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Hackensack Meridian Health and Google Expand Relationship to Improve Patient Care

Healthcare organization also partnering with Google Cloud to deploy AI/ML in clinical settings, improve care for thousands of patients across New Jersey

Hackensack Meridian Health and Google today announced the two organizations are expanding their relationship to improve patient care. Hackensack Meridian Health recently migrated to Google Workspace and will be one of the first health systems in the world to use Chrome OS devices across clinical and business environments.

In addition, Hackensack Meridian is partnering with Google Cloud to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in key clinical areas, such as screening and detection, to help transform the way healthcare is delivered to thousands of patients across New Jersey.

“Hackensack Meridian Health is always looking for new and innovative ways we can utilize technology to transform the patient experience,” says Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health. “Through our collaboration with Google, we are enhancing patient care and improving health outcomes.”

Enabling collaboration and distributed care with Google Workspace and Chrome Enterprise
The pandemic changed the way society lives and works, and in response, Hackensack Meridian Health worked alongside Google to transform its healthcare organization. The hospital system chose to deploy a combination of Google Workspace and Chrome OS’ business-focused solution Chrome Enterprise — which includes Chrome browser and Chrome OS devices such as Chromebooks and Chromeboxes — for an integrated experience across clinical and operational settings. This combination simplifies tasks and facilitates seamless interactions between frontline workers, such as clinicians and care teams, office workers, administrators, and patients wherever they are.

Over the course of the last year, Hackensack Meridian Health effectively utilized Chrome Enterprise to empower team members to work remotely by deploying 3,000 Chromebooks with Citrix and enabling secure access to core healthcare applications. This solution provides a consistent experience for team members and a secure environment that protects patient data. Chromebooks also helped physicians conduct visits from home or the office, which was critically important as the health system’s network experienced a significant increase in the number of telehealth visits—from approximately 8,600 in 2019 to nearly 200,000 in 2020.

Like many large integrated healthcare delivery systems, Hackensack Meridian Health has performed a number of mergers and acquisitions over the years. Chrome OS is making it much simpler to consolidate 11 different Active Directory forests into a single domain in coordination with the Chrome OS rollout, ensuring a smooth transition for team members.

“The COVID-19 crisis showed that our team members are true healthcare heroes,” added Mr. Garrett. “Google Chrome Enterprise will continue to allow our team members to work from home, collaborate seamlessly, and deliver convenient access to high quality care during challenging times, while keeping patients and team members secure.”

Deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve care
Google Cloud and Hackensack Meridian Health are also partnering to deploy Google Cloud’s AI/ML offerings to aid physicians and care teams and allow them to provide better care, at scale, as well as to drive operational efficiencies. For example, they’ll work together to deploy AI/ML solutions to assist in screening and disease detection, such as:

  • Newborn Screenings – Newborn Screening is a public health program that tests babies for congenital disorders. Hackensack Meridian Health is looking at ways to leverage AI/ML technologies like Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to put results in the provider’s hand as soon as possible. This initiative allows providers to receive automatic notification of test results and expedite access to review the newborn patient’s screening results and medical information.
  • Mammography Screenings – A routine mammogram is one of the best ways to find breast cancer in women aged 50–74, and it is critical for patient outcomes to provide high accuracy in mammogram readings. Hackensack Meridian Health is looking to improve the accuracy of mammogram readings using AI to conduct secondary screenings, potentially catching issues undetected by a provider and improving overall quality.
  • Prostate Cancer Screenings – Recent research has identified a wide variance in prostate cancer outcomes among male patients within different demographic groups. Hackensack Meridian Health is using AI/ML technologies to pinpoint and understand specific factors that influence this variance in patient outcome. AI/ML models can be built to predict patient outcomes and provide potential treatment paths.
  • Sepsis Detection – According to the CDC, at least 1.7 million adults in the U.S. will develop sepsis this year and nearly 270,000 Americans die from it. Diagnosing a septic infection can be difficult, which is why Hackensack Meridian Health is looking to utilize AI/ML technologies to analyze patients’ medical data and predict risk of infection in real-time.
  • COVID-19 Detection – Hackensack Meridian Health is looking at ways to use NLP, an AI technology, to analyze the clinical notes of patients with COVID-19. The goal of this initiative is to better understand COVID-19 signs and symptoms, and how the disease progresses in patients.

Through this work, Hackensack Meridian Health is leveraging Google Cloud’s secure, reliable foundation to protect data and facilitate secure collaboration. As is typical with use of cloud services, Hackensack Meridian Health controls access and use of its patient data.

“This partnership provides the opportunity to transform care for thousands of patients,” says Thomas Kurian, CEO, 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.”

“Google Cloud’s AI and ML technologies are a new frontier in medicine,” said Daniel W. Varga, M.D., chief physician executive, Hackensack Meridian Health. “Together, we will improve patient care, treatment precision and clinical outcomes of diseases, while increasing efficiencies that can help physicians devote more time to life-saving research and patient care.”

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