Google has been secretly collecting health data of millions of people across 21 states without their knowledge. The tech company has taken this initiative to support its secret health care venture ‘Project, Nightingale’. The firm has not sought approval from the patients to acquire their health information. Google has collaborated with Ascension to obtain the health data of millions of Americans. Ascension is the second largest healthcare organization in the US. Google officials have said that the health care provider has been providing specialized health information within the legal boundaries. However, the patients were unaware of the fact that their health information is being shared. The data shared with Google includes lab tests, doctor diagnoses, name of the patient, Date of birth of the patient, complete health history and hospitalization records of the patients. It seems to be matter of concern as several Google employees will have access to sensitive data of patients.
Tech officials have claimed that many health care providers share sensitive health information of their patients with tech companies under a certain agreement. Such an agreement allows the company to develop a tool for the health care system using the data. The officials of the company said that it has signed the same kind of agreement, which does not require patients to be notified. Ascension has already uploaded the patient data on the Google cloud server. The tech giant has been accused of illegal access to bulk health records through the University of Chicago Medical Centre in the past. Ascension officials have claimed that their association with Google is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
The initiative, titled ‘Project Nightingale’ is supposed to be the biggest effort by Google to gain a stronghold in the Healthcare industry. Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are aggressively trying to move into health space as well. Google is expected to have a huge competition in the sector. The company has also announced its plan to absorb AI lab DeepMind’s health division. It is expected to create an AI assistant for nurses and doctors.