued that, because data on these patients is not separated, it needs access to all patient data in order for the app to work effectively.

The information available to the company includes day-to-day hospital activity logs, results of some pathology and radiology tests, and patient visitors. It is not clear whether patients can opt out of the agreement.

Despite access to this data, however, the deal states that Google cannot use it in any other parts of its business, and it will be stored by a third party only until the agreement expires in September 2017.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

After this date, all records must be restored to the NHS or destroyed.

The document revealed that Google is working on the Patient Rescue platform, designed to provide analytics services to NHS hospital trusts and help staff adhere to the UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines.

The NHS has previously been criticised over its controversial care.data plan, which aimed to collect patient data from GP medical records to share with the national Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Patients and GPs pushed back against the plans after it was revealed that the data collected would potentially identify individuals, as well as a system that did not make it clear to patients that they could opt-out of sharing their information. Last month, the HSCIC finally agreed to opt-out patients who had chosen not to share their data.

The project was given a 'red' status by the Major Projects Authority following news that 47 million NHS patients' medical data had been accessed by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in 2013 in order to help insurance companies 'refine' their premiums, according to the Telegraph.

Featured Resources

Navigating the new normal: A fast guide to remote working

A smooth transition will support operations for years to come

Download now

Putting a spotlight on cyber security

An examination of the current cyber security landscape

Download now

The economics of infrastructure scalability

Find the most cost-effective and least risky way to scale

Download now

IT operations overload hinders digital transformation

Clearing the path towards a modernised system of agreement

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/ransomware/356292/university-of-california-gets-fleeced-by-hackers-for-114-million
ransomware

University of California gets fleeced by hackers for $1.14 million

30 Jun 2020
Visit/security/cyber-security/356289/australia-announces-135b-investment-in-cybersecurity
cyber security

Australia announces $1.35 billion investment in cyber security

30 Jun 2020
Visit/cloud/cloud-security/356288/csa-and-issa-form-cybersecurity-partnership
cloud security

CSA and ISSA form cyber security partnership

30 Jun 2020
Visit/business/policy-legislation/356215/senators-propose-a-bill-aimed-at-ending-warrant-proof-encryption
Policy & legislation

Senators propose a bill aimed at ending warrant-proof encryption

24 Jun 2020

Most Popular

Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/security/vulnerability/356295/microsoft-patches-high-risk-flaws-that-can-be-exploited-with-a
vulnerability

Microsoft releases urgent patch for high-risk Windows 10 flaws

1 Jul 2020
Visit/business/policy-legislation/356256/uk-invested-about-ps500m-in-wrong-gps-satellites
Policy & legislation

UK gov buys "wrong" satellites in £500m blunder

29 Jun 2020