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Google Introduces Generative AI Search Capabilities for Medical Professionals

Dahlia Arnold

Oct 9, 2023

Google Introduces Generative AI Search Capabilities for Medical Professionals

Key Points:

Vertex AI Search features for healthcare and life sciences

  • Find accurate clinical information more efficiently.

  • Ask questions of the patient record.

  • Use gen AI for search over enterprise data.

  • Support HIPAA compliance.

Benefits of using Vertex AI Search features for healthcare and life sciences

  • Improve efficiencies.

  • Provide clinical decision support.

  • Increase the quality of care clinicians can give patients.

  • Alleviate some of the administrative burdens and serve as an assistive technology to clinicians and other healthcare workers.


Google Cloud has unveiled new AI-powered search features aimed at enabling medical professionals to efficiently retrieve information from diverse data sources. With medical data often scattered across various systems and formats, this tool aims to centralize information access.

These features will be made available to health and life sciences organizations through Google’s Vertex AI Search platform. The objective is to conserve the time and effort of healthcare workers. The search tool is designed to pull data from clinical notes, scanned documents, and electronic health records, offering a consolidated view of the information.

Lisa O’Malley, the senior director of product management for Cloud AI at Google Cloud, mentioned that this should streamline the information search process for clinicians. For example, doctors can now query, "What medications has this patient taken in the last 12 months?" and receive a consolidated answer.

Additionally, these search capabilities have broader applications such as facilitating accurate billing codes or determining patient eligibility for clinical trials. An added feature is the technology's ability to reference and link back to the original data source, addressing concerns about the AI producing inaccurate outputs.

The introduction of this search tool comes at a time when healthcare workers face significant clerical duties. A 2016 American Medical Association-funded study showed physicians spend two hours on administrative tasks for every hour of patient care. Furthermore, a 2022 Medscape survey indicated that 53% of physicians felt burned out, an increase from 42% in 2018. Google's aim with these offerings is to reduce the administrative burden on clinicians.

The Vertex AI Search platform also supports searches across public websites, documents, and various databases in other industries. This healthcare-specific feature expands upon Google’s existing Healthcare API and Healthcare Data Engine products.

Aashima Gupta, global director of health care strategy and solutions at Google Cloud, emphasized the importance of seamlessly integrating the tool into clinicians' workflows. Recognizing the healthcare industry's cautious approach to new technology, Gupta stated that Google is dedicated to ensuring that their solutions augment current workflows without adding complexity.

Several health organizations, including Mayo Clinic, Hackensack Meridian Health, and Highmark Health, have been collaborating with Google Cloud to test these capabilities. Mayo Clinic's Chief Information Officer, Cris Ross, highlighted the institution's gradual approach, beginning with administrative applications before considering clinical implementations.

Highmark Health’s Chief Analytics Officer, Richard Clarke, shared that the initial feedback has been positive, yet highlighted the challenge of scaling the technology and building trust in its applications.

Google Cloud has clarified that they do not access or use customer data to refine their models. Moreover, the new service adheres to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations.

Concluding on an optimistic note, Gupta shared her vision for AI-enhanced healthcare, highlighting the potential of such tools to simplify the patient experience by connecting various informational dots.

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