Google might have secretly collected records of millions of patients in hospitals across 21 states of the United States as reported by The Wall Street Journal, and neither doctors nor patients were made aware of what the company is trying to do with the data.
Google (Project Nightingale) has partnered with Ascension, a Catholic health care system based in St. Louis that operates across 21 states and the District of Columbia. Ascension calls itself ” a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care.” and Google is using its data to design a software that will tune individual patient care using “advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning.”
Forbes also reports that as part of Project Nightingale, Ascension uploaded patient data to Google’s Cloud servers.
As per the reports, the data amassed by the company include “lab results, doctor diagnoses, and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to complete health history, complete with patient names and dates of birth,” and it also reports that about 150 Google employees may have access to this sensitive data and there is even concern that some of the employees have downloaded this data.
Both Ascension and Google released a press statement and a blog post respectively after The Wall Street Journal’s article was published.
Ascension’s press release said that the goal of the partnership was to “optimize the health and wellness of individuals and communities, and deliver a comprehensive portfolio of digital capabilities.” but it did not address to the allegations that WSJ’s reported that the patient data was being collected and used by Google without the knowledge of patients.
Google’s blog post wrote by Google Cloud president Tariq Shaukat said that “To be clear: under this arrangement, Ascension’s data cannot be used for any other purpose than for providing these services we’re offering under the agreement, and patient data cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data,”
Regarding allegations of collecting data, both companies have not mentioned anything yet.