Unlocking the potential of technology to support health

Dr. Karen DeSalvo

Chief Health Officer, Google

Various speakers and guests are shown at the HLTH Conference.

This week kicked off the HLTH Conference in Las Vegas where thousands of healthcare leaders, care providers, patients and other people in the industry — like our teams at Google — are coming together to discuss how to create a healthier world.

At Google, we believe that technology — especially AI and analytics — can unlock a better future for health globally. Our teams from Search, YouTube, Android, Google Cloud and more are using technology to provide health information and insights for consumers, caregivers and communities. Here’s a look at some of our latest updates.

Giving people information and insights to take action on their health

For many, the front door to healthcare is their smartphone. Millions of people turn to Google Search and YouTube for authoritative information or use apps and connected devices, like Fitbit, to help stay on top of health and wellness goals.

To give Android users a new way to get more from their health and wellness data, we introduced Health Connect earlier this year at Google I/O. Through our Early Access Program, more than 10 health, fitness and wellness apps including MyFitnessPal, Oura and Peloton have already integrated with the platform to help people manage everything from workouts to diet to sleep and more. We are now opening up to more developers with Health Connect (Beta) to give people a single place to manage access to data across their health and fitness apps. In the coming months, we will continue to create an even richer ecosystem of apps and features.

Image of app icons

We’ve also made strides on our other platforms, Search and YouTube. In 2021, health videos on YouTube were viewed more than 12 billion times in the U.S. YouTube’s authoritative health content and features are now available in 7 countries, and YouTube recently opened up its features to a wider group of health experts in the U.S. to encompass authoritative services that extend beyond educational institutions and health organizations.

On Search, there’s more ways for people to turn health information into action. After piloting a feature earlier this year that shows available healthcare appointments for primary care, we’re continuing to explore new ways to expand appointments to other specialities and verticals through new and existing partnerships.

This work is made possible by all our partners who provide the health information, insights and experiences that empower consumers in their health.

Equipping healthcare ecosystem with analytics and AI to improve health

Healthcare is one of the largest and most complex industries that is turning towards technology to help organizations run more effectively — which in turn helps people live healthier lives.

When organizations commit to digital transformation, it can be a long and overwhelming process, but that doesn’t mean it has to take years to see benefits for developers, clinicians and patients.

Google Cloud came together with several of our customers and partners — including Hackensack Meridian Health, Lifepoint Health and Mayo Clinic — to find a way to encourage rapid reinvention. As a result, we built Google Cloud’s new Healthcare Data Engine (HDE) accelerators to help organizations reinvent quickly and enable the data interoperability that saves lives. The first three HDE accelerators, available in early 2023, will address common use cases around health equity, patient flow, and value-based care.

The transformation of healthcare requires an open and collaborative approach to be successful. For example, Electronic Health Records (EHR) are a critical part of this ecosystem and we see many ways to work with EHR companies for the benefit of healthcare organizations. Today marks a critical development in this journey. At HLTH we announced an agreement that will allow healthcare organizations to run Epic — an EHR system — on Google Cloud. Hackensack Meridian Health plans to move its Epic workloads to Google Cloud, with the aim to drive greater innovation, efficiencies and security.

And with our solution Care Studio, we’ve been working with MEDITECH to bring our advanced search, summarization and sense-making capabilities to their EHR, MEDITECH Expanse. We are now extending this integrated solution to our first two partners, Mile Bluff Medical Center and DCH Health System, to give their health teams a more complete view of their patients and easily find salient information to provide better care. This includes organizing patient records from different sources into a longitudinal view, bringing our advanced search functionality to clinicians directly in their EHR so they can easily and quickly access critical information all in one place.

Fitbit Health Solutions is bringing our technology to healthcare partners, incorporating Fitbit devices, services and insights into programs focused on managing chronic conditions like diabetes. A study from the All of Us research program found that increasing your daily step count by 1000 steps could cut the risk of type 2 diabetes by more than 25%. This kind of insight is key to promoting lifestyle changes for people, and why we are partnering with Babylon Health to support their high-risk members managing chronic conditions.

Underpinning all our work is a deep commitment to make sure that we do not leave anyone behind. Technology has the power to eliminate health disparities and democratize access to healthcare. But we need to be intentional in our efforts to live up to our goal of improving the health of billions of people by building for everyone, everywhere.