Google's partnership with the University of Chicago in a medical data project had also come under heavy criticism recently.
Google would not comment if it would conduct research with the data, and people familiar with the project said workers are still going through Ascension's collections and do not know what might be produced.
The multi-billion-dollar health care industry has always been on the radar for Google - and now the tech behemoth is in it in a big way. But the report alleges that the data supplied by Ascension is sourced from the health records of millions of Americans spread across 21 states.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the company has teamed up with Ascension, the second largest healthcare services company in the country, for a project that is being code-named Nightingale.
Google seems to be correct that the partnership doesn't violate HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
Google announced a partnership with a large USA health care system aimed at modernizing its information system and providing new tools for doctors, in the tech giant's latest foray into the health industry.
Google's relationship with Ascension dates back a year and is fully compliant with all federal laws, especially the HIPAA privacy law, Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley said in a video.
Google Cloud President Tariq Shaukat said in the release that the company's goal for health care is centered on "ultimately improving outcomes, reducing costs, and saving lives".
It's no secret that Google has lofty ambitions about entering the health care industry.
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With the purchase of Fitbit, Google accessed a huge database on user health.
The news will trigger yet more concern about privacy issues concerning the search engine giant.
The Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services is opening an inquiry into Project Nightingale, an initiative that collects patient information from millions of Americans.
In a blog post concerning today's news, Google looked to clarify exactly what the deal would entail, following concern that the company was gaining access to personal health records.
Google said it is providing its standard G Suite productivity tools to Ascension and that it's doing custom work for the company.
Health care providers are increasingly interested in using data to help manage care and keep patients healthy.
According to the Wall Street Journal report, some Ascension employees questioned the way the information was being collected and shared. "Google does not sell, share or otherwise combine data from Ascension with any other data".
The partnership will give Google access to datasets that could help it tune its potentially lucrative artificial intelligence tools.