Google, HCA partner for health algorithms: 7 things to know

HCA Healthcare inked a multi-year collaboration with Google Cloud focused on building a health data analytics platform to support the Nashville, Tenn.-based system's clinical and operational workflows, the organizations announced May 26. 

Seven things to know: 

1. Under the partnership, HCA will use Google Cloud's healthcare data offerings, including the Google Cloud Healthcare application programming interface and BigQuery, a database that supports healthcare dating sharing standards Health Level Seven and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources. 

2. The new data platform will provide HCA physicians, nurses and nonclinical staff with workflow tools, analysis and alerts that can help with monitoring patients and guiding treatments.  

3. The partnership also will focus on getting improved data and insights for nonclinical areas within the health system, such as supply chain, human resources and physical plant operations. 

4. Sam Hazen, CEO of HCA Healthcare, said the partnership will build on the health system's digital transformation efforts: "Next-generation care demands data science-informed decision support so we can more sharply focus on safe, efficient and effective patient care. We view partnerships with leading organizations, like Google Cloud, that share our passion for innovation and continual improvement as foundational to our efforts." 

5. HCA and Google Cloud emphasized the importance of privacy and security as guiding principles throughout their partnership, according to the news release. Access and use of patient data will be addressed through Google Cloud's infrastructure alongside HCA's security controls and processes. 

6. HCA patient records would be stripped of identifying information before being shared with Google's data scientists, and the health system will have control of access to the data, HCA Healthcare CMO Jonathan Perlin, MD, said in a May 26 Wall Street Journal report. 

7. HCA will use information from its 32 million annual patient encounters to pinpoint areas where clinical care can be improved. While Google will require consent from HCA to access data when needed, the tech giant can develop analytical tools without patient records and let HCA test the models independently, Google Cloud healthcare and life sciences manager Chris Sakalosky told the Journal

"We want to push the boundaries of what the clinician can do in real time with data," he said.


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