Congressional leaders demand information on Google, Ascension project by Dec. 6

Google and St. Louis-based Ascension Health have until Dec. 6 to respond to a letter from four Democratic leaders of Congress asking for more information on "Project Nightingale," according to CNBC.

In the letter, addressed to the CEOs at Google and Ascension, the congressional representatives call the project "disturbing," as Google and Ascension have not told patients that their information has been shared.

At least 150 Google employees have access to the data on tens of millions of patients, a Wall Street Journal report found. Google is using patients' data to design software that leverages artificial technology and machine learning to make suggestions in patients' treatment plans.

In further detail, Ascension said the partnership with Google aims to modernize the health system's infrastructure, improve communication and collaboration and explore artificial learning to boost clinical quality. Specifically, the health system hopes to mine patient data to then identify tests that could be necessary. Ascension is also looking to improve its EHR system.

Although the project is HIPAA-compliant, not all policymakers are sold on the deal.

"Despite the sensitivity of the information collected through Project Nightingale, reports indicate that employees across Google, including at its parent company, have access to, and the ability to download, the personal health information of Ascension's patients," the letter reads, according to CNBC.

Google has said that the information is not being used for advertising purposes. The tech giant did not return CNBC's request for comment.

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