Google shines more light on its healthcare strategy after recent org changes

The news: Google pulled the curtain back on a mobile app version of its electronic health record (EHR) search tool, Care Studio.

  • Clinicians can use the app to view physician notes, lab results, and check on a patient's progress from their phone.
  • The app has a search engine (similar to Google’s Search bar) that enables doctors to enter a patient's name and pull up a summary of data from different EHRs.

How we got here: This news arrives shortly after Google shuttered its dedicated health division Google Health, at which time it revealed its instead baking its health capabilities into its existing businesses.

In August, Insider reported Google dismantled its health division shortly after its VP David Feinberg resigned to accept a position as CEO and president of EHR giant Cerner.

  • It’s planning to integrate health features into its already successful tools, like offering the ability to find a provider through Google Maps.

Google’s new healthcare strategy will allow it to reach more consumers than it did with its dedicated healthcare business alone:

  • Weaving healthcare capabilities into its existing platforms can help Google reach billions of people to help them navigate their care journey, per Google execs’ statements at the recent HLTH 2021 conference.

The trend: Google’s healthcare features largely focus on alleviating provider admin burdens.

For context, physicians are spending more time than ever in the EHR due to increased patient messages, exacerbating admin-related burnout and leaving less time for patient care:

  • Nearly 79% of doctors said their burnout began prior to the pandemic, which considerably worsened over the last year, per Medscape’s National Physician Burnout and Suicide Report 2021.
  • Specifically, around 58% of providers say too many bureaucratic tasks are worsening their burnout levels.
  • And physicians are increasingly considering leaving their field: 1 in 10 consider their burnout severe enough to consider leaving medicine, according to Medscape’s report.

As a result, Big Tech companies like Google are realizing there’s a lot of untapped opportunity to manage provider burnout:

  • Besides its Care Studio app, Google Cloud recently unveiled a new Healthcare Data Engine, which uses AI to give providers a more holistic view of patient records to enable quicker decision-making and reduce burnout.
  • Mayo Clinic is already using the cloud-based Healthcare Data Engine to help providers analyze EHR data.