Google and Mayo talk data privacy at annual conference

September 26, 2019 05:41 PM

(ABC 6 News) - This month, the Mayo Clinic announced a partnership with Google Cloud. 

At Mayo’s annual Transform conference Thursday, leadership from both teams talked about what the new relationship means for patients.


“Our vision is to put these great physician scientists with Mayo shoulder-to-shoulder with A.I. and machine learning engineers from Google,” said Christopher Ross, Mayo Clinic’s Chief Information Officer.

Patient care is at the core of the new partnership between the two powerhouses.

“We see Mayo as a leader in the world for solving rare and complex diseases. These are hard problems. Googlers love to solve hard problems,” said Aashima Gupta, Google’s Director of Global Healthcare Solutions.

In a climate where data privacy and data leaks are frequent headlines, the security of patient information is a legitimate concern, and something the partnership is getting ahead of.

“It’s a lockbox, and we’re the bank vault, and they have the key. All the data is encrypted, and it can only be decrypted by Mayo’s technologists and technicians, and that’s the environment we are enabling for Mayo,” Gupta said.

Ross said information stored in Google Cloud will actually be safer than in the current data centers, but patients won’t be able to opt out of their information being sent there.

“Operationally it would simply be impossible for us to manage that retroactively, so we have a highly disciplined process by which we do consent management, and we’ll continue that,” Ross said.

Google and Mayo Clinic said data in the cloud will improve patient care by sifting through information in an instant to come up with personalized solutions.

“I show up to get my colonoscopy. There’s a question of what sedation level should I have? Okay, well we want to put a whole bunch of patient data in the cloud that we can run in real time, so an algorithm could say here’s the level of sedation I should get for my colonoscopy,” Ross said.

Through the power of technology, and expertise in two fields, the partnership’s goal is to create one healthcare experience. 


Alice Keefe

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