Google’s cloud division is increasing its use of new artificial intelligence technology in health care, allowing Mayo Clinic medical personnel to swiftly find patient information using the same capabilities that power the latest chatbots.

Google Cloud said on Wednesday that the Mayo Clinic is testing a new service called Enterprise Search on Generative AI App Builder, which was introduced on Tuesday. The product effectively allows clients to develop their own chatbots by scouring massive amounts of diverse internal data using Google’s technologies.

In health care, this means that staff can comprehend data like as a patient’s medical history, imaging records, genomes, or labs more quickly and easily, even if it is kept in multiple formats and places. The Mayo Clinic, one of the largest hospital systems in the United States with dozens of locations, is an early adopter of the technology for Google, which is attempting to increase the use of generative AI in the medical system.

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Mayo Clinic will explore several use cases for the search engine in the coming months, and Vish Anantraman, Mayo Clinic’s chief technology officer, said it has already proven “very fulfilling” for assisting clinicians with administrative tasks that often contribute to fatigue.

For example, if a physician needs information about a group of female patients aged 45 to 55, including their mammograms and medical files, they can enter that query into the search tool rather than looking for each element individually. Similarly, if a physician needs to know which clinical trials a patient may be eligible for, they can do so as well.

“It’s going to save a lot of time, prevent physician burnout, and reduce administrative overload,” Anantraman told CNBC in an interview.

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Since late 2022, when Microsoft-backed OpenAI released the chatbot ChatGPT to the public, generative AI has been the trendiest issue in technology. Google rushed to catch up, launching its Bard AI chat service early this year and attempting to integrate the underlying technology into as many products as possible. Health care is a particularly difficult field to work in since there is less room for inaccurate replies or hallucinations, which arise when AI models completely manufacture information.

According to Aashima Gupta, global director of health care strategy and solutions at Google Cloud, Google is prioritizing “safety over speed” with its Enterprise Search tool, which is why the company has limited it to early adopters such as Mayo Clinic rather than pushing it out more freely.

“We want to be very thoughtful and responsible in how we leverage such a powerful tool like generative AI in an enterprise setting, especially in health care,” Gupta said in an interview with CNBC.

Google stated that its approach to privacy guarantees users retain control over their data and that the new service is HIPAA compliant.

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Mayo Clinic, according to Anantraman, has developed “safe sandboxes” for personnel to explore applications of the technology and discover where it can be most useful.

“We take the privacy of patient data very, very seriously, and our patients’ needs come first,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons health care, as an industry, needs to be very cautious about adopting technology that hasn’t been fully tested or vetted.”

In 2019, Google Cloud and the Mayo Clinic announced a 10-year agreement. Mayo announced at the time that it has chosen Google Cloud as the “cornerstone of its digital transformation.” The announcement on Wednesday is the first step towards a larger deal between the two businesses to collaborate on AI applications in health care.


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