7 things to know about Google's push to collect health data

After multiple failures and successes to partner with healthcare organizations, today Google has access to tens of millions of patient health records in three-quarters of U.S., according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Here are seven things to know about the tech giant's efforts to collect health data:

1. Around a year ago, Google sent its former CEO Eric Schmidt to make a pitch to Cerner as to why it deserved to be the storage provider for 250 million health records. Google offered the EHR provider $250 million in discounts and incentives, sources close to the deal told WSJ. Google was not descriptive in how it would use the Cerner data, however, in the end, Cerner decided to sign a deal with Amazon.

2. Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare was in talks with Google to share medical records with the tech giant. The health system planned to use Google's search tool in its record system. However, the plan never went forward, reports WSJ.

3. Google did finalize a patient data sharing deal with Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic last year. Under the deal, Google can access personally identifiable data. However, when first announced Mayo Clinic said patient data would not be identifiable.

4. Project Nightingale, a project between Google and St. Louis-based Ascension, has made headlines in recent months. Google partnered with health system to collect data on 50 million patients. However, controversy arose after clinicians and patients reported that they were not told data would be shared with Google.

5. Google is working on developing a search tool that would optimize EHRs. Clinicians would be able to mine the EHR in ways similar to Google's flagship search engine. Google Health's chief executive David Feinberg, MD, says the company's health push is more than just a source of profit.

6. Lawmakers and government organizations have started to ask questions and investigate how Google is collecting health data.

7. This is not the first time Google has made efforts to enter the healthcare industry. In 2011, the company terminated its healthcare platform, WSJ reports. Google said that few consumers were interested in a search engine for patient records. Now, under the code name Guardian, the technology company is again testing its healthcare platform.

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