Google & Rivals Join On Healthcare Data Interoperability

Google's Cloud division is teaming up with Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Salesforce, and Oracle to address data interoperability challenges in the healthcare industry, according to a recent announcement from the company. By working together, each company hopes to ensure better healthcare at a lower cost while bolstering satisfaction among both patients and those who provide healthcare. This is not Google's first foray into the medical industry and, for its part, the company is looking to inject its own expertise in cloud technologies and A.I. in that market. Moreover, there will almost certainly be lessons that it can learn with regard to how improvements can be made in support of the group's goals. The companies met in Washington D.C. this week at the Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference to reveal their intention to take part in the combined effort.

Bearing that in mind, this latest collaboration is still in the early stages, so it is still too soon to delve into specifics regarding how the strengths of each will play into the partnership. The underlying challenges the search giant itself wants to address are not new and its goal to provide solutions to those aren't either. Open standards, specifications, and open-source tools are all going to be part of any plausible solution enabling secure, controlled data exchanges for patients and healthcare professionals, according to Google. That will provide a solid grounding for systems that give doctors and specialists in-depth access to patient records. It will also assist with the creation and implementation of tools that can assist with parsing out all of that data into actionable insight that will almost certainly save money, time, and lives for everybody involved.

In terms of Google's previous investments in the fields of healthcare, a considerable amount of resources have already been devoted to developing cloud-based offerings and tools for healthcare professionals over the past several years. Not least of all, the company has been actively involved in projects to bolster interoperability in the industry, its initial support for HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) Foundation started in 2017. One example of that was the company's unveiling an early access program for its Cloud Healthcare API earlier this year. That essentially provides a framework of infrastructure for storing, accessing, and analyzing healthcare data conforming to FHIR standards. Beyond that, Google has been pursuing HIPAA compliance for each of the individual services and tools that make up the Google Cloud Platform. Among those that have obtained compliance is its machine learning platform. That A.I. does have other commercial uses but has also already been behind various deep learning studies centered around the discovery of uses for the technology in medicine.

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