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Tag: Ascension

CPO Magazine » Google’s Project Nightingale raises concerns about improper gathering of health data

Nicole Lindsey »

In recent years, Google has been making increasingly aggressive forays into the lucrative U.S. healthcare sector, estimated by some to be worth $3.5 trillion annually. For example, Google recently announced plans for a $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit, which has 25 million active users. And now, after an anonymous whistleblower provided details online, the company is unveiling a once-secret health data partnership (codenamed “Project Nightingale”) with Ascension, the nation’s second-largest health system with over 2,600 hospitals and other medical care facilities scattered over nearly two dozen states. According to the whistleblower, Google is attempting to acquire access to over 50 million patient records in 21 different states, all without the consent of patients, doctors or other healthcare professionals.

The big question, of course, is whether this Project Nightingale health data partnership between Google and Ascension involving tens of millions of patient records actually breaks any laws. According to the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), there are very rigid guidelines in place as to how health data can be shared without the formal consent of patients. Any health data-sharing arrangement must be used specifically to improve the quality or scope of healthcare, and cannot be used for purely commercial purposes. Moreover, data cannot be shared with any third parties, such as potential advertisers or data brokers.

Read the whole article at CPO Magazine »

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[Updated] Google’s secret ‘Project Nightingale’ gathers personal health records on tens of millions of American patients

Updated Nov 12, 2019 »

The Guardian » Google’s secret cache of medical data includes names and full details of millions

Reuters » Regulators begin probe into Google-Ascension cloud computing deal: WSJ

The anonymous whistleblower has posted a video on the social media platform Daily Motion that contains a document dump of hundreds of images of confidential files relating to Project Nightingale. The secret scheme, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, involves the transfer to Google of healthcare data held by Ascension, the second-largest healthcare provider in the US. The data is being transferred with full personal details including name and medical history and can be accessed by Google staff. Unlike other similar efforts it has not been made anonymous though a process of removing personal information known as de-identification.

Originally published Nov 11, 2019 »

Perhaps it might be more accurately called Project Nightmare, the search giant is amassing health records of tens of millions of patients from Ascension facilities in 21 states, without obtaining consent or even informing patients or their doctors.

Rob Copeland, writing in the Wall Street Journal »

Google is teaming with one of the country’s largest health-care systems on a secret project to collect and crunch the detailed personal health information of millions of Americans across 21 states, according to people familiar with the matter and internal documents.


Google launched the effort last year with St. Louis-based Ascension, the country’s second-largest health system.

The data involved in Project Nightingale pertains to lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, including patient names and dates of birth.

Bob Herman, writing for Axios »

Not-for-profit hospital system Ascension has allowed Google to access a wide array of patient data, including names and diagnoses, but did not notify patients or doctors about their secret data project until the Wall Street Journal reported the story today.

The Register » Not this again » Google takes its secret health data stockpiling systems from the UK to the US

CBS News » Google reportedly mining personal health data raises “significant” privacy concerns

More » Google Blog, Reuters, Ars Technica

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