Google inks AI partnership with Mayo Clinic

By Erik L. Ridley, AuntMinnie staff writer

September 12, 2019 -- Google and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, have inked a 10-year strategic partnership involving artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and data analytics.

Aided by Google, the Mayo Clinic plans to pursue AI-enabled digital diagnostics and leverage Google technology to increase its ability to conduct medical research, according to the institution. The partnership will help Mayo Clinic create and deploy new machine-learning models aimed at enhancing treatment precision and improving clinical outcomes, the organization said. The Mayo Clinic has been actively developing and evaluating AI algorithms for a number of radiology applications in recent years.

"Our partnership will propel a multitude of AI projects currently spearheaded by our scientists and physicians, and will provide technology tools to unlock the value of data and deliver answers at a scale much greater than today," said Mayo Clinic Chief Information Officer Christopher Ross in a statement.

Google Cloud will store the Mayo Clinic's data, but access and use of the patient data will be controlled by the Mayo Clinic using Google's cloud technologies. Data will be specifically authorized for use in projects to create new healthcare insights and technologies in conjunction with Google and other partners, the Mayo Clinic said.

Google will also open a new office in Rochester as part of the partnership. Its engineers will work with Mayo Clinic researchers, physicians, information technology staff, and data scientists on applying advanced computing techniques to healthcare problems.

The deal has the potential to be a game changer in the AI segment, said Michael J. Cannavo of Image Management Consultants.

"With AI, a lot depends on whether Mayo and Google develop their own specific algorithms or they buy existing AI products and enhance them using Mayo's vast patient database," Cannavo told "Obviously, the sooner they enter the market the better it will be, but big ships typically take a while to make a move. Both entities have been evaluating the AI marketplace for several years, so it's good to finally see a course direction from both."

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