Google is making its Care Studio offering even better with the addition of Conditions, a new Care Studio feature that helps clinicians make even better sense of patient records. Announced at the ViVE Conference in Miami Beach, Conditions aims to provide a holistic summary of a patient’s medical history, relying on key clinical insights that are often buried in unstructured notes and data silos.
How does it work?
With Conditions, Google uses its 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.
The feature also provides 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, the software will highlight its absence from the chart. For example, if standard labs for a patient with diabetes are missing, like hemoglobin A1c results, a flag will appear. 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.
The Conditions can also process and understand unstructured healthcare data coming from clinical notes — which tend to use different abbreviations or acronyms depending on the clinician’s personal preference. 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. For this, the feature relies on 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.
The Conditions feature will be available for clinicians in the coming months so they can instantly access the information they need all in one place to provide better care.
The Care Studio was launched in February 2021 and is a part of Google’s bigger healthcare push that spans various units within Google as well as its venture arms (GV and Capital G) and Verily. Also, the search giant has struck a few partnerships across the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.