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HIPAA debate sparked over Google / Ascension partnership

 With healthcare moving rapidly into the digital world, the way in which health records are stored is drastically changing. The recent announcement that Google would be partnering with Ascension, one of the leading non-profit and Catholic health systems in the U.S., has sparked debate over HIPAA regulations.

 In a report by the Wall Street Journal stated that “Project Nightengale” would allow Google. to acquire the health records of Ascension patients from 21 states without consent from the individuals. Some claim that this would be a violation of HIPAA regulations.


Ascension in a recent article on their website claims that Google will not have access to this information. This would also fall under the HIPAA regulation allowing business associates access to data if it is a function of providing care, and the business associate does not use the data for any other purpose.

Google also recently addressed the concerns about the partnership, clarifying what they are doing and speaking to concerns that had been reported previously. Both partners claim that this partnership will protect patients information, while greatly improving the way that it is stored and accessed by medical professionals. 

Read Ascension statement here: Technology that improves patients’ lives, caregivers’ experience

Read Google’s statement here: Tools to help healthcare providers deliver better care

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