According to the Epoch Times, Google collaborated with the non-profit health company, Ascension, last year and the data sharing has “accelerated” since this past summer.
Both companies reportedly gathered private information including lab results, patient names and dates of birth, diagnoses, and hospital records. The Wall Street Journal reports that neither patients nor doctors were notified of this partnership and at least 150 Google employees have access to the health data of tens of millions of Americans.
Google claims it is seeking to create new software to “transform the delivery of healthcare through the power of the cloud, data analytics, machine learning, and modern productivity tools—ultimately improving outcomes, reducing costs, and saving lives.”
However, as CBS points out, the move raises “significant” privacy concerns.
Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum told CBS, “Leaks of private medical information are enormously common. The Department of Health and Human Services actually tracks all of the medical data breaches and actually some of the largest data breaches in history have been medical data breaches. So it is a significant concern.”
Earlier this month, Google purchased the wearable technology company Fitbit, which Business Insider Intelligence attributes “to a renewed focus on Fitbit’s health services segment, namely the expansion of its employee health coaching and benefits services through Fitbit Health Solutions…”
Google’s access to the health information through Fitbit gives the company an “inroad to the massive employer-sponsored insurance market: More than 160 million US consumers receive their health insurance coverage through their employer,” writes Business Insider.