The project Nightingale by Google

Progetto Nightingale

It’s now a while that we hear about the project Nightingale, made by Google, and the involvement of Ascension, the second biggest american network of hospitals. A noble idea, the one to collect the medical informations of all the americans, in order to make easily available. Unfortunatelly the initiative already started, without that the patients knew something about it.

The idea of Nightingale

Florence Nightingale, which was born in the 1820 and died in the 1910, was the founder of the modern nursing. It’s in her honor that the project Nightingale was born.

Google started to think about the project in the 2014, when Larry Page, one of the founders of the company, released a declaration during an interview in Vancouver, in Canada. “It would be extraordinary if all the healthy datas of the patients will be released and stored in only one database to support the medical research”.

Project Nightingale
Google, Ascension and the project Nightingale

It seems that that didn’t remained only an idea, but in the years Google went on working to the project, until when, not so much time ago, Nightingale came back to make the news. The Wall Street Journal, infact, published an article claiming that Google really started to collect the datas of the patients of Ascension. They are up to 50 millions the american citizens involved in the project, the problem is that no one of them knew about the fact that company was collecting and storing their datas.

Ascension and Google

Ascension, like we said is the second biggest network of american hospitals and it counts 158.000 employees, divided in the hospital structures, care centres and analysis laboratories, by arriving to a turnover of up to 23 billion of dollars.

From the announcement released in the 2014 by Larry Page passed 5 years, but it seems that it’s already more than one year that Google and Ascension started to cooperate in the project.

Progetto Nightingale
Project Nightingale – all the patients’ datas collected in one database

Ascension, infact, started to share their own datas with Big G: medical records, test results, diagnosis, shelters, surgeries and prescriptions drugs. The datas are about up to 50 million of people of 21 countries of the United States.

After the news leaked many started to doubt about the project, by thinking that it violates the privacy of the patients and by wondering what does Google want to do with these informations.

What’s the point of the project Nightingale

The purpose is the one to help everyone to live a healthier life”. That’s what David Fainberg said, the head of the department Health of Google, on the official blog, after the accusation against the project and the company.

He, therefore, said even that the company never denied the existence of the project Nightingale, far from, it always publicly talked about it. We have to said, furthermore, that the project is compatible with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the law that defines the modes of the processing of the datas of the patients.

But even if there aren’t violations about the privacy, it still remains the question what’s the point of the project Nightingale?

Ascension always claimed that one of its main purpose is the one to find a way to give a proper health care to the poorest and most disadvantaged classes. To do it it found a valid ally in the technological world: Google.

An increased database can be really useful to find out which sector Ascension needs to improve. Furthermore, all the informations collected in only one, massive, database, will be easily affordable for an artificial intelligence. Which purpose will be the one to help the doctors and the researchers in early diagnosis and in the realization of new medicines and cures.

Finally, Google isn’t a new entry in the world of the Healthcare. Even though the doubts and the perplexities of many, this is a sector in which the informatic colossus is investing a lot. In the 2020, infact, it will complete the purchase of the FitBit, while it was already in the 2017 that it bought the Senosis Health.

This post is also available in: Italiano

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