Google now has access to millions of medical records thanks to a new partnership with the Ascension hospital network, and even though the companies intentions are unknown, there are already privacy concerns. The program, named Nightingale, is currently under investigation by federal regulators from the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure it doesn’t violate HIPPA. Both parties involved insist they want to have better care and resources for their patients.
On the podcast, Reset, Christina Farr, a tech and health reporter for CNBC, spoke on how this isn’t new for Google’s habits. She observes that how Google likes to gather as much data as they can and then try and figure out how they can use their engineering powerhouse of a company to suggest products and tools built off the data.
While we may be sharing our health status to Google through our searches, it feels very different to them having information like, whether you have HIV or are at risk for diabetes. There is speculation on what what Google is trying to do, but nothing is certain. One theory is that they want to create a database that could help detect diseases earlier, by using the their large-scale database.
This is not the first time Google has showed interested in the Health care industry. They has Google Health from 2008-2012, which actually allowed users to upload their health records. They also launched Google Cloud Healthcare API in 2018, which is a platform that is supposed to allowed healthcare providers to easily, securely, and instantaneously collaborate while taking care of you.
I personally think it is troubling that Google could have my medical history, while it supposedly anonymous and general information, signs have pointed to names being attached to records. They already have so much information on us, but to gather and have access to data as personal and important as health records could have serious concerns. I think there could even be conflicts of interest in whatever Google decides to do with the data.