Google Cloud

Google Cloud Transforming Healthcare With AI

A version of this post was previously published on Forbes.

At the recent HIMSS24 event in Orlando, Google Cloud unveiled a set of new solutions designed to enhance interoperability, establish a robust data foundation, and deploy generative AI tools within the healthcare and life sciences sectors, all of which promise to improve patient outcomes.

These innovations address significant challenges such as increasing healthcare administrative costs, physician burnout, and global nursing shortages by empowering healthcare workers with gen AI solutions for efficiency and effectiveness.

Vertex AI Search for Healthcare

Google Cloud’s new Vertex AI Search for Healthcare is a generative AI-powered search tool specifically designed to address the intricate needs of the healthcare sector, promising to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare workers facing escalating healthcare administrative costs, rising physician burnout, and global shortage of nurses.

Vertex AI Search for Healthcare includes medically tuned search results, configurable cloud APIs for easy integration into existing clinician workflow tools, and sophisticated question-answering functionalities. These features ensure that clinicians can access the most relevant information quickly and accurately without the need to navigate through vast amounts of information or switch between multiple applications.

Moreover, the service enhances transparency and trust by citing and linking to the specific data points that support its answers, thereby minimizing the risk of inaccuracies or hallucinations often associated with generative AI technologies.

Vertex AI Search for Healthcare streamlines healthcare practitioners’ information retrieval and decision-making processes, ensuring that the insights and information provided are relevant and reliable. This supports healthcare organizations in improving the quality of patient care and operational efficiencies.

Healthcare Data Engine

The Healthcare Data Engine by Google Cloud is a managed service designed to help healthcare organizations manage and leverage their data better. By establishing a solid, interoperable data foundation, HDE empowers healthcare entities to harness the power of generative AI to improve patient outcomes and operational efficiencies.

Central to HDE is its ability to create a unified, high-quality patient data platform that uses advanced data analytics to improve patient care delivery. The service simplifies healthcare data management through a consumption-priced, pay-as-you-go model, making sophisticated data management accessible to a broader range of healthcare providers.

Google also introduced its HDE Data Mapper, a low-code graphical IDE developed by Google Research specifically for healthcare to simplify the transformation of diverse data into high-quality longitudinal patient records in the FHIR format. This lays the groundwork for powerful gen AI applications and analytics.

HDE’s integration with tools like Vertex AI Search for Healthcare streamlines the search across various systems and formats, saving valuable time for clinicians and enhancing the patient care experience.

Google Cloud’s Healthcare Data Engine sets the stage for advanced analytics and Responsible AI initiatives by harmonizing data from disparate sources into comprehensive, longitudinal patient records. It does this by addressing the critical challenges of data silos and fragmented information, enabling healthcare providers to derive deeper insights and make informed decisions for patient care.


MedLM is a new language model developed by Google Research that leverages generative AI to address complex challenges specific to the healthcare sector. The new MedLM provides a suite of foundation models fine-tuned for healthcare-specific use cases to enhance the efficiency of clinical decision-making processes while improving patient care and streamlining healthcare workflows.

One of MedLM’s key features is its application across a wide array of diagnostic and clinical scenarios, including the interpretation of medical imaging, analysis of patient records to identify patterns or ailments, and proposal of potential treatments grounded in the latest medical studies.

The design of MedLM prioritizes the accuracy and reliability of its outputs, a critical aspect considering the high stakes involved in healthcare. It also employs sophisticated mechanisms to ensure the minimization of errors and biases, which bolsters the trust of healthcare providers and patients in the insights it provides.

Among its recent advancements, MedLM has new capabilities such as MedLM for Chest X-ray, which aids in classifying chest X-ray images for various purposes, including screening and diagnostics, and a Condition Summary API that offers a chronological overview of patient conditions complemented by AI-generated summaries with references, enhancing clinicians’ ability to make informed decisions swiftly.

The innovation represented by MedLM shows the powerful potential of generative AI to revolutionize healthcare. It equips healthcare organizations and professionals with advanced tools necessary for fostering developments in personalized medicine, clinical research, and the overall quality of patient care, marking a significant stride towards the future of healthcare technology.


Google wasn’t alone in making AI-based announcements at the HIMSS24 event. Its leading competitor in the public cloud market, Amazon Web Services, also introduced a range of healthcare-focused offerings.

While AWS took a partner-driven approach with its solutions, Google Cloud focused on delivering foundational technologies. Its suite of healthcare solutions, including Vertex AI Search for Healthcare, the Healthcare Data Engine, and MedLM, show a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to tackling the pervasive challenges within the healthcare sector.

Vertex AI Search for Healthcare addresses a critical pain point in the healthcare industry: the need for efficient and accurate access to a vast array of health data. This tool significantly reduces the administrative burden on healthcare professionals by leveraging generative AI for medically-tuned searches, potentially mitigating physician burnout and improving patient care.

The Healthcare Data Engine is the backbone of this ecosystem, providing a robust platform for data integration and management. The introduction of HDE Data Mapper is particularly newsworthy, as it empowers healthcare organizations to transform disparate data sources into unified, actionable patient records without extensive coding expertise.

MedLM, with its focus on leveraging AI for medical language understanding, complements the data capabilities of HDE and the search functionalities of Vertex AI Search by providing nuanced insights and interpretations of complex medical data.

The announcements by Google Cloud are a significant step forward in using AI and data management technologies in healthcare. The company’s offerings streamline workflows, enhance decision-making processes, and ultimately improve patient outcomes by providing healthcare professionals with the tools they need to navigate the complexities of modern healthcare.

As these technologies continue to evolve and integrate into healthcare systems, they can transform the landscape of healthcare delivery, making it more efficient, personalized, and patient-centered. That’s goodness for everyone.

Disclosure: The author is an industry analyst, and NAND Research an industry analyst firm, that engages in, or has engaged in, research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, which may include those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.