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Mayo Clinic, Google partner to use AI, patient data to catapult research

Google Cloud and Mayo Clinic are working together to improve patient outcomes, transform clinician experiences, support clinical research and revolutionize healthcare delivery.

Google brings its cloud platform and artificial intelligence capabilities, while Mayo brings its clinical expertise and a strategy to advance the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

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“When selecting a technology partner, Mayo was looking for an organization with the engineering talent, focus and cloud technology to collaborate with us on a shared vision to deliver digital healthcare innovation at a global scale,” says Christopher Ross, Mayo’s CIO.

In addition to building its data platform on Google Cloud, Mayo’s physician leaders are partnering with Google to create machine-learning models for serious and complex diseases.

Over time, Mayo also expects to share these models and other joint solutions with caregivers across the world to improve healthcare delivery.

The data being stored in the Google cloud is Mayo’s. The provider will control the use of its data, and when sharing it with other entities, it will be de-identified, according to Ross.

The first stage of the program is to move data into the Google Cloud. Mayo has done preliminary work during the past five years in creating a Mayo platform to be used for discovery purposes. The data now comprises 3 petabytes, and the organization expects to eventually reach 30 petabytes.

In the building phase, the core objective is to get the data where it can be useful for multiple purposes such as supporting analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and clinical decision support.

“We are looking to use Google capabilities to have a more powerful and complete system to ingest data and enrich it and use it,” Ross explains. “We can pull patient data off a monitor now, but we want to be able to put it in a usable form.”

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With data in a usable form, Mayo then could take advantage of Google Cloud for massive computing power, Ross adds. “They can do things at scale we cannot even imagine in terms of power and performance. Google build an infrastructure to ingest and use raw data with much faster speed and performance.”

The next step in the Mayo-Google partnership will initially be difficult but have a reward waiting at the end.

“Now, we and Google have to learn how to do research together,” Ross asserts. “That means bringing together Mayo Clinic physician scientists, researchers, and Google specialists to create new clinical insights, cures, and treatments.”

The Mayo-Google partnership represents the limitations of both organizations and much of the industry, of the true understanding of analytics technology and skill sets, which for now is why large partnerships like this one will lead the way with the organizations brining to bear the skills and tools that they do have and both learning from the other, says Gregg Pessin, an analyst at Gartner.

“Most providers excel in data collection and the giant companies bring a consumer-centric approach and exploding analytics capabilities,” he explains. “They also know how to use data to understand how we feel and market products to us, and this will lead to a tipping point of data-centric healthcare.”

The large companies are better than providers at this stage in the use of artificial intelligence and using it to understand patterns and shed new light on diseases, which will speed up diagnoses and the accuracy of diagnoses, according to Pessin.

As Mayo gets better at handling all of its data and how to use it, that’s when the organization will be able to shed new light on what it already knows and shine a new light on new discoveries, Pessin concludes.

The partnership is expected to last for at least 10 years. Mayo data will always be controlled by Mayo, even in cases in which private entities to which Mayo grants access to its data.

As part of the partnership, Google will open a new office near Mayo’s headquarters.

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