Google Cloud on Monday unveiled new artificial intelligence-driven search features that, according to the company, will make it easier for medical professionals to swiftly and accurately extract clinical data from various kinds of medical records.
Many different systems and formats are frequently used to hold the wealth of information and data that is present in the healthcare sector, making it difficult for physicians to find.
The new search tool from Google Cloud will enable medical professionals to gather data from clinical notes, scanned documents, and electronic health records so that they can be viewed in a single location.
The business said that in the long run, the additional features will result in significant time and energy savings for healthcare staff.
“While it should save time to be able to do that search, it should also prevent frustration on behalf of clinicians and [make] sure that they get to an answer easier,” Lisa O’Malley, senior director of product management for Cloud AI at Google Cloud told CNBC in an interview.
Doctors no longer have to look through notes, faxes, and electronic health data separately to learn about a patient's history, for example.
Instead, they can use search to find the pertinent data in one place by asking queries like "What medications has this patient taken in the last 12 months?"
According to O'Malley, Google's new search skills can also be utilised for other essential tasks including applying the proper billing codes and identifying whether patients satisfy the requirements to participate in clinical research.
The technology, she continued, can cite and link to the information's original source, which will be an organization's own internal data.
This ought to ease clinicians' worries that the AI might be delusional or producing false results.
Google Cloud has been testing the features with healthcare institutions including Mayo Clinic, Hackensack Meridian Health, and Highmark Health.
According to Cris Ross, chief information officer at Mayo Clinic, the new Vertex AI Search tools are not yet being used in clinical care; instead, administrative use cases are being explored.
“We are curious, we’re enthusiastic, we’re also careful,” he told CNBC in an interview.
“And we’re not going to put anything into patient care until it’s really ready to be in patient care.”
Down the line, Ross said, Mayo Clinic is looking to explore how Vertex AI Search tools could be used to help nurses summarize long surgical notes, sort through patients’ complex medical histories, and easily answer questions such as “What is the smoking status of this patient?”
But for now, the organisation is starting slow and examining where AI solutions like Google’s will be the most useful.
The early response to the search tools at the company has been "tremendous," according to Richard Clarke, chief analytics officer at Highmark Health, and the business already has a backlog of more than 200 use-case ideas.
He added that the challenge will be deciding where the technology can be most helpful, earning the workforce's trust, and implementing it widely, much like Mayo Clinic.