Google to access health data at the source

May 22, 2019 //By Julien Happich
health data
While Google’s unmatched advert-driven revenues rely on the scavenging and analysis of internet-browsing and smartphone-generated user data, the search engine giant also aims to extract and monetize user health data, at the source.

Back in 2017, Google together with the Duke University School of Medicine, Stanford Medicine and the American Heart Association, launched the Project Baseline Health Study with the motto, “We've mapped the world, now let's map human health”. Now lead by Verily, a Google sister company founded in 2015 under the Alphabet umbrella, the project aims to leverage Google’s targeted advertising to enrol on a large scale a more diverse population willing to give-away its health metrics for clinical trials.

On its website, the company explains it wants to develop the tools to implement a more patient-centric, technology-enabled approach to research, and increase the number and diversity of clinical research participants. One such tool is the Baseline Platform allowing individuals to easily volunteer and share health data, which Google and its analytics tool could leverage to suggest participation into specific clinical trials for which certain of their health metrics may be prove particularly interesting to explore. Registration is 3-step easy, you can even sign-in with a Google account if you already use one of the company’s services.

Another tool developed for long term clinical trials is the Study Watch, described as an investigational medical device intended for seamless and scalable data collection in clinical studies. The medical-grade wearable leverages specialized sensors and robust cloud infrastructure to capture and analyze physiological and environmental data.

“It is designed to appeal to a broad range of users for long-term wear”, one can read on Verily’s Study Watch project page. The wirelessly collected data is to be processed in the cloud using the company’s back-end algorithms and machine learning tools.

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