The combination of consumer technology and clinical needs will make health information “universally accessible,” Google Health vice president said.
Speaking at the NHS Confed conference on 16 June, Dr David Feinberg spoke of the global technology giant’s plans to combine its experience in consumer technology to “bridge the gap” between consumers and healthcare professionals.
“What we’re trying to do is take the privilege we have of the people who come to us with health questions from the consumer … and our ability to look at big data sets and help communities and people,” he said.
“In addition to using this same technology in health to help doctors and nurses take better care of patients, we ultimately want to make it easier for everyone to achieve higher quality health.
“Our mission at Google Health is to organize your health information, so that it preserves privacy, to make it universally accessible and useful to you, your loved ones, and those who care for you.”
Feinberg addressed several projects that Google Health is currently working on, including telehealth arrangements for Googlefit users, which can now measure vital signs such as heart rate and respiratory rate using a phone camera. He said more viral signs will soon be added to the system.
Feinberg also mentioned the recent Google Fitbit control jack, who said it will “connect what’s around well-being with health so that people’s journeys, wherever they are to improve health or stay healthy, are connected.”
Google also provides a file dermatology application driven by artificial intelligence (AI) to provide people with guidance on common skin conditions.
“We’re really trying to bridge the gap between when people use questions and if they get better answers, being able to connect them with medical service providers,” Feinberg added.
Incorporate consumer technology into clinical settings
Feinberg went on to say that the tech giant recognized the need to bring technology to the consumer side in clinical settings as a “Google size issue.”
Google has recently piloted its Care Studio Solution with “pretty spectacular” results, Feinberg told the online audience.
Care Studio is a software solution that organizes health information in a more structured way for physicians.
In the words of Feinberg: “A way to organize health information for a doctor or nurse, through multiple electronic health records, for a patient so that he can find what he is looking for in a very intuitive way.”
He explained that the system works like a Google search bar, making it easier for clinicians to search for what they are looking for without the need for extensive product training.
According to Feinberg, it has the potential to “solve the problem of interoperability” based on Google’s ability to organize large amounts of data.
“We believe that our ability to organize information in the outside world, this same technology, can be very helpful in addressing the interoperability problem we have in healthcare,” he added.
“For example, if you see a new patient and you write sepsis, everything about sepsis would come about that patient, including the medications they are taking, possible changes in vital signs, and lab results.
“But if there wasn’t a lactate level in this graph, what our tool would do would be to say‘ Hey, in a patient with sepsis like this we’d expect to see a lactate level and we didn’t, ’so not only it organizes what is there, but it hints at what is not there. “
But despite the positive tests done in hospitals, Feinberg continues to think that “we have a long way to go” to make sure it works on regular hospital workflows and can be further developed.