Esteban Lopez
Market Lead Healthcare & Life Sciences
Google Cloud Americas
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Next-Level Care Solutions Powered by Tech

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 01/24/2022 - 10:54

Q: What is Google Cloud’s long-term vision of digital healthcare and how are its solutions part of this future?

A: Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many industries have seen their digital transformation processes accelerate. The health sector was no exception. Many changes previously seen as futuristic are now a reality. A survey of 300 doctors conducted by Google with the support of The Harris Poll found that 45 percent believed that the pandemic accelerated the pace of technology adoption at their workplace. Three out of five doctors mentioned that the pandemic forced their organization to make technology upgrades that would normally have taken years.

Google Workspace tools fit together to meet the new needs of the sector. They help care coordination teams to collaborate and stay connected and doctors to follow up on patients through video calls. AI Documents make operations much more efficient by automating data capture and providing a comprehensive understanding of fax documents, PDFs and paper files, converting paper content into digital data.

The interoperability of data and information is becoming increasingly popular. Solutions, such as Google Cloud’s API Healthcare, allow the upload of patient data in FHIR, HL7 v2 and DICOM standards and digitize workflows that were previously on paper. Data and analytics tools like BigQuery are being used to provide a complete picture of patient data and key operational metrics for providers, turning data into actionable insights.

Technologies such as AI play a key role in the transformation of the sector. In this sense, solutions, such as Contact Center AI, through chatbots, make it possible to provide patients with the information they need, thus relieving pressure on healthcare contact centers.

Q: How are Google Cloud solutions going beyond urban use to reach rural or remote areas of the Americas?

A: Telehealth services are the digital gateways to health and are critical to increasing patient access to care. The growth in the use of smartphones in the region allows a greater number of people to receive care, treatment and disease management remotely. Solutions like Google Meet and Google Chat, which are part of Workspace and are capable of running on almost any smartphone, help drive telehealth in rural or remote settings.

Lack of physical proximity to specialized services, which are usually located in urban areas, can limit access to care. Having virtual healthcare just a click away via chat or video call can help remove those barriers and allows access to specialized medical care.

Virtual solutions provide access to the best specialists regardless of the patient's location. At Google Cloud, we are excited that the future of healthcare continues to combine and embrace cloud technologies, such as telehealth platforms integrated with electronic health records (EHR), AI and trained virtual agents, to create a hybrid care model that will improve outcomes, while expanding access to health services to remote populations.

Q: What challenges has Google Cloud found when interconnecting data in the Americas’ health systems and companies?

A: Among the challenges that we see globally is that for data interoperability, it is essential to guarantee that patient information is digitized in standard and secure formats. By enabling the storage and computation of massive data sets, healthcare organizations can easily store, integrate and analyze vast amounts of data, with the cloud being an essential facilitator of collaboration on a local, regional and global scale. It is also essential that the platforms, solutions and technologies facilitate the interoperability of information between all parties involved, such as patients, doctors, organizations and companies.

This is key because 86 percent of clinicians say that greater data interoperability will significantly reduce the time required for diagnosis and help improve patient outcomes by 95 percent, according to the Harris Poll.

Q: How does Google Cloud adapt its services to diverse providers in the health and life sciences sector?

A: We have a global ecosystem of technology and service partners with the ability to accelerate the transformation of health organizations. Some system integrators are using Google Cloud solutions to power innovation in ways that we at Google might never have considered, especially in healthcare.

Following customer feedback, healthcare and life sciences organizations are turning to Google Cloud and its partners to improve collaboration and unlock the power of technology. In the health and life sciences industry, our Google Cloud partners and customers provide constant energy and inspiration, driving some key innovations in healthcare globally. Google Cloud is also an important player in taking this sector to new levels. As a company, we make focused investments in EHRs, medical imaging, genomic data and new modes of care delivery, such as remote care powered by telehealth, AI and machine learning.

Q: How do Google Cloud services help advance Value-Based Healthcare (VBHC) models in the Americas?

A: Our solutions do not replicate the VBHC model. The goal of Google Cloud for Healthcare is a reflection of Google's overall mission, which is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Applying this mission to healthcare means employing open standards to help enable data sharing and interactive collaboration while providing a secure platform. Ultimately, we hope that better data flow will inspire new discoveries with AI and machine learning, leading to insights that improve patient outcomes.

At Google Cloud, we collaborate with customers to offer customized solutions that address their most complex challenges, such as operating with interoperability for the benefit of patients. Enabling the next level of interoperability is possible through the Healthcare Data Engine, an end-to-end solution that takes a heavy load off healthcare IT teams. The sheer volume of this data presents the greatest opportunity in the medical and life sciences industry by providing deeper insights and distributing them to the right people so they make better decisions in real time, adhering to the highest levels of security, compliance and respect for user privacy. We support healthcare organizations as their need for interoperability at scale grows.

Q: How do you protect your client’s data from cyberattacks when every company or provider is vulnerable?

A: Protecting personal and health-related information is a priority as it is part of ensuring the well-being of patients. There are multiple layers of controls to help ensure privacy and protect data. Furthermore, customers are able to manage access to and use patient data through rigorous controls, privacy governance and organizational security. By extending controls to the cloud environment, customers can take advantage of Google Cloud's secure and reliable infrastructure to enhance data protection.

Data protection and compliance are among the top reasons life science and healthcare organizations migrate to the cloud. Advances in security and privacy allow the industry to innovate in health.

Q: As a provider for the regional health and life sciences industries, what are the emerging trends?

A: Among the important trends that emerged in the healthcare sector during the past 24 months, telehealth stands out. Telehealth grew three times faster in 2021 than in 2020, according to a survey by The Harris Poll. To provide comprehensive access to healthcare to more people, organizations and providers can take advantage of technology to combine face-to-face and virtual models of care, leading to a hybrid model for providing health services.

Technologies such as AI or machine learning will have an important role in the simulation of healthcare processes. Although simulation exercises are already used in other industries, such as manufacturing where they are used to predict failures in production lines, in the health sector these processes will be increasingly frequent.

In-silico processes for drug discovery will also become more important. Greater data availability, more powerful hardware and better algorithms will allow for larger simulations in all dimensions, potentially improving preclinical drug discovery by making experimentation cheaper. Simulation can also be used to model the flow of airborne pathogens, such as in a hospital to minimize the impact of acquired infections or even to anticipate future pandemics.

Q: What makes Google Cloud services the top-choice solution for direct-patient, company and institutional use?

A: Google Cloud offers a range of easy-to-use and easy-to-deploy solutions for the continuous, secure and digital delivery of healthcare. Chromebooks and Workspace solutions enable better collaboration and communication between teams and frontline workers, as well as with patients. Other tools, such as virtual assistants and chatbots, provide patients the information they need and reduce the workload of medical teams and doctors.

Google offers a health data platform that digitizes patient information in standard and secure formats while facilitating interoperability between clinical systems for physicians. This includes solutions such as Google Cloud Healthcare Data Engine, a comprehensive tool that quickly provides valuable information and analytics about the healthcare sector to make better decisions based on data.

Google Cloud uses the most advanced technological developments in the industry, such as AI and machine learning, to drive operational efficiency and better diagnostics.

 

Google Cloud is a suite of cloud computing services that runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses internally for its end-user products. Google Cloud’s health-specific products and solutions enable life science organizations to bring treatments to patients faster and to operate more efficiently.

Photo by:   Google Cloud
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst