Google Cloud adds new features to Vertex AI Search for healthcare and life science companies
By Adam Baust, MSIT, FMA Deputy Director of Operations | Oct. 19, 2023

On Oct. 9, Google Cloud unveiled Vertex AI Search, specifically designed for healthcare and life sciences organizations. This tool aims to streamline the retrieval of clinical information from diverse medical records, addressing critical industry challenges such as workforce shortages, provider burnout, and administrative burdens. Administrative costs increased 30% in 2022, reaching an annual total of $60 billion, underscoring the urgency of the issue. Moreover, the U.S. is projected to face a shortage of over 3.2 million frontline healthcare workers in the next five years. The introduction of Vertex AI Search is anticipated to alleviate some of these administrative pressures and provide valuable support to clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

This technology will encompass a wide array of data, including clinical sources like FHIR data, clinical notes, and electronic health records (EHRs), achieved through the integration of Google Cloud’s Healthcare API and Healthcare Data Engine. Additionally, it will incorporate Google Health's search and intelligent summarization capabilities from its pilot product, Care Studio. The results are ensured to include proper citation and linkage to the original data sources, mitigating concerns about inaccuracies.

Early access to the Vertex AI Search platform for health and life sciences is now available, with testing conducted in collaboration with organizations including Mayo Clinic and Hackensack Meridian Health. Mayo Clinic is starting with administrative use cases and is not using Vertex AI Search in clinical care yet, said Cris Ross, Mayo’s chief information officer.

“We are curious, we’re enthusiastic, we’re also careful,” Ross told CNBC in an interview. “And we’re not going to put anything into patient care until it’s really ready to be in patient care.”

The service complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), ensuring the security and privacy of data. This innovation represents a significant advancement in utilizing AI for practical applications in healthcare.