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HLTH '23: Google Cloud and healthcare leaders share how generative AI is transforming the industry

October 9, 2023
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Aashima Gupta

Global Director, Healthcare Strategy & Solutions, Google Cloud

Lisa O'Malley

Sr. Director Product Management & AI, Google Cloud

In healthcare, AI is the most exciting technology we are working on today. From assisting clinicians with documentation, to streamlining operations, to accelerating medical research, to helping doctors detect diseases earlier, this remarkable technology holds the potential to reshape our world and promote healthier, more fulfilling lives.

For the healthcare industry, the most promising near-term applications for gen AI are those that help people find the right information and gain insights from it. Ultimately, this enables healthcare organizations to run more effectively, clinicians to work more efficiently, and improves patient care. And for life science companies, gen AI is driving operational efficiencies in the near term, enhancing the development of products and ultimately supporting precision medicine.

At HLTH ‘23, Google Cloud and healthcare leaders are sharing how the latest advances in AI, built on a cloud and data foundation, can help healthcare and life sciences organizations.

Supercharging search for healthcare and life sciences: Vertex AI Search

Healthcare workers often struggle to find insights in clinical data across structured and unstructured data stores. Unstructured data such as patient notes and scanned documents, is particularly hard to search, and it’s easy to miss critical information. Moreover, you need expert clinical knowledge to know what data is even pertinent. These challenges make it hard to connect the dots and get the information necessary for quality patient care.

What if technology could quickly bring all of the most relevant information and insights to clinicians? This is one of the most immediate ways gen AI will transform healthcare, and Google Cloud customers can sign-up now for early access to Vertex AI Search features for healthcare and life science companies.

With these new features, healthcare organizations will now have Google-quality gen AI search that is medically tuned, allowing users to find accurate clinical information much more efficiently, and to search a broad spectrum of data from clinical sources, such as FHIR data, and clinical notes, and medical data in electronic health records (EHRs). Life-science organizations can use these features to enhance scientific communications and streamline processes. This builds on Vertex AI Search’s current ability to search documents, external websites and other data sources. Vertex AI Search for healthcare and life sciences integrates with Google Cloud’s Healthcare API and Healthcare Data Engine, and includes Google Health’s search and intelligent summarization capabilities from its pilot product Care Studio.

Google Cloud customers and partners can now sign-up for early access to Vertex AI Search features for healthcare and life sciences. Hackensack Meridian Health and Highmark Health will be exploring the new features, and Google Cloud partners Mayo Clinic, and MEDITECH are looking at how this could help transform their solutions. As with all Google Cloud products, customers retain control over their data. In healthcare settings, access and use of patient data is protected through the implementation of Google Cloud’s reliable infrastructure and secure data storage that support HIPAA compliance, along with each customer’s security, privacy controls, and processes. In addition, Vertex AI Search, Healthcare Data Engine, and Healthcare API support HIPAA compliance. The new Vertex AI Search features for healthcare and life science companies will also support HIPAA compliance.

Putting experiences first: Highmark Health

What if your healthcare experience was delightful? Highmark Health is working to raise the standard for customer and clinician engagement in health with its Living Health model. The company sees a future where your healthcare experiences will be more like what you’d expect from a retailer, with a seamless, frictionless customer journey across online, mobile, and in-person experiences.

Through its initial generative AI use cases, Highmark Health is exploring ways to adopt the technology to increase internal productivity and proficiency, make information more easily accessible to users, and improve the experience for clinicians and members. This includes using Vertex AI, large language models (LLMs), and other gen AI tools to personalize member materials and other publicly available information, at scale. The next phase of its gen AI development may include solutions for clinicians that allow them to spend more time with patients.

Building a cloud and data foundation: Hackensack Meridian Health

Hackensack Meridian Health shared the strong progress it is making in IT modernization by moving its data, applications, and other IT resources from on-premises to Google Cloud. The organization has now begun the final phase of its modernization, announcing that it has successfully migrated its first EHR workload to Google Cloud, with plans to migrate its remaining EHR environments over the next three years.

This modernization effort has already given Hackensack Meridian Health increased agility, reliability, and security. By having all of its EHR and other key workloads on Google Cloud, Hackensack Meridian Health will be able to uncover even more insights from its different data sources, accelerating discovery and innovation.

Today’s news builds on Hackensack Meridian Health’s broader partnership with Google Cloud announced in 2021 that spans the use of AI, data analytics, productivity software and more. In August, we shared how Hackensack Meridian Health is using Google Cloud’s generative AI tools to improve caregiver and patient experiences.

Reducing administrative burdens: care.ai

With burnout and nurses and healthcare worker shortages nationwide, one of the top uses for generative AI in the near term is to reduce administrative burdens and improve healthcare facility management. Not every healthcare facility has the expertise or resources to build these solutions for themselves, and today care.ai shared today how its Smart Care Facility Platform makes AI technology more accessible.

By leveraging multiple Google large language models (LLMs), including PaLM 2 on Vertex AI, and data analytics products including BigQuery and Looker, care.ai’s Smart Care Facility Platform will reduce administrative burdens, help mitigate staffing shortages, and free up clinicians to spend more time with patients across the 1,500 acute and post-acute facilities where care.ai’s platform is already deployed.

These facilities will become continuously learning environments that leverage care.ai’s always-aware Ambient Intelligent Sensors, to seamlessly connect clinical and operational teams with real-time ambient data that keeps them better informed and empowered to meet patient needs. The Smart Care Facility Platform will also assist in creating discharge summaries, call summaries, recommend templates, and other content for nurses, admissions, and discharge staff.

The goal is to preemptively identify potential issues, enable real-time awareness, and improve predictive process adherence and resource allocation for more timely responses. Ultimately, care.ai expects this will enhance patient safety and experiences while autonomously optimizing workflows and processes.

Building a medically-tuned LLM: Med-PaLM 2

Industry-tailored LLMs like Med-PaLM 2, Google’s medically-tuned large language model that supports HIPAA compliance, are part of a growing family of gen AI technologies that have the potential to significantly enhance healthcare experiences. Med-PaLM 2 can be used to facilitate rich, informative discussions, answer complex medical questions, or find insights in complicated and unstructured medical texts. It can also help draft short- and long-form responses and summarize documentation and insights from internal data sets and bodies of scientific knowledge.

In September, we made Med-PaLM 2 available in preview to more customers. Bayer Pharmaceuticals, HCA Healthcare, and MEDITECH shared how they’re exploring its use and sharing feedback. care.ai, Hackensack Meridian Health, and Highmark Health shared today that they’re also exploring Med-PaLM 2 for their gen AI solutions.

Google Cloud customers will be able to benefit from using Vertex AI Search for healthcare and life sciences alongside Med-PaLM 2 — one excels at finding information from public and private data sources including the patient record, while the other excels at complex natural language tasks such as summarizing clinical information and synthesizing world knowledge. Together, they will provide healthcare organizations with powerful tools for accessing and understanding complex medical information, empowering them to make informed decisions faster and more efficiently.

Working with healthcare and life science organizations to test and deploy new gen AI solutions is a critical step toward building safe and helpful AI technology. We’re in the early stages of this journey, and we’re already seeing the potential for better healthcare experiences, and accelerated development in life sciences powered by data and gen AI.

For more information, stop by the Google Health booth #5626 at HLTH ‘23 and check out our Keyword blog.

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