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Doctor Google Will See You Now

Google is reportedly secretly gathering personal health data from millions of Americans

Allergic to peanuts? Google may already know that.

Google has amassed personal health data from millions of Americans in 21 states and has reportedly been doing so in secret, The Wall Street Journal reports. The project is titled "Nightingale."

The tech giant is collaborating with health giant Ascension, one of the nation's largest nonprofit health systems, to gather patient records and transfer them over to a Google Cloud platform. According to Forbes, data has already ben uploaded.

The data amounts to a complete patient history, including a patient’s date of birth, allergies, immunizations, family medical history, hospitalizations, lab results, and doctor diagnoses. The project has already accrued a wealth of privacy issues, and Ascension staffers themselves are among those who have expressed concerns, noted Forbes.

Both Google and Ascension say the collaboration is purely aimed at improving the experience of patients and providers. The driving concept is to create a tool called Patient Search, says Forbes, that would allow Ascension health providers to search a patient's complete medical history instantly.

Google published a blog post detailing the project after the Journal's report. In it, Google Cloud president, Tariq Shaukat stated that it was “standard practice in health care” as patient data is most often stored in electronic systems. He also noted that despite the project's potential privacy concerns, the end goal is "improving patient outcomes and saving lives."