How is Google Cloud Health API Powering Healthcare and Life Sciences?
How is Google Cloud Health API Powering Healthcare and Life Sciences?
By Sudeep Srivastav
January 7, 2019 5 min read
Last update on: November 7, 2019

Healthcare Industry, hands down, is the most challenging one to transform.

Because of the massive amount of legacy systems mixed with the high percent of sensitive, personalized and segregated data, bringing all the data together on one platform and converting it into insights that would then transform the industry becomes a task that is nearly impossible to achieve.

This difficulty combined with the industry’s growing unmet demand for interoperability is something that finds an answer in Cloud Computing Systems and Applications in Healthcare.

Cloud storage that was once used to only store bytes and bytes of healthcare data has now transformed and fitted into a role where it is now being used to lower the operational cost, gain efficiencies and drive tasks like personalized patient care. Factors, which have made Cloud Computing a Healthcare trend that will dominate the industry in 2019 and beyond.

Here are some statistics showing the adoption of Cloud in the Healthcare domain –

Statistics showing adoption of cloud in the healthcare domain

The aim of Cloud Computing has now become to go beyond data storage and provide heightened efficiency and bring real transformation in the healthcare domain, all the while making healthcare accessible to all.

And now, with the inception of Google Cloud Healthcare API – an offering which is presently in the Alpha stage – the mechanics of cloud computing has not just become more accessible but has also gotten more advanced by being powered by disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Machine Learning.

Before we go on to how Google Cloud Healthcare API is poised to bring changes in the Healthcare app development domain, let us first validate the need of Cloud in the Healthcare Ecosystem.

How Cloud Computing is Transforming the Healthcare System?

Cloud computing solutions – hybrid, public or private – offer a similar level of services as the internal IT organizations but at very low costs. Along with the lowered cost of operations, the improvement of the quality of care is also something that is making healthcare providers embrace the cloud in one form or another.

There are a number of ways Healthcare Cloud Solution is benefitting the several healthcare solutions providers and healthcare systems and applications both of the cost front and quality care wise.

Let us look at the three prominent ways that have introduced a mass adoption of cloud technology in the Healthcare app development space.

1.Economical

The primary way healthcare can leverage cloud at its advantage if for the financial gains. Cloud gives you better flexibility in terms of spending as you get to invest in services on demand. Also, you won’t have to put in a high investment amount for infrastructure plus all the ad-hoc spendings like maintenance and labor charge will become a part of all-inclusive IaaS cost.

2.Operational

The aim of every healthcare solution provider who deals in data in the size of petabytes is to ensure that the operation is moving as smoothly as possible. Cloud with its Security and Scalability features ensure that your data center is secured and you have the privilege to upgrade and take up more space on the cloud as the operations and business processes scale.

3.Functional

While there are a number of functional advantages that come attached to the cloud systems, interoperability is the one that rules them all. The fact that Cloud computing allows all the authorized parties to access all the part of the environment from different geographical locations through web access allows better utilization of the healthcare organization staff in order to offer better-personalized services to the patients.

Now that it is validated that Cloud Computing can transform the complete Healthcare domain, it is time to delve into the one Cloud solution that is known to have become the torchbearer of the cloud-based healthcare innovation and for the many healthcare solution providers – Google Cloud.

What Separates Google Cloud Healthcare Solutions From the Other Cloud Service Providers?

What separates Google Cloud Healthcare solution from the other Cloud Healthcare solution providers are four elements that also act as the four pillars of the Google Cloud Healthcare and Life Science Solutions.Four pillars of the Google Cloud Healthcare and Life Science SolutionsPowerful Analytics

With the Big Data tools that come with Google Cloud Platform, one can process over petabytes of healthcare data at a lightning speed. You can convert the huge amount of imaging, genomic, clinical and the insurance data into medical industry breakthroughs, advanced care, and streamlined operations through the Google Big Data offering.

The solutions can be easily adapted in the hybrid and multi-cloud environments using migration services that Google team offers.

Machine Learning and AI

While AI has already proved itself to be the trend transforming Healthcare, with GCP, you won’t need a massive team to get the most insight out of your data. You will get several pre-trained models that allow you to classify videos and images and take out information from thousands of surveys and articles. You can even develop customized models through TensorFlow and Cloud Machine Learning Engine to run or scale your models.

Connected Care

With the patients’ demands getting inclined towards seamless care, data interoperability has become more crucial than ever before. This rising demand for interoperability has given birth to standards like HL7v2 and FHIR which lays down the basis of data transfer from one machine to another.

Google Cloud provides you with the APIs of both the standards to link the legacy data with the emergent technology that powers digital experience like the patient mobile apps, fitness device, and remote device monitoring.

This way by the integration of Google Cloud Healthcare solution in your establishment, you can support heightened innovation while respecting the data locality and privacy.

Collaboration and Mobility

Whether your patients and colleagues are in a different room or in a different part of the world – with G Suite, the cloud-based productivity tool which supports all the HIPAA compliances, you all can remain connected. G Suite allows the stakeholders to exchange private medical information while ensuring secure telemedicine sessions through Hangouts Meet.

In order to make Healthcare even more efficient, accessible, and real-time without a desktop dependency, Google Cloud has expanded its branch to the Google Cloud Healthcare API.

While still in the Alpha stage, Google Cloud Healthcare API is settled to become a gap between the care systems and the applications built on Google Cloud.

What separates it from the best healthcare APIs is that the Google Cloud Healthcare API not just supports the standard based data protocol and format of the present healthcare technologies but also connects data to the advanced GCP capabilities such as data processing, scalable analytics, and machine learning – all the while ensuring simplified device integration and application development.

Let us look more into what one of the best healthcare APIs entail and the features that are present in it, which ensures transformed Healthcare system.

The Intro. of Google Healthcare API

The Google Cloud Healthcare API is getting prepared to connect the distance between applications and care developed on the Google Cloud.

By supporting the standards-based data protocols and formats of the present healthcare technologies, Cloud Healthcare API would link your health-related data to advanced Google Cloud abilities like Cloud Dataproc, BigQuery, and Cloud ML Engine, all the while simplifying the application development process and integration of devices.

The Google Cloud Healthcare API will accelerate digital transformation for organizations with existing clinical systems and enables new entrants to easily integrate with care networks.

The API is poised to offer a managed solution to store and access the healthcare data in GCP, building a concrete bridge between the present care systems and the applications that are hosted on the Google Cloud.

With the help of GCP API, healthcare institutions will be able to unlock a massive amount of capabilities for machine learning, data analysis, and for application development – using which healthcare solution providers will be able to develop next-gen solutions.

The API, in the Alpha stage, is made up of three modality-based interfaces which implement prime industry-specific standards for the great amount of health data:

  • Cloud Healthcare FHIR API the emerging standard used for interchanging health data
  • Cloud Healthcare HL7v2 API, popularly adopted a method for the integration of health systems
  • Cloud Healthcare DICOM API, standard for imaging-related and radiology disciplines

All the interfaces are supported by standard-compliant storage of data that offers the ability to write, read, search and perform a number of operations on the collected data. The data stores will also offer an interface into the high-capacity Cloud’s Publish-Subscribe product which would in return provide the stakeholders with a secure, clean integration point for all the apps.

Features of Google’s Healthcare APIFeature of the Google Healthcare API

A. Standard Conformance

Through the participation Google has in several healthcare standard bodies, Google supports the use of the standard based interoperability. In Google Cloud Healthcare API every modality based data store and the associated API is completely conformant with the relevant standard.

B. Compliance with the Privacy Regulations

The GCP offers detailed guidance with respect to its compliance support with HIPAA, PIPEDA, and various other global privacy standards.

C. Data Location Control

The API treats the data location as a core element of API. It gives you the choice to select the storage location for every dataset from the list of available locations that correspond to the specific geographic locations aligned with the GCP’s regional ecosystem.

D. Security

The Cloud API is powered by Google’s own IAM system, which gives the stakeholders full control over the access of their healthcare data. Google has also developed several open-source proxies of the robust Apigee API Management System that offers wide-scale traffic management and threat detection abilities, allowing you to expose the sensitive ePHI with the provider and patient applications.

E. Bulk Export and Import

The FHIR and DICOM modalities which Cloud Healthcare APIs come with, support bulk export and import of data, making it easy to transfer the data through the cloud storage system

F. De-Identification

Google Cloud makes de-identification – a process which operates on data store basis – possible for DICOM, which makes it a lot easier to redact the patient’s information for research purposes

G. High Availability

Google Cloud API’s redundant and highly robust infrastructure makes the availability of the mission-critical scenarios possible.

H. Auditable

Google Cloud Healthcare API allows both data access and administrative request to be audited. The logs are made available to the stakeholders through the Google Cloud Stackdriver monitoring system.

How are Healthcare Solution Providers Using Google Cloud?

The approach that Google follows in its Cloud Healthcare solutions is to provide healthcare customers tools that they need for accelerating projects in spaces like personalized medicine, population health, and clinical research.

The approach has not just helped Healthcare application development companies create a better healthcare future for the industry’s stakeholders but has also led to a number of healthcare solution providers coming forward to become a part of the healthcare revolution brought on by Google Cloud Healthcare.

Here are some of the healthcare solution providers who have adopted the powerful technology and the ways they are using it to draw Google Cloud Healthcare case studiesThe Use Cases That are Prepared to Extend to Google Cloud Healthcare API, once it is made live in the industry.

Google Cloud Healthcare Customers

M*Modal has partnered with Google Cloud for reinventing the experience of healthcare and for mitigating the widespread doctor burnout. The partnership has enabled them to adopt the physician-assistive, AI specific solutions at scale for aligning innovation with the market needs.

Now, M*Modal delivers AI based real-time contextual insights from the clinical data to doctors right at the point of care.

Lahey Health has moved to the G Suite for availing a number of benefits like innovation, collaboration, scalability, productivity, and security. The reason that they cite behind opting for G Suite is malware scanning for early detection of the global campaign and end-to-end infrastructure which has built-in protection across a number of layers.

Chilean Health Ministry uses Google Cloud Apigee platform for providing nationwide API based connectivity for ensuring data, services, and applications are available securely whenever they are needed. The connectivity secures access to the patient’s information, irrespective whether it is required in Chile’s 1000 remote facilities or anywhere in the connected health centers.

Cleveland Clinic is also using the Google Cloud Apigee for realizing the potential of underlying EMR through the FHIR APIs. With the help of a scalable, secure API platform, Apigee is allowing Cleveland Clinic to enable, extend, and augment the functionality of their EHR. It is also providing them the access to run advanced level analytics and Machine Learning powered predictive models which reveal insights to the clinicians that help them in delivering improved patient care.

Now that we have seen it all – the need for Cloud Computing in the Healthcare domain, the Google Cloud Healthcare Solution and the Google Cloud Healthcare API, along with the several use cases, it is now time to look into the factors that you should consider while designing an application around the Google Cloud Healthcare API.

Points to Keep Into Consideration When Integrating Google Cloud Health API in your Cloud-based Healthcare Apps

When you design a system or application with Cloud Healthcare API, you would want to take the following points into consideration for your cloud powered healthcare mobile app development:

  1. Access Control – You can define rules both at a dataset and the store level, although you might choose to classify all the data for a specific application in the same dataset, and set the access control rules in a way that the application can gain access to the dataset.
  2. Application Requirement: The application which process a variety of data might have all the data for modalities in one dataset.
  3. Source System: usually, the healthcare data structure can vary on the basis of modality and source system. By separating the data for different system source into own dataset would facilitate processing.
  4. Intended Use: The data coming in from different systems can have a variety of intended uses like analytics, research, or machine learning predictions. By grouping the data according to the intended use, one may facilitate ingestion in the target system.
  5. Separating the ePHI from the de-identified data: The de-identification function of Cloud Healthcare API reads from the source dataset and then write output in the new dataset which you specify.

With this, you now know everything about the Google Cloud Healthcare API – what it would entail for bettering the healthcare industry efficiencies and how you can implement it in your healthcare mobile app development.

The only thing left now, is for you to setup your legacy system in a way that they are ready to integrate the power of Google Cloud API. Contact our team of Google Cloud specialists to know how to prepare your legacy system for the upcoming disruption.

How is Google Cloud Health API Powering Healthcare and Life Science

 

Sudeep Srivastav
Sudeep Srivastav
CEO, Appinventiv
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