The Office for Civil Rights & # 39; s website states that it "enforces federal civil rights laws, conscience and religious freedom, the Health Personnel Act and the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Notification Rules, and the Patient Safety Act and Rule, which together protect your basic rights to non-discrimination, conscience, religious freedom and health information. "
Project Nightingale gives Google access to tens of millions of patients' names, health history, date of birth, laboratory results, diagnoses and hospital admissions from Ascension. The healthcare system reportedly did not tell doctors and patients that it was sharing data with the tech giant, which uses the information to design new AI-powered software. WSJ states that Google envisions an AI that will have the ability to automatically predict the outcome and risk of certain procedures and medications. The software will be able to read scanned images such as MRIs and upload related data to a central network that both Ascension and Google employees can access.
Critics are concerned about patient privacy, especially since a massive collection of health-related data is involved. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) Thinks the project should have more government oversight and even called for new legislation to solve the problem. A Google spokesperson told WSJ that the company is "happy to partner" with the probe and that "the work with Ascension complies with industry-wide regulations (including HIPAA) regarding patient data, and provides strict privacy guidelines , security, and data usage. "This reflects Google's blog post about the partnership, which reassured people that it follows HIPAA.