Google has gained access to a vast archive of U.S. patient data thanks to a deal with a major health firm that raises concerns about privacy, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
The scheme, Project Nightingale, was agreed to with Ascension, which runs 2,600 hospitals across the U.S. It gives Google access to health records, names and addresses without the need to inform patients.
In a statement posted online, Google said the deal was “standard practice” in the health care sector, “adheres to industry-wide regulations” on patient data and involves “strict guidance on data privacy, security and usage.”
“Under this arrangement, Ascension’s data cannot be used for any other purpose than for providing these services we’re offering under the agreement, and patient data cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data,” the statement said.
Under the deal, Google can reportedly access patients’ age, lab results, diagnoses and hospitalization records. According to the newspaper, the data access started in 2018 and does not require Google to inform patients nor doctors about the data they are accessing.
Proponents of the deal say bringing artificial intelligence tools into hospitals will help doctors better treat patients and medical costs will fall when new technologies are rolled out across the health care sector.
Critics say patients should have the right to say what happens to their personal medical records. Others worry about technology firms like Google harnessing too much data and using it to increase their power and profits.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.