Google Debuts Cloud Healthcare API Beta to Ease Data Sharing

Google's Cloud Healthcare API is now available in beta. The API is meant to act as a bridge between on-site healthcare systems and applications hosted on Google Cloud. The goal of the API is to give hospitals and other healthcare facilities more analytical power and, in the long term, help them bring new healthcare solutions to the market. 

Google says the Cloud Healthcare API supports standards-based data formats and protocols of existing healthcare tech. For example, it will allow healthcare organizations to stream data processing with Cloud Dataflow, analyze data at scale with BigQuery, and tap into machine learning with the Cloud Machine Learning Engine. Moreover, the API simplifies app development and device integration to speed up time to market. 

Some of the tools it supports include FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), an emerging standard for healthcare data interoperability; HL7v2, a communication mode for any app looking to connect to existing clinical systems; DICOM, a REST API for storing and exchanging medical images and their metadata across radiology, cardiology, ophthalmology, and dermatology; and de-identification, or the process of anonomyzing data so it cannot be linked to any one person. 

Google insists that the data is secure. Individual healthcare organizations are able to select where each dataset is stored via the Could Healthcare API. The API's services are tied into Cloud Audit Logging, so health orgs can audit eveything that happens to the data as it moves through the system. Finally, it was developed with Google's multi-layered security, including data-loss prevention tools, policy controls, identity management, and encryption.

The Cloud Healthcare API is HIPAA compliant, provides managed scalability, is ecosystem-ready, and developer friendly.

"From the beginning, our primary goal with Cloud Healthcare API has been to advance data interoperability by breaking down the data silos that exist within care systems," said Ila Tulchinsky, head of engineering, and Joe Corkery, MD, head of product, both at healthcare, and life sciences at Google Cloud. "The API enables healthcare organizations to ingest and manage key data—and better understand that data through the application of analytics and machine learning in real time, at scale." 

Though it is in beta, pricing for the Cloud Healthcare API doesn't appear to be free. Details on pricing are available here

Google plans to highlight what its partners are doing with the API this week at Google Cloud Next. Some of those include the American Cancer Society, CareCloud, Kaiser Permanente, and iDigital. 

Documentation is available here

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