Google, Microsoft face off in AI healthcare race

Tech giants Google and Microsoft are continuing their push into the healthcare industry: integrating generative artificial intelligence into their clinician-geared products and services. 


Google created its own medical chatbot, dubbed Med-PaLM 2, that can generate responses to medical questions as well as perform summarization tasks and organize health data. 

The tech giant began piloting the chatbot at Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic in April. 

This isn't Google's only project with Mayo Clinic. Its cloud arm, Google Cloud, partnered with Mayo on a generative artificial intelligence application that aims to improve outcomes, research and clinical workflows.

Under this partnership, Mayo began using Google's Enterprise Search in Generative AI App Builder. The AI-based application makes searching for patient information easier and more conversational, like a Google search.

"Google Cloud's tools have the potential to unlock sources of information that typically aren't searchable in a conventional manner, or are difficult to access or interpret, from a patient's complex medical history to their imaging, genomics, and labs. Accessing insights more quickly and easily could drive more cures, create more connections with patients, and transform healthcare," Cris Ross, Mayo Clinic's CIO said about the partnership. 


Microsoft is also getting in on the generative AI healthcare buzz. 

The company partnered with one of the largest EHR vendors Epic Systems. The pair is working on developing and integrating Microsoft's generative AI into Epic's EHR software to reduce the documentation burden on providers. 

Under the partnership, Epic software will integrate Microsoft's Azure OpenAI and provide draft messages to providers within patient portals. Physicians can then review the message and make any modifications before it is sent to a patient. 

Physicians can opt to draft a blank message if they do not prefer OpenAI's version. 

The tool is already being piloted by health systems such as Chapel Hill, N.C.-based UNC Health, UC San Diego Health, Madison, Wis.-based UW Health and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Stanford Health Care.

But, the tech giant is also taking its generative AI applications to another healthcare vendor, Teladoc. 

On July 18, Teladoc said it will add Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service, Azure Cognitive Services and the Nuance Dragon Ambient eXperience to its Teladoc Health Solo platform. 

The new integrations will automate the creation of clinical documentation during virtual exams, and aim to ease the documentation burden on healthcare staff.

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