With the launch of Care Studio, a clinician-facing search tool that helps coordinate patient medical records, Google hopes to address EHR navigation issues. The tool is designed to work in tandem with the EHR to improve workflow performance. The platform allows caregivers to search patients’ records through several EHRs. The tool can also sync data from several health systems and convert blood pressure and glucose levels to the same metric. A patient description of information collected from the notes is also generated by the tool.
The tech behemoth has been collaborating with Ascension Health on a Care Studio pilot focusing on data quality and product protection with a group of clinicians in Nashville, TN, and Jacksonville, FL. In the clinical setting, the pilot is now expanding to include more doctors and nurses.
What is the problem statement
In existing EHR systems, health information is frequently lost in fragmented documents spread around hospitals, clinics, urgent care centers, pharmacies, physician offices, laboratories, and other care sites, making it difficult for physicians and caregivers to provide organized and accurate care efficiently. When data from these various EHR systems is eventually retrieved, it is often disorganized and scattered.
Most clinicians operate in an atmosphere where data is unavailable, incomplete, and distributed in disjointed bursts with too little context. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the complexities of operating in this manner have become much more apparent as complex care processes have gradually shifted to remote care environments.
Google and Ascension first teamed up in 2018 to develop a searchable and open interface that shows physicians a patient’s entire clinical history. Recognizing that EHR programs often organize clinical data in a fragmented fashion, the collaboration aims to present data in a more detailed and contextualized manner.
After resolving data privacy issues, the project was redesigned, and Google and Ascension are now piloting an approach that will coordinate patients’ symptoms, clinical tests, prescriptions, therapies, and progress reports so that clinicians can find important information easily when they need it.
How care studio supports clinicians
Care Studio simplifies key clinician workflows so that teams can get the data they need to care for patients quickly. It combines medical information from an organization’s various EHRs, allowing clinicians a consolidated view of patient data and the ability to scan through them.
The history of a patient can be lengthy and complicated, making it difficult to locate important information. Care Studio makes use of Google technology to present important information with fewer clicks. Care Studio, for example, will automatically arrange a patient’s drug history, including details on dosing and when they were prescribed. In addition, the tool makes it simple to locate important details such as lab reports, procedure instructions, prescription orders, and progress notes.
Care Studio synchronizes medical data from various systems. And if health systems record metrics like blood pressure or glucose levels in separate units, Care Studio automatically translates them to make them easier to interpret and compare for clinicians.
Taking the next step towards clinical impact
Google has fine-tuned Care Studio based on inputs from Ascension to show specific clinical information from their networks reliably and in a way that is useful to their physicians and nurses. With this pilot, Google is now aiming at refining the product for Ascension’s wider use. During care delivery, a small group of clinicians in Nashville, TN, and Jacksonville, FL will use an early release of Care Studio alongside their current equipment. Google will use their feedback to enhance the tool’s usability, make it more efficient for them, and better incorporate it into their existing workflows.
The goal is to apply Google’s expertise in organizing complicated data into easy-to-understand formats to the healthcare industry. As more Ascension practitioners adopt Care Studio, Google is looking forward to assisting them in their patient care.
Necessity surpasses controversy
Google was initially criticized for its Care Studio initiative. Many in the healthcare industry have opposed Google and Ascension’s patient data-sharing model. Patients and doctors were unaware that at least 150 Google employees had access to data on tens of millions of patients, according to the Wall Street Journal. Ascension issued a statement at the time claiming that the study was HIPAA-compliant.
In 2019, Google gave the public the first look at its clinical reporting software when it announced it was working on a more integrated charting system that would make it easier for physicians to search for a range of measurements and notes.
The launch of Google Care Studio, on the other hand, is timely in that it captures consumer sentiment and awareness about the importance of digitized EHR resources. Deloitte, a global consulting firm, is planning to launch its home tracking platform, as are other health data companies.
This tool is being marketed by Google as a way to relieve pressure on EHRs and make the system more integrated. Care Studio’s robust and automated medical search capabilities could enable health practitioners to save time given the high rate of medical staff turnover caused by pandemic pressure on hospitals.