Among industries, the greatest potential of using artificial intelligence to improve outcomes is the health care industry, said Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc and its Google subsidiary. He also vowed that all concerns about privacy would be taken care of by the United States based tech giant.
Concerns and questions about Google getting access to private health records of tens of millions of Americans have been raised by lawmakers in the US.
One of the largest customers of Google in the health care industry is Ascension which is responsible for operating 150 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities all through the United States.
“When we work with hospitals, the data belongs to the hospitals,” Pichai told a conference panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“But look at the potential here. Cancer if often missed and the difference in outcome is profound. In lung cancer, for example, five experts agree this way and five agree the other way. We know we can use artificial intelligence to make it better,” Pichai added.
A number of years of research work has been done by Google in the development of artificial intelligence that is able to conduct analysis of MRI scans and other patient data automatically which help[s in speedy identification of diseases. The artificial intelligence based process is also able to make predictions which can help in improving outcomes of treatments and in bringing down treatment costs.
However the company is facing some issues about this business from lawmakers in the US. In November, Google was asked to provide information to the lawmakers about other health systems that provide information to Google and whether the clients of Ascension are given the option of opting out of the project. Lawmakers also want to know if Google makes use of the data for advertising.
Strong privacy protecting regulations are already in place and which are able to provide a framework for the operations of Google in this business, Pichai also said.
In November last year, Google secured an acquisition deal worth for $2.1 billion for Fitbit Inc. the completion of the deal will allow Google to set foot in the wearables segment and invest in digital health. However it is expected that regulators will closely scrutinize the deal before allowing it to go through.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)