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Google Cloud is partnering with Mayo Clinic as it tries to expand use of generative A.I. in health care

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai delivers the keynote address at the Google I/O developers conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, May 10, 2023.

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Google’s cloud business is expanding its use of new artificial intelligence technologies in health care, giving medical professionals at Mayo Clinic the ability to quickly find patient information using the types of tools powering the latest chatbots.

On Wednesday, Google Cloud said Mayo Clinic is using a new service called Enterprise Search on Generative AI App Builder, which was introduced Tuesday. The tool effectively lets clients create their own chatbots using Google’s technology to scour mounds of disparate internal data.

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In health care, that means workers can interpret data such as a patient’s medical history, imaging records, genomics or labs more quickly and with a simple query, even if the information is stored across different formats and locations. Mayo Clinic, one of the top hospital systems in the U.S. with dozens of locations, is an early adopter of the technology for Google, which is trying to bolster the use of generative AI in the medical system.

“Mayo Clinic is a world leader in leveraging AI for good, and they are a critical partner as we identify responsible ways to bring this transformative technology to healthcare,” Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said in the release.

Generative AI has been the hottest topic in tech since late 2022, when Microsoft-backed OpenAI released the chatbot ChatGPT to the public. Google raced to catch up, rolling out its Bard AI chat service earlier this year and pushing to embed the underlying technology into as many products as possible. Health care is a particularly challenging industry, because there’s less room for incorrect answers or hallucinations, which occur when AI models fabricate information entirely.

Google said its approach to privacy ensures customers retain control over their data and noted the new service is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Google Cloud and Mayo Clinic signed a 10-year partnership in 2019. Mayo said at the time it selected Google Cloud to be the “cornerstone of its digital transformation.” The partnership announced Wednesday is the first step in an expanded agreement between the two companies to work together on AI applications in health care.

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