Google, Ascension continue EHR collaboration by launching new search tool

Google and Ascension are continuing the collaboration they began in 2018 by rolling out a tool to help clinicians better organize and search for patient information, the St. Louis-based health system announced Feb. 23.

In 2018, Google and Ascension collaborated to create an accessible and searchable interface that shows clinicians a complete clinical history for each patient. Recognizing that EHR systems often organize clinical information in fragmented ways, the collaboration seeks to present information in a more comprehensive and contextualized manner.

Google and Ascension are now piloting an approach that will organize patients' diagnoses, laboratory tests, medications, treatments and progress notes so that our clinicians can quickly locate relevant information when they need it.

The new tool, called Care Studio, allows clinicians to quickly search through information from both inpatient and outpatient Ascension facilities. It also presents the searched-for information alongside other contextually relevant information so that clinicians do not spend extra time locating those records.

The tool is being piloted with a group of about 250 clinicians in Ascension’s locations in Nashville, Tenn., and Jacksonville, Fla. They will provide feedback Google and Ascension will use to improve the tool's user experience and effectiveness before it is deployed among all the health system's clinicians.

In 2019, the collaboration raised data privacy concerns among patients and clinicians, who did not know that certain Google employees had access to patient data for the project. At the time, Ascension said the project is HIPAA-compliant and Google is not permitted to use data for marketing or research purposes.

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