Google is known for finishing products, often in a very short time. After a recent reconfiguration of its health efforts, the company confirmed that it is discontinuing the Streams physician support app.
The app, which Google Health PR describes as a portable medical device, was developed in 2015 by DeepMind, one of the company’s artificial intelligence divisions.
The UK’s National Health Service used it in the years since, and the NHS Trust signed a number of deals with DeepMind Health to roll out Streams to doctors.
The Royal Free Hospital in London is still using the app in its hospitals. But not for much longer than that probably.
The company is going to kill the app and put it alongside the likes of its social network Google+ and internet balloon company Loon.
University College London confirmed it had cut ties with Google Health earlier this year. “Our agreement with Google Health (initially DeepMind) expired in March 2021 as originally planned,” she said. Google Health deleted all the data it kept at the end of Project Streams.
Imperial College Healthcare also said it stopped using Streams this summer (in July). She added that the patient’s data is in the process of being deleted.
A spokesperson said: ‘Following the decommissioning of Streams at the NHS Trust earlier this summer, data processed by Google Health to provide service to the NHS Trust is being deleted and the agreement is terminated.
In accordance with the Data Sharing Agreement, any patient data processed by Google Health to provide the Service is deleted. The deletion process begins once the agreement is terminated, as the contractual time frame for Google to delete patient data is six months.
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The Streams contracts that DeepMind signed with the NHS Trusts were for a period of five years. So these contracts are likely to be nearing the end of their terms.
The extension of the contract had to be agreed upon by both parties. Google’s decision to discontinue Streams may be a factor in the NHS Trusts’ lack of enthusiasm to continue using the programme.
The Streams app does not include any artificial intelligence. This is despite the fact that it was developed by the artificial intelligence department at Google.
The goal of the project was to find ways to integrate AI into Streams so that the app could create predictive healthcare alerts.
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Google stops doctors support app Streams
The algorithm in Streams warns clinicians of a patient’s risk of acute kidney injury. But it is based on the acute kidney injury algorithm developed by the NHS. So Streams digitizes existing practices and makes them portable.
As a result, it seemed odd that the AI department of a high-tech giant would be interested in building, providing, and sustaining long-term physician support programs.
DeepMind and the NHS Trust it worked with to develop Streams began with broader ambitions for their partnership, as detailed in an early 2016 memo, which outlined a five-year plan to bring AI to healthcare.
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Plus the company has been pushing for years, writing in 2019: Streams don’t use AI at the moment. But the team now intends to find ways to safely integrate predictive AI models into Streams to provide clinicians with intelligent insights into a patient’s deteriorating condition.
Information on millions of patients was passed to DeepMind during the development phase of Streams. Which may explain DeepMind’s enthusiasm for a project that it believed would provide free access to a rich source of patient data. This is to train AI systems for healthcare.
And DeepMind announced in 2018 that it was moving away from Streams. She handed over the app and all of its data to Google Health. It is Google’s internal division that focuses on health.