Accelerating Deployment of the Google Cloud Healthcare API

Earlier this year, Google released its Cloud Healthcare API to the general public in order to help researchers, developers, and data scientists make use of often siloed and disconnected healthcare data. 

The Cloud Healthcare API—which is designed to help solve interoperability issues — utilizes the most common healthcare data formats, including FHIR, HL7v2, and DICOM. It enables secure and compliant data exchange between disparate health IT systems and the cloud. Health and life science organizations can then seamlessly use that data in analytics, machine learning, AI tools, and customer applications on Google Cloud.

Today, we’ll discuss Onix’s work with Google Cloud to simplify deployment of this transformational tool.

How the Google Cloud Healthcare API Enables Interoperability

ER patientProviding data exchange between the advanced tools available in the cloud and fragmented healthcare data sources is as important as ever to make sure clinicians and patients have the information they need to make informed decisions. The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified the need for a real-time unified view of healthcare data.

Providing data exchange between the advanced tools available in the cloud and fragmented healthcare data sources is as important as ever to make sure clinicians and patients have the information they need to make informed decisions.

In order to accelerate adoption of the Cloud Healthcare API and its ability to ingest disparate data formats, Google chose Onix—a Google Premier Partner with a dedicated Health & Life Sciences division—as its partner to develop a guide for configuring and scaling the Cloud Healthcare API.

How We Ran the Experiment with Synthetic FHIR Data

Before beginning the experiment, we had to gain access to high-quality, realistic patient data — a challenge that every health IT developer faces when building and testing applications. To overcome this issue, our team leveraged MITRE’s open-source Synthea synthetic patient population simulation. Synthea outputs synthetic, realistic (but not real) patient data and associated health records in the most common data formats (FHIR, HL7v2, and DICOM). By leveraging Synthea, we were able to conduct experiments on the Cloud Healthcare API without having to rely on any real patient’s data. 

Once the testing and benchmarking is complete, Onix will release its documented experience so that developers and data scientists at healthcare organizations and software vendors can build on our learnings. These developers and researchers will have a proven, repeatable, and scalable process that they can use to get up to speed quickly and efficiently when preparing the Cloud Healthcare API for their own use cases. 

Next Steps: Application to Easily Generate Synthetic FHIR Data

researchLooking to the future, Onix will release an application that will allow users to automate the process of spinning up a GCP environment and configuring and generating FHIR-standard synthetic patient test datasets. The application will make it easy for researchers and developers to use MITRE’s Synthea synthetic patient population simulation to validate and test applications—such as the Cloud Healthcare API—without having to use live patient data. We plan to make the application available in the GCP Marketplace.

With the unveiling of the interoperability rules from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the need for secure data exchange is abundantly clear.

The Cloud Healthcare API represents Google’s commitment to making these rules real, practical, and attainable. Through developing and sharing best practices for the Cloud Healthcare API, Onix and Google Cloud are helping to solve interoperability in healthcare.

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Meet the Author

Matt Bolden, Sr. Solutions Marketing Manager

Matt Bolden, Sr. Solutions Marketing Manager

Matt is passionate about empowering health and life science organizations to focus on their important work with cloud technology solutions and services. As a marketer, he especially enjoys telling the success stories of researchers and providers using the cloud to make real impacts on health outcomes. On weekends, you can often find Matt working on community ventures with neighbors or making too much pasta.

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