Google Unveils New Generative AI Search Capabilities For Physicians

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Google Unveils New Generative AI Search Capabilities For Physicians
Google Unveils New Generative AI Search Capabilities For Physicians

Google Cloud introduced new AI-powered search capabilities on Monday that would allow clinicians to swiftly access patient information.

Google Cloud revealed new artificial intelligence-powered search capabilities on Monday, claiming that they will help healthcare personnel swiftly extract correct clinical information from various types of medical records.

The health-care business has vast amounts of essential information and data, but finding it can be difficult because it is frequently kept across numerous systems and formats. Doctors will be able to retrieve information from clinical notes, scanned documents, and electronic health records using Google Cloud’s new search tool.

According to the company, the new skills will possibly save healthcare professionals significant time and energy.

“While being able to do a search so as to save time, it should also prevent frustration on the part of clinicians and ensure that they get to an answer more quickly,” Lisa O’Malley, senior director of product management for cloud AI at Google Cloud, stated in an interview.

For example, if a doctor needs to learn about a patient’s history, he or she no longer needs to sift through notes, faxes, and electronic health data independently. Instead, they may search for answers to queries like “What medications has this patient taken in the last 12 months?” and view all of the pertinent information in one location.

According to O’Malley, Google’s new search skills can be utilised for other critical applications, such as applying the correct billing codes and identifying whether patients satisfy the criteria to enrol in a clinical trial.

She went on to say that the technology may cite and link to the actual source of the information, which will be drawn straight from an organisation’s internal data. This should reduce clinicians’ concerns that the AI is hallucinating or producing incorrect responses.

According to O’Malley, Google’s new search skills can be utilised for other critical applications, such as applying the correct billing codes and identifying whether patients satisfy the criteria to enrol in a clinical trial.

She went on to say that the technology may cite and link to the actual source of the information, which will be drawn straight from an organisation’s internal data. This should reduce clinicians’ concerns that the AI is hallucinating or producing incorrect responses.

The search features will be especially useful to health-care employees who are already dealing with personnel shortages and mountains of paperwork.

According to 2016 research financed by the American Medical Association, for every hour a physician spent with a patient, they spent more than two hours on administrative work. According to the report, physicians also spend an extra one to two hours outside of working hours on clerical work, which many in the business refer to as “pajama time.”

According to a January Medscape poll, 53% of physicians reported feeling burned out in 2022, up from 42% in 2018.

Google expects that its new search options will save clinicians time looking through extra documents and databases.

“Anything that Google can do by applying our search technologies, our health-care technologies, and our research capabilities to make the journey of clinicians, health-care providers, and payers more quick, efficient, and cost-saving ultimately benefits us as patients,” O’Malley said in an earlier press release.

The new functionalities will be available to health and life sciences firms via Google’s Vertex AI Search platform, which is already used by enterprises in other industries to run searches across public websites, papers, and other datasets. The health-care solution expands on Google’s existing Healthcare API and Healthcare Data Engine technologies.

According to Aashima Gupta, global director of health care strategy and solutions at Google Cloud, the new Vertex AI Search capabilities may integrate directly into a clinician’s workflow, which is critical for field customers.

The health-care business has historically been slower to accept new technologies, and adoption can be much more difficult if health-care personnel find new solutions distracting or difficult to use. According to Gupta, Google has been paying close attention to this.

“These are the workflows that physicians and nurses work by on a daily basis.” “You can’t add to the friction,” Gupta stated during an interview. “We are very cautious of that—that we are respecting the surface they use, that the workflow doesn’t change, but yet they get the power of this technology.”

Customers will be able to sign up for early access to Vertex AI Search for health care and life sciences on Monday, but Google Cloud has already been testing the capabilities with health organisations such as Mayo Clinic, Hackensack Meridian Health, and Highmark Health.

According to Cris Ross, Mayo Clinic’s chief information officer, the new Vertex AI search tools are not yet being used in clinical care; instead, administrative use cases are being prioritised.

“We are curious, enthusiastic, and cautious,” he stated in an interview. “And we’re not going to put anything into patient care until it’s really ready to be in patient care.”

Mayo Clinic is looking into how Vertex AI Search technologies could be used to help nurses condense long surgery notes, navigate into patients’ complex medical histories, and efficiently answer inquiries like “What is the smoking status of this patient?” in the future, according to Ross. But, for the time being, the company is taking it slowly and determining where AI solutions like Google’s will be most valuable.

Highmark Health’s chief analytics officer, Richard Clarke, said the organisation’s early reaction to the search tools has been “tremendous,” and the business is already working through a backlog of more than 200 use-case ideas. However, he stated that, similar to the Mayo Clinic, the challenge will be identifying where the technology may be most effective, gaining staff faith in it, and adopting it at scale.

“This is still very early days, deployed with small teams with lots of support, really thinking about this,” Clarke said in an interview. “We haven’t gone big and wide yet, but all early signs say that this is going to be tremendously useful, and frankly, in many cases, transformational for us.”

Google Cloud does not access or utilise client data to train models, and the company claims that the new service complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

As a patient, connecting with the health-care system can feel fragmented and difficult, so Gupta is curious to see whether clinicians can eventually harness Google’s new tools to create a more complete picture.

“To me, connecting the dots from the patient perspective has long been health care’s journey, but it’s hard,” Gupta said in a statement. “Now, we are at a point where AI is being helpful in these very practical use cases.”

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