US Senators question Ascension on patient data sharing with Google

The US Senators Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal, and Bill Cassidy issued a letter to the health system giant, Ascension, to seek a clarity on the company’s information sharing partnership with Google, known as Project Nightingale. The letter is a follow-up to the letter that the senators sent in November 2019 to Google. The senators said that the response letter from Google did not answer questions regarding Ascension’s involvement. In November 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported about Project Nightingale that started in August 2018. Through this partnership, Ascension reportedly outsourced the management of personal health information of patients to Google. Although senators acknowledged that improving the sharing, accessibility, and searchability of health data for providers is highly likely to improve health care, they explained that ‘the role of Google in developing such a tool warrants scrutiny’.