Google this week unveiled a project in partnership with the World Health Organization designed to provide technology support to software developers in low- and middle-income countries looking to build digital health applications.
The tech giant is working on an open-source software development kit that could be used to build mobile apps that help frontline healthcare workers treat patients when internet connectivity is unstable and more easily share data. health data, according to a blog post a Google Health product manager and Android software engineer released Wednesday.
The kit is designed to help developers build apps on the Android mobile operating system that provide healthcare professionals with decision support tools and aggregate patient data, which is often spread across several different apps. .
The SDK includes application components such as data access and research tools, so developers can more easily build digital health applications. Android apps created using the kit will be able to run offline by storing and processing data locally in cases where connectivity is unreliable.
“The [software developer kit] reduces the time and effort required to build [Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources]-interoperable Android-based digital health applications, maximizing the efforts of local developers and unlocking their potential to meet the needs of their community, âthe blog read.
Google plans to release the SDK in the coming months.
Already, WHO is using the SDK to develop a clinical decision support application that healthcare workers would use in emergency situations. The app, dubbed EmCare, suggests evidence-based recommendations to healthcare workers treating patients based on existing WHO guidelines.
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Clinical decision support is a significant area of ââinterest in healthcare, with companies selling such tools raising $ 1.5 billion in venture capital in the first nine months of 2021, according to Modern. Healthcare’s Business and digital health technology.
Google’s SDK will use the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources format, better known as FHIR, a popular data sharing standard. FHIR, which is used by developers internationally, is the data sharing format mandated in the accompanying rules that the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology and Centers for Medicare Services and Department of Health and Human Services Medicaid released last year.
Standardizing data against FHIR makes it easier to share information between applications, as long as all applications use FHIR.
Patient data stored on apps created using the SDK is encrypted and will not be shared with Google, according to the blog post.
In recent months, Google has sought to prove that it isn’t giving up on healthcare as it unwinds its Google Health division and distributes projects across the company. Last week Google announced doctors who have requested a Google Business profile will be able to specify what health insurance they accept and what languages ââare spoken in their offices, so people can see this information when they search for a doctor on Google.