Google has agreed to a five-year deal with one of the largest NHS trusts to handle the medical records of up to 1.6million people.
The tech giant’s secretive DeepMind health business will use the data to help develop a mobile app they claim could save 10,000 lives a year.
In 2017 it will launch a warning system for acute kidney problems and blood poisoning at three London hospitals, although its ‘Streams’ app will also include test results, medical history, and an instant messaging service.
But it is hugely controversial because the Royal Free London NHS Trust has agreed that DeepMind needs to be given all patient data to make it work.
This is believed to include patients’ names, ages, and complete medical histories, including whether they had been diagnosed with HIV, depression, suffered from drug or alcohol addiction or had an abortion.
New deal: The app, called ‘Streams’, pictured at the Royal Free in London, has been developed by Google’s secretive artificial intelligence arm DeepMind, who are using 1.6m medical records to make it work
Google’s DeepMind business will use the data to help develop the Streams app (pictured) for doctors, nurses and other staff, who will have access to medical histories and test results
It emerged this year that neither the trust nor Google needed to ask patients’ permission beforehand because the NHS is obliged to pass on some anonymous medical information if it is intended for research purposes to improve care. Patients can opt out online.
Experts are ‘worried’ the tech giant has been handed a ‘free pass’ to work in the NHS and its data.
The app, called ‘Streams’, has been developed by Google’s secretive artificial intelligence arm DeepMind, whose co-founder Mustafa Suleyman says they only charging the NHS ‘modest fee’ for its services.