Google is continuing its work in the EHR space, with a new AI-backed tool called Conditions, aimed at giving doctors a holistic view of a patient. The new feature will be part of Google’s clinician-facing search tool that helps organize patients’ medical records, Care Studio, its VP Paul Muret announced at ViVE this week.
Muret explained that Care Studio’s original feature is useful for clinicians when they know what they are looking for in a medical record. Conditions meanwhile can help get the most important information into a clinician’s hands before they search.
“Sometimes you don’t know what you’re searching for. At key moments during admissions and when you’re about to see a patient you’ve never seen before, maybe haven’t seen them for a long time, the clinician really wants to get a more comprehensive understanding of what’s going on with this patient. What are all the different conditions and issues happening right now that I need to be aware of so I can provide the best care possible?”
The technology is able to create a summary of a patients’ medical condition, with the most acute conditions listed at the top. Conditions can also highlight clinician notes to help contextualize the information.
Clinicians can click on any condition listed and get relevant information about the patient’s care and metrics. Muret gave the example of diabetes. If a clinician clicks on that condition, they may get information about a patient’s A1C level, metformin medication and related medical appointments.
It is also able to identify any missing information, like if a patient with diabetes is missing a diabetic retinopathy exam.
“The Conditions feature works by algorithmically understanding medical concepts from notes that may be written in incomplete sentences, shorthand or with misspelled words. We use Google’s advances in AI in an area called natural language processing (NLP) to understand the actual context in which a condition is mentioned and map these concepts to a vocabulary of tens of thousands of medical conditions,” Muret said in a blog post announcing the technology.
WHY IT MATTERS
EHR usability has been a major challenge in healthcare for more than a decade. In fact, a 2019 study out of the Mayo Clinic linked the lack of EHR usability to burnout. Google is pitching this new technology as a way to surface useful information more readily.
“Healthcare data is structured in numerous ways, making it difficult to organize,” Muret wrote in the blog. “Clinical notes may be written differently and stored across different systems. Clinician notes also differ based on if content is meant for clinical decision-making, billing or regulatory uses.
“Further, when it comes to writing notes, clinicians use different abbreviations or acronyms depending on their personal preference, what health system they’re a part of, their region and other factors. All of this has made it difficult to synthesize clinical data – until now.”
THE LARGER TREND
In February 2021, Google rolled out Care Studio. Before the official launch, news reports emerged that the company had been working with healthcare organization Ascension since 2018 on a “secret” initiative dubbed Project Nightingale involving patient data. This collaboration brought up privacy concerns among patients, clinicians and legislators.
In 2021, the company unveiled a new mobile version of Care Studio. Muret said the new modality would help clinicians check in on a patient or access patient information on the go.