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Hackensack Meridian leveraging Google devices for clinical and operational needs

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | October 21, 2021
Business Affairs Health IT
Google will provide Chrome OS devices and Google cloud will provide AI and ML applications to Hackensack Meridian Health
Hackensack Meridian Health will be one of the first healthcare systems in the world to integrate Chrome OS devices designed by Google into its clinical and business environments.

The new technology comes as part of an expansion between Hackensack Meridian and Google and includes a new partnership with Google Cloud which will oversee the deployment of AI and machine learning in key clinical areas.

"Together, we will improve patient care, treatment precision, and clinical outcomes of diseases, while increasing efficiencies that can help physicians devote more time to lifesaving research and patient care,” Dr. Daniel Varga, chief physician executive at Hackensack Meridian Health, said in a statement.

The hospital system has deployed Google Workspace and Chrome OS’ business-focused solution, Chrome Enterprise, which includes Chrome browser and Chrome OS devices such as Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. Combining these technologies helps simplify tasks and allows frontline workers, office employees, administrators and patients to communicate from any location.

The healthcare system deployed 3,000 Chromebooks with Citrix last year to its employees working remotely so they could access their work securely and so patient data could be protected. This also allowed physicians to conduct telehealth visits from home or the office, which went up from 8,600 in 2019 to 200,000 in 2020, according to Hackensack Meridian. Additionally Chrome OS has made it easier to consolidate 11 different Active Directory forests obtained through various mergers and acquisitions into a single domain.

Google Cloud, meanwhile, will help Hackensack Meridian deploy AI solutions for better screening and disease detection, at scale, as well as operational efficiency. This includes natural language processing and optical character recognition to expedite the reading process for newborn screenings, and to issue automatic notifications when results are ready; and secondary screenings to look for undetected findings in mammograms.

Hackensack Meridian also plans to use AI and ML technologies to detect and learn about specific factors that affect individual patient outcomes in prostate cancer screenings, as well as diagnose sepsis by predicting risk of infection in real time. These technologies will be additionally applied to analyze clinical notes of COVID-19 patients to better understand their symptoms and track disease progress. Hackensack Meridian will retain control over access and use of its patient data.

"This partnership provides the opportunity to transform care for thousands of patients," said Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud. "We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Hackensack Meridian Health team, as we further our joint efforts to develop innovative services that will push care to the next level."

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