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Google Cloud partners with Mayo Clinic to bring generative AI to health

Google Cloud partners with Mayo Clinic to bring generative AI to health

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai delivers the keynote address at the Google I/O Developers Conference at Shoreline Amphitheater on May 10, 2023 in Mountain View, California.

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Google’s The cloud company is expanding the use of new artificial intelligence technologies in healthcare, giving Mayo Clinic’s medical professionals the power to quickly find patient information using tools powered by the latest chatbots.

On Wednesday, Google Cloud said Mayo Clinic is testing a new service called Enterprise Search on top of the Generative AI app builder it launched Tuesday. The tool effectively allows customers to create their own chatbots, using Google’s technology to sift through mountains of disparate internal data.

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In healthcare, this means that workers can interpret data such as a patient’s medical history, imaging records, genomic data, or labs faster and with a simple query, even when the information is stored in different formats and locations. The Mayo Clinic, one of the top hospital systems in the US with dozens of locations, is one of the early adopters of the technology for Google, which is trying to boost the use of generative AI in the medical system.

Mayo Clinic will be testing various use cases for the search tool over the coming months, and Vish Anantraman, Mayo Clinic’s chief technology officer, said it’s already been “very fulfilling” helping clinicians with administrative tasks that often lead to burnout.

For example, if a doctor wants to see information about a cohort of female patients aged 45 to 55, including their mammograms and medical records, they can enter that query into the search function instead of searching each item individually. If a doctor wants to know which clinical trials a patient might fit into, they can also search for them.

“It will save a lot of time, it will prevent physician burnout and reduce administrative overload,” Anantraman said in an interview with CNBC.

Generative AI has been the hottest topic in the tech industry since late 2022 MicrosoftThe OpenAI-backed company has released the chatbot ChatGPT to the public. Google caught up quickly, launching its Bard AI chat service earlier this year and pushing to integrate the underlying technology into as many products as possible. Healthcare presents a particularly challenging industry as there is less room for wrong answers or hallucinations that occur when AI models fully fabricate information.

Aashima Gupta, global director of health care strategy and solutions at Google Cloud, said Google takes a “safety over speed” approach with its enterprise search tool, which is why the company has limited it to selecting early adopters like the Mayo Clinic, instead of rolling it, squeeze it wider.

“We want to be very careful and responsible about how we use a tool as powerful as generative AI in an enterprise setting, particularly in healthcare,” Gupta said in an interview with CNBC.

Google said its privacy approach ensures customers remain in control of their data, noting that the new service is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Anantraman said Mayo Clinic has created “safe sandboxes” for employees to test applications of the technology and see where it can be most helpful.

“We take patient privacy very, very seriously and put the needs of our patients first,” he said. “It’s one of the reasons why healthcare as an industry in general needs to be very cautious about adopting technology that may not have been fully tested and validated.”

Google Cloud and Mayo Clinic signed a 10-year partnership in 2019. Mayo said at the time it chose Google Cloud as the “cornerstone of its digital transformation.” The partnership, announced Wednesday, is the first step in an expanded agreement between the two companies to collaborate on AI applications in healthcare.

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