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Google Cloud inks deal with Northwell Health but trails behind AWS, Microsoft

The news: New York-based health system Northwell Health tapped Google Cloud to improve patient experiences and provide predictive analytics for the health system, according to a Google press release.

  • Northwell Health will use Google’s tech to improve digital scheduling, automate payer interactions, and identify risk factors to improve with early interventions.
  • Google Cloud will become Northwell Health’s preferred cloud provider.

The problem: Long wait times make it difficult to get appointments with new physicians in populous cities. Better digital scheduling via Google’s platform could make care more equitable for health systems like Northwell.

Getting an in-person appointment with a specialist can typically take weeks (up to 61 days in states like Vermont, per a recent US News report). That wait time is likely even longer for patients who live in densely populated areas like New York City, where Northwell operates.

  • Adding more digital scheduling options could make it easier for patients to see available appointment times—especially if the only opportunity to make appointments over the phone is during business hours (when many people are working).
  • A lot of US adults (18%) say online scheduling is the most important criteria when selecting a healthcare provider, and many (21%) say it’s very important, per a 2021 Kyruus Patient Access Journey Report.

Zooming out: The partnership will help Google capture a larger market share. It trails significantly behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare.

Google only holds 8.4% of the $17.19 US healthcare cloud market, compared with AWS’ 24.3%, per Insider Intelligence’s estimates. But as more healthcare systems seek out cloud providers and patient data volume grows, Google could become an attractive option for major health systems.

  • That’s because divisions like Google Cloud’s Life Sciences (formerly Google Genomics) can help health systems process their data at scale.
  • The Life Sciences division already works with entrants like genomics company Color and Broad Institute (home to researchers at Harvard affiliated-hospitals) to analyze large volumes of genomic data in seconds rather than hours, for instance.