- Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, recently outlined his vision for the future of the healthcare system on the "Theory and Practice" podcast, which focuses on the intersection of biology and computer science.
- Schmidt believes that access to larger amounts of data will result in better health care outcomes.
- Several electronic health and medical records will be stored in the cloud, which will improve access to large amounts of data and also support the large amount of data the health system produces, he said.
- Schmidt said this would allow more "deep computer science" to perform predictive analysis to inform doctors about patient decisions.
- With increased data sharing, the health care system will be less consistent and more efficient. "The great thing about the health care system is that improvements in efficiency are also in line with improvements in health," Schmidt said.
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Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a vision for healthcare.
He explained it in a recent episode of the "Theory and Practice" podcast, which focuses on the intersection of biology and informatics. The podcast is produced by Google AI and the venture arm GV, formerly known as Google Ventures.
Schmidt, a billionaire who studied electrical engineering at Princeton University, was Google's CEO for a decade and later served as CEO. He left that role in Google's parent company, Alphabet, in 201
Schmidt has long believed in the important role of big data and data sharing, he said. Data sharing has encountered obstacles in the health care system, where the privacy of personal health data is a major problem.
Schmidt said he believed better data access and sharing would improve health care.
"If you look at the medical system in America, it was never designed in a way that you and I would agree as rational. The incentives are misaligned; the databases are bad," Schmidt told dietician Anthony Philippakis, a venture partner at GV, and Alex Wiltschko, a senior research scientist with Google AI.
"I think because of the gains in machine learning and data analytics, we have an opportunity to reassess some of the underlying assumptions," he added.
Makes it easier to access data to improve health care
Due to the incoherent nature of the US health care system, Schmidt said that all medical data should be in one place that is easy for the physician and patient to access.
"When I go to the doctor, I will give them the login and password for me, and when they log in, I want them to see all my medical data everywhere," Schmidt said.
As Schmidt said in the podcast episode, often, when a patient has to perform multiple tests performed by different specialists, medical information is not shared between their systems. This is just one example of the offline communication that Schmidt says could be easily solved.
Another important point to fix is to make large amounts of health data available for research purposes. Schmidt said the privacy issue could be solved by letting patients opt out of data collection. "Otherwise, this data will be adapted for research purposes to make the system stronger," he said.
The cloud is the limit for medical data
Schmidt said that a key step would be to put all medical data on the cloud, where they can be more easily accessed and analyzed.
"Right now, the majority of medical data is not even in the electronic health record system, it is in other systems sitting around the hospital," Schmidt said. "But work is underway and all EHRs will be cloud-based soon."
For Schmidt, cloud computing is beneficial in the health care system because it is often less expensive and can support the huge volumes of data the industry continuously produces.
"With cloud computing, you know the system will not crash," he said.
But Schmidt will not just store electronic health records on the cloud. He also wants to collect other clinical data from hospital systems and eventually all clinical data in the health care system.
"We want a much fuller picture of what happens in a medical care setting, and it will allow us to do better data analysis, better prediction and better health care," Schmidt said.
Schmidt said he believed that the health care system would be able to move to the cloud quickly if it could prove beneficial to the patient and the physician by saving time and people's lives.
Access to more data means "deep computer science" may begin to solve problems
With access to more patient data, Schmidt believes computers can help the health system by providing more accurate medical diagnoses to a larger group of people.
Big data can provide better predictive analysis, he said. He said deep data science could be used to help doctors make better decisions.
"I want a computer to say," Here's your story; Here's what we think is going on, "and giving in-depth data science, doing deep predictive analytics, and AI in general to predict what the doctor should do next," Schmidt said. "I think this will lead to a revolution in health care in terms of productivity and, most importantly, my health and your health and everyone's."