Google Cloud to launch healthcare data capabilities in bid to improve health equity, patient management

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Dive Brief:

  • Google Cloud is launching three new healthcare data engine accelerators in a bid to help health systems and payers strengthen their health equity programs, streamline patient flow management and better analyze population health metrics to improve value-based care.
  • The HDE accelerators, announced Monday at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas, were developed in tandem with several Google customers, including Tennessee-based provider LifePoint Health and New Jersey system Hackensack Meridian Health, according to Google Cloud.
  • The accelerators include tailored infrastructure deployment configurations and data models from BigQuery, Google’s enterprise data warehouse. They will be available early next year. Google plans to develop additional accelerators in the future for other common use cases.

Dive Insight:

Despite disbanding its health-specific unit last year, Google has remained active in the healthcare industry, building Fitbit’s medical device capabilities, creating new provider appointment scheduling capabilities online and launching tools to help healthcare companies make their medical images more interoperable and develop artificial intelligence and machine learning models around them.

Google’s Healthcare Data Engine, launched last fall, allows healthcare organizations to ingest large amounts of clinical data and, using industry-specific data, imaging and privacy standards to quickly generate insights, according to the company. The goal is to give clients a globalized view of patient records, as opposed to keeping data siloed in isolated datasets.

The three new accelerators for HDE could help organizations use that near-real-time access to data, analytics and AI to address health equity, patient flow and value-based care, Google said.

Specifically, the health equity accelerator helps connect patients to community resources in the hopes of improving outcomes by leveraging social determinants of health information. Patient flow and scheduling lets systems aggregate data and visualizations to help manage patients more effectively, with the goal of improving operations, Google said.

Ultimately, the value-based care accelerator will help healthcare companies analyze population health metrics from combining claims and clinical data to identify trends.

LifePoint is Google’s latest client for HDE, with the 29-state hospital system announcing in September that it penned a multiyear strategic partnership with Google Cloud. In a statement on the new accelerators, LifePoint SVP and Chief Innovation Officer Jessica Beegle said that HDE is attractive to LifePoint as it provides more useful data for its clinical teams and is customized to the needs of LifePoint’s markets.

Cloud giants like Google and Microsoft are competing for valuable healthcare cloud market share as they race to catch up to Amazon Web Services, which holds 40% of the market, according to ResearchandMarkets. Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud hold 18% and 12% market share, respectively.

In 2019, Providence, Humana and Walgreens reached data-storage agreements with Microsoft; EHR vendor Cerner named Amazon Web Services its preferred cloud host; and academic medical center Mayo Clinic inked a 10-year deal with Google. In 2021, Google opened a new office by Mayo’s main campus, increasing its investment in the partnership. Nashville-based HCA Healthcare also signed on with Google in 2021.

Meanwhile, Amazon has announced deals this year with Boston-based Tufts Medicine and Pennsylvania-based Geisinger.

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