A powerful Internet giant has been working with one of the nation's largest health systems to collect private information from millions of Americans.
The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Examiner are reporting that Google partnered with Ascension last year to put personal patient information on the Google Cloud platform with the purpose of improving communication among Ascension employees.
Patients and physicians, however, were unaware Google was collecting records and at least one prominent name, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, has called it “troubling” to learn of the collaboration that was named “Project Nightingale.”
Even though Ascension and Google claim Project Nightingale is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Twila Brase of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom says HIPAA is not a data privacy rule.
"HIPAA allows data to be shared by those who hold your data under something called healthcare operations,” she advises. "That is why and how this data is being shared, through purposes of health care operations.”
Brase, a registered nurse, has been a vocal critic of Obamacare and single-payer health care, and she has also taken an advocacy role over patient privacy.
"It should cause all sorts of angst with the American public,” she says of Google's actions, "and it should cause Congress to rescind HIPAA and give patients back their privacy and consent rights."
According to a statement from Google Cloud’s president, the hope is to reduce costs and save lives “through the power of the cloud, data analytics, machine learning, and modern productivity tools.”