Google Cloud announced this week that its Healthcare Consent Management API, aimed at giving users a simple way to manage individuals’ consent over health data use, is now generally available.
The API was made available via Public Preview last fall. According to the tech giant, early adopters have used it to create personalized patient portals, securely integrate data into clinical workflows and develop virtual clinical trials.
“We’re pleased to add the Healthcare Consent Management API to our portfolio of solutions, and to support healthcare and life sciences professionals as healthcare data begins to span a variety of devices, scenarios, and locations,” wrote Google Cloud Healthcare and Life Sciences Product Manager Jameson Rogers in a blog post.
WHY IT MATTERS
Healthcare organizations have increasingly pivoted to virtual care and remote trials during the COVID-19 pandemic. The trend makes secure ways to manage patient consent increasingly important.
As Rogers explains, the API supports incorporation of digital health data into patient care and research while helping to satisfy privacy and consent frameworks.
He offered a number of examples for the flow of consent and privacy information, including:
- Administrators within an organization configure a unique instance of the Healthcare Consent Management API with the privacy concepts and terminology that their organization uses.
- When a provider or researcher application offers privacy options to a user, the application creates or revises a corresponding consent record within the Healthcare Consent Management API to reflect that user’s selected option.
- As applications write data to their datastores, those applications inform the organization’s Healthcare Consent Management API instance about the relevant privacy characteristics of that data.
- When providers, researchers or their applications need to determine whether data can be accessed for a particular purpose, a query is sent to the Healthcare Consent Management API, which determines if there is a valid consent record permitting that access.
“The Healthcare Consent Management API adds to Google Cloud’s efforts to bring innovative technologies to the healthcare and life sciences industries – particularly in data security, privacy and interoperability,” said Rogers.
THE LARGER TREND
As Rogers noted, Google Cloud has made a number of forays into the healthcare industry in recent months. This past April, it announced the launch of its Healthcare API, designed to enable standardized data exchange between healthcare applications and solutions built on Google Cloud.
That was followed by AI tools in November to help with the analysis of unstructured medical text, and a Healthcare Interoperability Readiness Program that same month aimed at healthcare organizations preparing for the implementation of 21st Century Cures Act regulations.
ON THE RECORD
“The explosion of rich data generated by devices such as glucose monitors, wearables and other sources have emphasized the importance of patient consent and privacy, as patients and caregivers look to safely incorporate data from more sources into their care plans,” said Rogers.