Google Cloud is teaming up with several healthcare partners to increase data access and improve outcomes

Google Cloud is teaming up with several healthcare partners to increase data access and improve outcomes

Google Cloud announced today at this year’s HLTH 2022 event that it is working with organizations across the healthcare industry to help them transform their technology stacks into an open and collaborative ecosystem that can significantly improve patient outcomes.

In a blog post, Google Cloud’s Director of Global Healthcare Solutions Aashima Gupta said the healthcare sector already struggles with too much information lock-in. He said the potential exists to dramatically improve healthcare by breaking down these silos.

Not only will it lead to better outcomes for patients, but it will also help healthcare professionals meet new regulatory requirements. For example, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Cures Act Final Rule requires patients to have secure access to electronic medical health information to use and share as they wish. Meanwhile, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Interoperability and Patient Access Rule similarly requires health plans participating in federal exchanges to share claims data with patients electronically.

Google Cloud is helping to make this happen, partnering with software firm Epic Systems Corp. for electronic health record to allow healthcare organizations to run Epic workloads on their cloud infrastructure. Already, New Jersey-based healthcare provider Hackensack Meridian Health has announced that it will soon migrate its Epic workloads to Google Cloud in a move it said will boost innovation, increase efficiency and strengthen security.

Hackensack Meridian Health’s executive vice president and chief digital officer Kash Patel said Epic on Google Cloud will make life easier for IT teams and developers, and they will be able to uncover more creative ways to improve patient care. “Having everything with Google Cloud will provide a huge opportunity for discovery,” he said. “For example, data from our natural language processing AI avatar will already be in Google Cloud, ready to ask questions. This will speed up our work and make information more accessible.”

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Similarly, Google Cloud is partnering with Medical Information Technology Inc. to bring its EHR software to the cloud. This partnership was first announced two years ago, and was followed by news in March that Google was integrating its search and summarization capabilities into Expanse, Meditech’s online EHR platform. Today, Google said DCH Health System and Mile Bluff Medical Center will be the first healthcare providers to pilot the new, integrated system on Google Cloud.

“Too many clinicians spend too much of their days sifting through electronic health records,” Gupta said. “This partnership should help clinicians more easily obtain the data they need, so they can focus on the important work they intend to do: caring for patients, not paperwork.”

Healthcare Data Accelerators

In addition to making healthcare data more accessible via the cloud, Google is helping healthcare professionals make more use of this information through its Healthcare Data Engine platform.

To that end, Google announced it has teamed up with Hackensack Meridian Health, Lifepoint Health Inc. and the Mayo Clinic to develop a series of accelerators tailored to meet specific healthcare needs. Launching in early 2023, the HDE accelerators will provide tailored infrastructure deployment configurations, along with BigQuery data models and Looker dashboard templates to support the adoption and time-to-value of HDE for common industry challenges.

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These challenges include strengthening health equity by overcoming economic, social and other barriers to health care; reinvent operations and experiences for patients who are increasingly frustrated with navigating appointments and wait times; and improve the quality of care via new, value-based care models.

“Available in early 2023, the HDE accelerators will offer customers a set of tools that can potentially get them between 50% and 70% of the way to data analytics, rather than starting from scratch,” said Gupta. “These accelerators, developed in collaboration with healthcare organizations, will solve a number of industry pain points and they will unlock the truly transformative power of interoperable longitudinal patient records.”

Patient-centered care

Google believes that most people want their healthcare experience to be as seamless as possible, with the kind of convenience offered by retail, banking and ride-sharing services. To meet this demand, Google is teaming up with Highmark Health Inc. on a new, interoperable digital health platform called myHighmark. The platform is said to act as a “digital front door” to a consumer-centric patient experience, with seamless treatment navigation, simplified bill payment and cost transparency in a single, user-friendly portal.

“This makes the healthcare system less fragmented and frustrating to navigate, and easier for members to proactively engage in their health,” promised Gupta.

Health Connect enters Beta

In related news, Google announced the launch of a new health-focused smartphone application called Health Connect, which is now available on the Google Play Store. With Health Connect, users can manage access to health and fitness data found on their device for a variety of apps, without compromising privacy. At launch, more than 10 leading fitness and wellness apps are integrated with Health Connect, including MyFitnessPal, Peloton and Oura. The app essentially allows these apps to talk to each other, creating opportunities for developers to build new integrations between their apps. Users will also benefit from having consistent data between the various fitness and wellness apps they use, and centralized privacy controls.

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Photo: Google Cloud

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