Google is gathering detailed health record information from millions of Americans — and it has not informed patients or doctors, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to WSJ, St. Louis-based Ascension, the second-largest health system in the US, is sharing lab results, diagnoses and hospitalization records, as well as health histories complete with patient names and dates of birth, with Google.
Who, what, and why?
The effort has been dubbed “Project Nightingale,” and a person familiar with the matter told WSJ that at least 150 Google employees have access to data on tens of millions of patients. Google is reportedly using the data to design new, AI-driven software.
Invasion of Privacy or a Simple Means to Advancement?
While this may feel like an invasion of privacy, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) typically allows hospitals to share data with business partners, without telling patients, if that info is used to help the hospital provide healthcare. As companies like Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft try to make themselves relevant in the healthcare space, we’ll likely see more of this. Let’s hope they can at least keep patient records secure.
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