Hackensack Meridian Health deploys Google Chrome OS devices, uses Cloud AI for screenings

Hackensack Meridian Health and Google are expanding their partnership, with the health system migrating to Google Workspace and using Google Cloud artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies for disease detection.

The Edison, New Jersey-based health system and tech giant entered into a partnership in 2019, giving the provider access to Google Cloud storage and data analytics solutions.

Now, the health system will use Chrome operating system (OS) devices across clinical and business operations, becoming one of the first health systems in the nation to do so.

Hackensack Meridian Health deployed 3,000 Chromebook laptops with Citrix, which enables server, application and desktop virtualization and networking, providing secure access to core applications as employees began to work remotely. The system also deployed Chromeboxes — small desktop computers that run Google’s Chrome OS — and Chrome browsers.

The migration to Google Workspace and Chrome OS devices “simplifies tasks and facilitates seamless interactions between frontline workers, such as clinicians and care teams, office workers, administrators and patients wherever they are,” said Kash Patel, executive vice president and chief information and digital engagement officer at Hackensack Meridian Health, in an email.

The provider will also use Google Cloud AI to support screening for diseases like Covid-19, breast cancer, prostate cancer, sepsis and congenital disorders among newborns.

“These initiatives will aid physicians and care teams and allow them to provide better care, at scale,” Patel said.

But privacy is still an issue when it comes to involving tech companies in patient care. Just a few weeks ago, Google and its subsidiary DeepMind were sued over a partnership with Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust that involved 1.6 million patients’ records being shared with the tech company.

Hackensack Meridian Health is depending on Google Cloud’s secure foundation as well as its own NIST 800-53 Moderate security foundation baseline to ensure data confidentiality, integrity and security.

“Hackensack Meridian Health controls access and use of its patient data. Google Cloud only processes it according to the customer — Hackensack’s — instructions,” Patel said.

The news of the expanded partnership with Hackensack comes just about two months after Google shuttered its health division. But the tech giant said that it would continue its efforts through other divisions, including its cloud business, YouTube and Fitbit.

Photo: metamorworks, Getty Images

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