Google Cloud is partnering with the Mayo Clinic to streamline health data searches

Mayo Clinic providers will be able to use generative AI to search through health records.
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Google Cloud this week announced a partnership with the Mayo Clinic to use generative artificial intelligence (AI) to help clinicians find health information.

Generative AI is designed to produce new content or answers in response to a prompt (think ChatGPT). With Google’s Enterprise Search on Generative AI App Builder (Gen App Builder), clinicians can use AI to search across disconnected health data such as medical records, research studies, and other clinical databases—potentially improving clinical workflow, according to the announcement.

“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,” Mayo Clinic’s Chief Information Officer Cris Ross said in a statement.

While the widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) has made patient data more accessible, the lack of an effective search function means that “clinicians spend a considerable amount of time searching, filtering, and collating a large volume of data to identify important details and ascertain clinically meaningful patterns,” according to a 2021 study analyzing the effectiveness of EHRs. Reviewing EHR information can eat up a third of an appointment, per the study.

Existing AI technology is already helping health organizations with administrative and clinical tasks, potentially saving the industry $360 billion each year.

The World Health Organization, however, raised concerns about the potential biases and patient privacy risks when using AI technologies in healthcare.

Google announced that its Gen App Builder can support compliance with HIPAA, meaning the technology has safeguards for patient data such as restricting access to protected health information.

“Our prioritization of patient safety, privacy, and ethical considerations, means that generative AI can have a significant and positive impact on how we work and deliver healthcare,” Ross said in the announcement.

Earlier this year, Google introduced its AI model, Med-PaLM 2, which was able to answer medical questions about as accurately as a doctor could using her own knowledge base.

More health systems are following the generative AI trend.

The University of Kansas Health System announced in March that it plans to use generative AI to help clinicians create patient summaries based on provider-patient conversations. Epic and Microsoft announced a partnership in April to use generative AI to fill in missing information in EHRs.

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