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Google reportedly mining millions of Americans personal health data

Google reportedly mining personal health data
Google reportedly mining personal health data raises privacy concerns 04:08

Google has partnered with one of the nation's largest health care systems to collect millions of Americans' personal health data in an effort to design an artificial intelligence-powered health care service, according to a report

More than 100 Google employees are already privvy to tens of millions of Americans' lab results, doctor diagnoses, hospitalization records and more. The data will help inform the tech giant's creation of new software that can recommend changes in how patients are cared for, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Neither doctors nor patients were informed of the initiative, dubbed "Project Nightingale," according to the report.

Ascension, the second-largest health care system in the country, said Monday it is working with Google "to optimize the health and wellness of individuals and communities." Its goal is to "deliver a comprehensive portfolio of digital capabilities that enhance the experience of Ascension consumers, patients and clinical providers across the continuum of care," the company said in a statement. 

Ascension insists the initiative complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and does not violate federal law.

Ascension executive Eduardo Conrado said the future of health care lies in companies' ability to deliver care through "digital platforms, applications and services that are part of the everyday experience of those we serve." 

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 technology will be underpinned by artificial intelligence and machine learning applications. 

Google Cloud president Tariq Shaukat said the company hopes "to transform the delivery of healthcare through the power of the cloud, data analytics, machine learning, and modern productivity tools—ultimately improving outcomes, reducing costs, and saving lives." 

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