Mayo Clinic faucets Boston well being tech chief to information information technique

On the heels of forming a brand new partnership with Google (GOOGL), Mayo Clinic introduced it has employed Dr. John Halamka — a Harvard professor and hospital IT veteran — to information its efforts to use synthetic intelligence to huge shops of information from sufferers and gadgets.

Halamka will depart Beth Israel Lahey Well being in Boston to grow to be president of the Mayo Clinic platform, a unified information repository the Minnesota-based well being system is creating to develop new analytics capabilities and digital companies. His appointment will take impact Jan. 1.

The rent underscores Mayo’s eagerness to faucet into the alternatives provided by AI and the exploding digital well being trade, and its consciousness that doing so carries loads of dangers.


Halamka, who served within the Obama and George W. Bush administrations, informed STAT his aim is to create a form of information “innovation manufacturing facility” at Mayo whereas updating privateness and safety protocols to mirror the trendy age of wearables and cloud analytics. He stated Mayo is searching for to harness information to construct companies in three areas: in-home well being care companies to allow extra distant care; digital diagnostics to watch and reply to well being issues; and scientific analytics to personalize and enhance remedy of a spread of circumstances.

“In fact, that’s a tough factor to do, with a whole lot of transferring elements,” Halamka stated. “It’s a must to determine forward of time, what are moral makes use of of information? The place is consent required? How do you de-identify (information)? And the place is information aggregated and for what objective?”

In latest weeks, some hospitals and their companions — Google and Ascension, for instance — have courted controversy for failing to publicly tackle these kinds of questions earlier than coming into into partnerships on affected person information.

The uproar over such offers underscores for a lot of consultants that HIPAA, the federal affected person privateness legislation enacted in 1996, is verging on obsolescence, with hospitals now sharing private well being info with large corporations whose dimension and attain was not foreseeable within the mid ‘90s.

Halamka, who’s an advocate for storing information within the cloud, stated a core a part of Mayo’s work will contain working with Google to benefit from its safety capabilities and machine-learning instruments. However he emphasised affected person information might be saved in a Mayo-controlled setting, with Google solely allowed entry to de-identified info to help particular tasks.

Nonetheless, the amount and breadth of that information, from good watches and telephones, digital well being information, genetic assessments, and medical gadgets, pose a spread of thorny dilemmas that Mayo and different well being programs should reply earlier than plowing forward.

“It’s a must to strategy a venture like this with nice humility,” he stated. “We’re going to need to ask questions like, Is there such a factor as a de-identified genome? The place can we use an algorithm that isn’t FDA-approved software program as a medical gadget however helps you keep nicely? These usually are not black and white questions.”

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