Technology giant says access to private medical records through deal with Ascension is ‘standard practice’
Google has secretly amassed the health records of millions of patients in the US through a partnership with the country’s second largest healthcare provider.
The initiative, dubbed “Project Nightingale,” gives the technology giant access to private medical details, names and addresses without having to notify the patients or the doctors.
Google added that the arrangement did not allow the data to be combined with existing consumer data collected by the firm.
“Modernising the healthcare industry is a critically important task, with the ultimate result not just digital transformation, but also improving patient outcomes,” the post stated.
Details of the deal were first reported by The Wall Street Journal and subsequently corroborated by The New York Times, who claimed that “dozens of Google employees” had access to the private records. The publication also cited concerns that some workers may have downloaded the data from Google’s Cloud servers.
A press release from Ascension said the deal would “improve the experience of patients and consumers” by streamlining its services.
“As the healthcare environment continues to rapidly evolve, we must transform to better meet the needs and expectations of those we serve as well as our own caregivers and healthcare providers,” said Eduardo Conrado, executive vice-president of strategy and innovations at Ascension.
“Doing that will require the programmatic integration of new care models delivered through the digital platforms, applications and services that are part of the everyday experience of those we serve.”