Ascension, Google Health data search tool moves closer to adoption in senior living communities – News

A clinical search tool for electronic health records being piloted by about 250 clinicians eventually will be rolled out to Ascension Living’s senior living and care communities to improve resident, patient and caregiver experiences, according to the parent company. 

Ascension and Google Health are piloting a new Care Studio platform that will leverage Google’s “expertise in organizing information” by enabling medical professionals to type what they’re looking for into a clinical search feature to quickly find specific information and records, according to a published report. The two companies partnered in 2018 on the project.

Ascension is the parent of Ascension Living, which operates more than 40 senior living and care facilities. The national health system also operates 145 hospitals.

The tool, according to the Care Studio website, gives clinicians a “single, centralized view that automatically brings forward a patient’s important information, including hospital visits, outpatient events, laboratory tests, medications, and treatment and progress notes.” The interface provides a visual look at health data and trends through tables and graphs.

The partnership gained the attention of the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, which opened an inquiry in 2019 to determine whether the “mass collection of individuals’ medical records” complied with patient privacy protections.

According to the Care Studio website, the program adheres to industry-wide regulations protecting patient data and its use, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Business Associate Agreement and Protected Health Information..

Google and Ascension began piloting the tool with about 250 clinicians in Nashville, TN, and Jacksonville, FL. They are in the middle of expanding the pilot to additional medical professionals.

Following feedback from pilot clinicians and a period of “quality assurance and improvement,” the clinical search tool will be made available to caregivers across Ascension’s 2,600 sites of care in 20 states and the District of Columbia, including the senior living and care facilities.

In a blog post in February, Eduardo Conrado, Ascension executive vice president of strategy and innovation, said that the pandemic called for “dramatic changes” to better serve its communities. The collaboration with Google, he wrote, focused on reimagining how clinical data is organized. He called it the “essence of delivering effective and efficient care.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the significant impact that complex, and often confusing electronic health records (EHR) systems and the fragmentation of patient health data have on delivering effective care to individuals and rapidly responding to the needs of populations during healthcare crises,” Conrado wrote. “We sought to deploy an integrated longitudinal record that provides a complete clinical history for each of our patients, and make that record accessible and searchable by our clinicals. This approach will organize each patient’s historical diagnoses, laboratory tests, medications, treatments and progress notes so that our clinicians can surface the relevant information needed when it’s needed.”

Ascension had not responded to requests for comment prior to the publication deadline for McKnight’s Senior Living.

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