Tech giants like Google and Amazon are beefing up their healthcare strategies. Here’s how 7 tech titans plan to tackle the $3.5 trillion industry.
Category : entrepreneur
Over the past year, Google has gotten deeper into healthcare, hiring Dr. David Feinberg to head up the Google Health division.
A big Google health project is now drawing scrutiny. Google teamed up with the health system Ascension on “Project Nightingale,” in which the hospital operator is using Google as its cloud provider and also working with the tech giant to build out tools the health system can use.
Business Insider reported on Monday that by 2020, records on 50 million Ascension patients will be on Google’s cloud network. About 150 Google employees are able to access the data, according to documents seen by Business Insider.
The project drew concern from those inside the company, lawmakers, and the US Department of Health and Human Services about how the data is being handled. Google and Ascension said that the relationship followed health-privacy laws.
More broadly, Feinberg’s team is now responsible for coordinating health initiatives across Google, including in the company’s search-engine and map products, its Android smartphone operating system, and its more futuristic offerings in areas like artificial intelligence.
In his speech at a conference in October, Feinberg said one of his first main goals for the team would be to oversee how health-related searches come up and work to improve that with the Google Search team. According to documents reviewed by Business Insider, it appears the team has been building a Patient Search tool to help medical providers sift through patient information.
Read more: We just got our first look at what Google’s grand plans are for healthcare after it brought in a top doctor to lead its health team
Google Health is just one aspect of the healthcare strategy of its parent company, Alphabet. Within Google, Google Cloud is working to sign cloud contracts with healthcare systems. Mayo Clinic in September signed Google as its cloud and AI partner.
There’s also Verily, the life-sciences arm of Alphabet, as well as Calico, its life-extension spin-off. Verily has its hands in projects spanning robotics, blood-sugar-tracking devices, and work on addiction treatment. The company has also made investments in healthcare through its venture funds GV and Capital G, as well as through Alphabet itself.
Google in November also reached a $2.1 billion deal to acquire Fitbit. The brand, best known for its fitness watches, also has a big business selling a health platform that combines coaching and fitness tracking with employers and health plans.
Beyond working with existing products, Feinberg’s oversight includes the health team at Google AI, hardware components, and DeepMind Health. Both Google AI and DeepMind have pursued projects that analyze medical images like eye scans and scans of breast cancer cells, with the hope of aiding medical professionals in diagnosing and treating patients.