Collaboration to transform patient care has already resulted in enhanced radiotherapy delivery processes, development of an AI factory, and moving 10 million patient records to the cloud.
In a move that further cements the growing relationship between Mayo Clinic and Google, the Mountain View, California-based tech firm announced it is opening a permanent office in Mayo Clinic's hometown of Rochester, Minnesota.
Since forging a partnership in 2019, "We've been hard at work laying the technical groundwork for a lot of innovation, with security and privacy foundational to everything we do," said Cris Ross, MBA, chief information officer, Mayo Clinic, during a press briefing on Thursday. "Having this new space to facilitate our collaboration will really help us accelerate innovation and work towards a shared vision of a data-centric future, which we think can transform patient, care, and provider experiences and reduce the cost of care."
Google would not specify how many people would be hired to work at the new facility or how many square feet of office space has been leased in the historic Conley-Maass-Downs building in downtown Rochester. However, Chris Mueller, PhD, Rochester site lead and software engineer for Google Cloud, said "there will be a handful of Googlers working in the office when it opens." He said two divisions of the company would occupy the space, including Google Cloud services and Google Health. He characterized most of the talent as specialists in software engineering and artificial intelligence (AI).
Representatives from Mayo Clinic and Google discussed some of the accomplishments that have been achieved since the organizations began working together:
1. Completed Foundational Work and Moved 10 Million Records to the Cloud
Ross said that the organizations have spent the past year and a half completing foundational work related to storing and managing data in a private and secure manner, including moving 10 million patient records into the cloud. "That's been a really big deal—just building the core container for all this work."
2. Used AI to Enhance Radiotherapy Processes
In addition, the collaborators have been involved in an AI-machine learning initiative to improve the speed, accuracy, and quality of delivering radiotherapy to cancer patients, along with reducing the cost. "We're in the early stages of evaluating the effectiveness of the technology," said Ross, "but we're very encouraged."
3. Developed an AI Factory
Another accomplishment has been the development of an "AI factory" that enables innovators to progress "from an idea to a breakthrough more quickly in the past where they had to build all this infrastructure themselves," said Ross. An estimated 40 teams within Mayo have been trained on using the AI factory, he said. "They're beginning to apply these tools for other kinds of insights. We're not at the point yet where we can share what those clinical items are, but they're in a variety of different clinical settings with immediate applicability. We're excited as this pipeline begins to fill and as we can make more announcements."
Future Innovation Planned
Moving into the future, Joe Miles, MBA, managing director, Healthcare & Life Sciences Industries, Google Cloud, said the organizations are examining how to use AI and machine learning in a variety of therapeutic areas to accelerate processing bottlenecks and improve throughput. In addition, they hope to improve the patient experience and deliver faster, more accurate results.
"The power and insight that comes with being able to manage data in more sophisticated ways is pretty incredible," said Ross. In addition to the radiotherapy initiative and other research projects, Mayo Clinic hopes to develop ways to deliver more personalized care. By better understanding each patient's nuances, he said caregivers will "be able to deliver care in the terms in which the patient wants to receive it, because we have the ability to understand data in profound and new ways."
Google's new office is expected to open later this year, "once it is deemed safe to do so and in line with local and state COVID-19 guidelines," according to a news release. Beyond the impact the collaboration between Mayo Clinic and Google has had on healthcare, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Rochester Mayor Kim Norton, MPA, who also participated in the press briefing, said Google has had a significant impact on the state and city's economy. "In 2019, Google helped generate $7.29 billion of economic activity for 22,200 Minnesota businesses, publishers, nonprofits, creators, and developers, as well as $7.3 million of free advertising to Minnesota nonprofits through the Google Ad Grants program," according to the release.
“Having this new space to facilitate our collaboration will really help us accelerate innovation and work towards a shared vision of a data-centric future, which we think can transform patient, care, and provider experiences, and reduce the cost of care.”
Cris Ross, MBA, chief information officer, Mayo Clinic
Mandy Roth is the innovations editor at HealthLeaders.
Collaboration accelerates innovation and movement towards data-centric care delivery.
AI factory enables innovators to progress from an idea to a breakthrough more quickly.
AI and machine learning are expected to deliver insights to accelerate and deliver more personalized care, and improve the patient and clinician experience.