LAS VEGAS — Former Geisinger CEO David Feinberg offered a peek behind the curtain at Google Health on Monday at the HLTH conference, outlining areas for the tech behemoth to disrupt, including artificial intelligence in disease prediction and prevention and hospital administration.
The tech giant has invested in voice technology to help doctors and patients, methods to stop the spread of infectious diseases, and a plethora of AI projects across its divisions.
But, with regard to fixing the myriad problems plaguing the healthcare industry, Feinberg, who coordinates health initiatives across Google properties like Google Brain, Nest home automation and Google Fit, said in his keynote address "there's no way we can do this one alone."
The health executive left his role as CEO of Pennsylvania-based health system Geisinger nearly a year ago to helm Google's healthcare business following months of speculation he was actually departing for Google rival Amazon.
The search giant is fresh off a disappointing earnings quarter. Google parent Alphabet missed Wall Street's third quarter earnings expectations Monday, although Google Cloud made a strong showing.
The company's artificial intelligence business, Google DeepMind, announced earlier this year its technology could spot acute kidney disease two days before clinicians in a potential breakthrough for AI, although the application potential of the tech in diagnostics is unproven.
Google Health has now trained the tool to recognize 600,000 variables on 70,000 patients in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Feinberg touted a 90% accuracy rate in predicting which patients will end up on dialysis two days before clinical signs show up.
Verily, the life sciences unit of Alphabet, said in February its machine learning algorithm is being used to assess images for diabetic eye diseases at Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, India.
But Google has eyes on more than just the obvious applications for its technology. Feinberg said the company wants to be a part of the movement away from pricey inpatient care.
"We want to build services and products that take inpatients to outpatient. We think of hospitalization by and large as a failure of outpatient care and outpatient care is a failure of home care, and fundamentally home care is a failure of community care," Feinberg said. "We look forward to sharing with you ways you can move patients in that direction."
Google Health is developing products to free clinicians to spend more time with patients. Caregivers in the hospital are "simply becoming data clerks entering information," Feinberg said.
Another prong of this information-gathering initiative is providing clinicians with access to trustworthy, high-quality medical videos on Google-owned video site YouTube for reference prior to performing a surgery, for example.
But "that's really just scratching the surface because so much of health outcomes have to do with things other than your organs, your genome or professional caregivers," Feinberg said.
Google's been snapping up top healthcare officials to round out its teams. The search engine company hired ex-Obama administration official Karen DeSalvo as its first chief health officer earlier this month, a few weeks after it hired former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf to oversee strategy and policy across Verily and Google Health.