Published: Tue, November 12, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Google Project Nightingale secretly collects health data

Google Project Nightingale secretly collects health data

The initiative, dubbed "Project Nightingale", gives the tech giant the ability to analyze personal health information compiled by Ascension, a Catholic hospital system that operates in 21 states.

Google has been collecting detailed health records of millions of Americans since a year ago, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

At least 150 Google employees are said to have sweeping access to millions of users' data, with these individuals employed across the spectrum of Alphabet companies and projects.

The data-sharing between Google and Ascension shouldn't necessarily come as a surprise.

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The companies' joint digital, health care capabilities will allow consumers to more proactively manage their own health care - all enabled by Google-developed tools, according to the press release. The software Google is developing with Ascension's patient data is focused on individualized healthcare, and how AI can be used to suggest changes to patient care.

Neither patients nor doctors have been notified.

Its objective will be to 'zero in on individual patients to suggest changes to their care'. Google's ultimate goal is to develop a searchable, cloud-based tool to host and examine massive amounts of patient data-which it could then market to other health systems. Although Ascension staff members have questioned Project Nightingale, including the ethical implications of collecting and crunching the data, privacy experts and the companies said it's legal, per Business Insider.

For Google, Project Nightingale highlights the company's ambitions in the healthcare space, and also lines up with Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian's strategy around selling verticals.

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