Google, Bayer team up to develop new AI products for radiologists

Healthcare company Bayer has tapped Google for its cloud and artificial intelligence capabilities to build new tech products to assist radiologists.

Bayer wants to pair its radiology, healthcare regulator and clinical data handling expertise with Google's tech muscle and ongoing work in generative AI to speed up innovation in medical imaging, according to the companies.

The new Bayer innovation platform will help organizations build AI-powered apps to support radiologists and help ease their workloads.

The collaboration, announced Tuesday at Google Cloud Next, will lean on Google Cloud's technology, including its generative AI (gen AI) tools such as Vertex AI, BigQuery, Healthcare API and Chronicle.

Bayer's platform is designed to help bring innovative medical imaging tools to market faster and more cost-effectively, the companies said.

Bayer plans to make a first version of the platform available for extended testing later this year in the EU and the U.S.

Medical imaging data account for about 90% of all healthcare data, representing highly complex clinical data that are often critical tools used to diagnose patients.

Billions of medical images get scanned globally each year, and this number continues to grow, increasing the workload for radiologists and other healthcare professionals tasked with handling and interpreting these images for clinicians and patients. 

Organizations are turning to AI tools to efficiently handle and analyze this massive volume of data.

The collaboration aims to help organizations overcome the challenges to build scalable and compliant AI-powered medical imaging software products, Bayer and Google executives said.

"Radiology plays a vital role in healthcare, and the need to efficiently and accurately uncover insights and deliver solutions at scale that can improve patient outcomes has never been greater," said Nelson Ambrogio, president of radiology at Bayer, in a statement. "Bayer has a heritage in radiology with decades of contributions to radiological research and innovation. Through the collaboration with Google Cloud, our joint efforts will help organizations in the healthcare and life science industry transform the growing amounts of data into valuable and impactful insights, saving radiologists time and helping them optimize their important work for the benefit of patients."

Radiologists and other clinicians face burnout due to the sheer volume of work they face, according to Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud.

"Gen AI can help tackle repetitive tasks and provide insights into massive data sets, saving valuable time and helping to positively impact patient outcomes," Kurian said.

Through Bayer's cloud-native platform, users will have access to capabilities to analyze and experiment, such as AI-powered data analysis as well as intelligent search and data preparation capabilities to help design healthcare solutions.

Users also can explore and extract information from regulations and scientific papers, all within a collaboration platform with data security capabilities, the companies said.

Developers will also be able to scale and engineer solutions using gen AI assistance for ideation, development, validation and life cycle management; generate documents in alignment with healthcare requirements to aid in gaining regulatory approval; and leverage medical imaging core lab services from Bayer for clinical performance evaluation.

Through the platform, healthcare and life science companies will be able to deploy gen AI medical solutions standardized for integration across compatible healthcare systems and analyze field data for insights, bias detection and continuous improvement.

Google Cloud stressed its data security, compliance and privacy controls. Its security capabilities, such as those from Chronicle and Mandiant, can help customers centrally manage, monitor and govern their data.

Google Cloud's customers retain control over their data. In healthcare settings, access and use of patient data is protected through the implementation of Google Cloud's infrastructure and data storage that support Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and General Data Protection Regulation compliance, along with each customer's security and privacy controls, the company said.