At Google Health, we’re always thinking about how we can make our tools most useful for clinicians. This includes Care Studio, our clinical software that harmonizes healthcare data from different sources to give clinicians a comprehensive view of a patient’s records.
Today, at the ViVE Conference in Miami Beach, we previewed Conditions, a new Care Studio feature that helps clinicians make even better sense of patient records.
Instant insights for clinicians
Getting a holistic summary of a patient’s medical history can be challenging as key clinical insights are often buried in unstructured notes and data silos. With Conditions, we use our deep understanding of data to provide a quick and concise summary of a patient’s medical conditions along with critical context from clinical notes. Conditions are organized by acuity, so a clinician can quickly determine if a patient’s condition is acute or chronic.
We also provide easy access to information related to a condition — including labs, medications, reports, specialist notes and more — to help clinicians manage and treat a condition. So if a clinician clicks on a condition, like diabetes, they may see blood sugar levels, insulin administrations, endocrinology consult notes and retinopathy screening studies. And if critical information is missing, we will highlight its absence from the chart. For example, we’d flag if standard labs for a patient with diabetes are missing, like hemoglobin A1c results. With these resources, a clinician can quickly understand a new patient’s medical history or easily review an existing patient’s insulin regimen before their appointment.
Bringing natural language processing to medical data
Healthcare data is structured in numerous ways, making it difficult to organize. Clinical notes may be written differently and stored across different systems. Clinician notes also differ based on if content is meant for clinical decision making, billing or regulatory uses. Further, when it comes to writing notes, clinicians use different abbreviations or acronyms depending on their personal preference, what health system they’re a part of, their region and other factors. All of this has made it difficult to synthesize clinical data — until now.
The Conditions feature works by algorithmically understanding medical concepts from notes that may be written in incomplete sentences, shorthand or with misspelled words. We use Google’s advances in AI in an area called natural language processing (NLP) to understand the actual context in which a condition is mentioned and map these concepts to a vocabulary of tens of thousands of medical conditions. For example: One clinician might write “multiple sclerosis exacerbation” while another might document the same problem as “MS flare”. Care Studio is able to recognize that these different terms are linked to the same condition, and supported by the same evidence.
Similarly, Care Studio understands that the statement “Patient has a history of dm”, means that diabetes mellitus (dm) is present. And for the statement “Pneumonia is not likely at this time”, pneumonia is absent.
Care Studio then ranks each condition to determine its importance using various factors — such as the condition itself, its frequency, recency and more — to elevate the most important conditions to the top. Finally, based on input from medical specialists and clinicians on the Google team, Care Studio organizes conditions to support clinical thinking and decision making. For instance, acute conditions are highlighted, and related conditions are presented next to each other.
Healthcare data is complex, and clinicians often have to manually sift through information to make sense of a patient’s conditions. We’re excited to bring this feature to clinicians in the coming months so they can instantly access the information they need all in one place to provide better care.