Google’s cloud computing business has managed to sign its biggest cloud computing contract with Ascension to date. Both companies operate 150 hospitals and more than 50 senior citizen homes across the United States.
In addition to cloud computing, Ascension is also going to move a bulk of analytics systems and data to servers owned by Google. However, that is not all. Google also going to be given access to the healthcare data owned by Ascension, and that will allow it to refine its valuable artificial intelligence solutions further.
That being said, it should be noted that the deal had been announced back in July during the company’s earnings call. However, it is back in the news after a leading financial paper reported that the company is going to get access to health information of millions of people spread across as many as 21 states in the United States. The data in question is highly personal and includes things like lab results, doctor diagnoses, entire health history, and date of birth, among others.
At a time when there is increasing scrutiny of how both companies are using user data, this particular deal could turn into a problem for Google. However, Google tried to assuage the public by laying out its position on the whole thing in a blog post on Monday. The company stated that the data in question “cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data.” Tariq Shaukat, president for industry products and solutions at Google Cloud, also stated that Ascension is the ultimate owner of the data, and Google is merely going to provide certain services on behalf of the healthcare company. Ascension released a statement as well and stated that the deal is in line with the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). HIPPA is a law that protects medical information of individuals.