Google kidney app pilot moves forward despite regulatory spotlight


A pilot of a Google DeepMind kidney monitoring app with the National Health Service Royal Free Trust is moving forward despite reports it was halted now that it's fallen under regulatory scrutiny.

The software tool, Streams, is focused on detecting acute kidney injury and is being piloted by the Trust in London, a healthcare provider which encompasses the Royal Free Hospital, Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital, as well as clinics. A recent TechCrunch report declared the app was no longer being piloted, but that claim isn't true, according to a Business Insider article.

"We haven't stopped anything," a Trust spokesman told BI, adding no specifics or if further trial efforts are in the works.

The U.K. healthcare regulatory agency, MHRA, is in discussion with Google and the Trust, according to TechCrunch, on whether the app requires regulatory sanction. The Information Commissioners Office also is conducting an investigation, according to BI, which reports three user tests have been conducted.

The Streams app drew regulatory attention following news regarding the expansive data sharing deal between Google and the Trust, according to BI. Reportedly, DeepMind can tap 1.6 million patient medical records. There have been inquiries by both healthcare leaders and privacy advocates on the need for such access.

As FierceMobileHealthcare has reported, data sharing and user privacy are top concerns regarding mHealth technology. While U.S. consumers are willing to share some data, they want control over confidential data.

The DeepMind app pilot is just the latest in a stream of Google health initiatives in the past several years.

For more information:
- read the Business Insider article