Google Cloud unveils Healthcare Data Engine for a holistic view of health data

The new tool will help healthcare and life sciences organizations harmonize data from multiple sources for a faster, more comprehensive understanding of patient information.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Google Cloud on Thursday unveiled Healthcare Data Engine, a new tool, currently in private preview, that helps healthcare and life sciences organizations harmonize data from different sources. It gives organizations a holistic view of patient information in near real-time, and it enables advanced analytics and AI in a secure and compliant cloud environment. 

Healthcare Datat Engine builds on the core capabilities Google started offering last year with its Cloud Healthcare API. It can map more than 90 percent of Health Level 7 (HL7) v.2  messages to Fast Healthcare interoperability Resource (FHIR) standards across leading electronic health records (EHRs) out of the box. This makes it easier to implement with less custom tooling or services. Once customers bring data in from disparate sources and harmonize it to the FHIR format, they can analyze it using Google BigQuery.

Organizations could use the Healthcare Data Engine to gain insight from data sources like medical records, claims, clinical trials or research data. Access to that insight could help organizations with needs such as resource utilization, optimizing clinical trails, accelerating research, identifying high-risk patients or reducing physician burn out.

"What we see out in the market, historically organizations have relied on enterprise data warehouses... to do this kind of retrospective analytics, but today's use cases need less data latency, they need to make faster sense of this proliferating data," Marianne Slight, product manager for Google Cloud Healthcare Analytics, said to reporters this week. 

Health data is proliferating from a growing number of data sources, including sources that amass different types of data, she explained. That includes data that patients are collecting themselves via wearables. 

To demonstrate the value of data harmonization, Google Cloud commissioned a survey, conducted by The Harris Poll, showing that 87 percent of physicians think data interoperability should be a priority at their healthcare organization. Additionally, 95 percent of physicians said that access to more complete patient records helps them make diagnoses more quickly and accurately. 

"We continue to see the immense opportunity of this interoperable future, where caregivers have access to the critical data, including not only the clinical data but also social determinants, so we have an even better understanding of those patients," Joe Miles, Google Cloud's managing director of healthcare & life sciences, said to reporters. Beyond that, he said, it could help patients become "empowered with access to their own personal health data," or policymakers "as we start to think about different populations... what we need to do to help manage and regulate services." 

To help customers implement Healthcare Data Engine, Google is partnering with Deloitte, Maven Wave, Quantiphi and SADA. Additionally, ISV partners such as Mathematica are deploying novel applications integrated with Healthcare Data Engine

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