Unbelievable. I was always of the belief that patients/consumers would soon port their medical records to the cloud. It is outrageous that Google and Ascension acted on patient medical records without patient permission. Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Ascension CEO Joseph Impicciche ought to step down. Commandeering medical records makes a mockery of privacy law. Pichai, Impicciche and their respective companies should be punished.
Google is analyzing the health records of Ascension patients in 21 states without patient consent the Wall Street Journal reported. The medical records that Google is analyzing include patient names and date of birth along with lab results, doctor diagnoses, hospitalization records and more (medical records are supposed to be anonymized before analyzing – AFTER acquiring patient consent). Ascension is the second-largest health system in the U.S. and counts millions of patients among its ranks. Ascension operates more than 2,600 sites of care including 150-plus hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities. Here are a few statistics related to Ascension patient activity.
One can imagine Google and Ascension’s strategy as it relates to using patient medical records without having acquired patient consent: “Let’s move forward and if caught we can spin it as ‘we’re only working to accelerate learnings for the benefit of patients’ – an easy sell.” No wonder Google/Alphabet removed the “Don’t be evil” clause from its code of conduct. Heck, Alphabet’s new slogan – “Do the right thing” – was also ignored. You may access the story as it appeared in the Wall Street Journal HERE. This is the most brazen behavior from a Technology company in recent memory and far exceeds any wrongdoing from the Cambridge Analytica / Facebook fiasco.