In the tech companies arms race for Mayo Clinic, Google comes out on top

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — In a battle to secure the rights to store Mayo Clinic’s health data, the Google Cloud has emerged as the winner.

The two companies announced the partnership Tuesday, with multiple tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Google each vying for a chance to strike an agreement with the nation’s leading hospital system, Mayo Clinic.

A wide view of the Mayo Clinic campus in Rochester, Minnesota.

Mayo and Google are entering into a 10-year deal, working together to put themselves on the cutting edge of technology and healthcare.

“As we grow our data needs, we have all of our medical record information, but then we have millions of images, scans, videos that take an extraordinary amount of storage. For us to build all of that would become very expensive and difficult to maintain,” said Dr. Steve Peters, the Mayo Clinic Chief Medical Information Officer.

As part of Mayo Clinic’s digital transformation, it will post data in the Google Cloud and have Google engineers help to store Mayo’s data, but the partnership also encompasses more than just data storage.

Mayo Clinic, Rochester
Dr. Steve Peters, Mayo Clinic Chief Medical Information Officer, describes Mayo’s decision to partner with Google.

“This is certainly intended to keep us at the cutting edge, using technology to further healthcare. That doesn’t detract from anything we do with our medical practice, our surgeries. But the ability to reach patients beyond our walls, to reach them digitally, to have tele-medicine, electronic types of visits, to extend worldwide literally, would require new technologies and you need to participate in this and be at the front edge, to keep up with the changes that are coming,” continued Peters.

Mayo says it will also make it easier for their doctors to access records and empower staff members to solve complex medical problems, while anticipating the needs of the people they serve.

Mayo Clinic, Rochester
Mayo Clinic campus buildings in Rochester, Minnesota.

“We have used some of the Cloud services of all the major vendors. It was a thorough and detailed review of all their capabilities. We feel the Cloud, that the server and the technology will be outstanding, but also that Google has cutting edge in leading technology that can also help us with some more of the digital advances,” said Peters.

Dr. Peters told KTTC this was a big decision for Mayo to make, because of the importance placed on cyber-security and patient privacy. Peters confirmed that patient records will be kept in a separate system and not part of Google’s search engine database and advertising efforts.

Mayo Clinic, Rochester
Mayo Clinic is ranked #1 among best hospitals in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

“Security of course in this day and age is a terribly important problem. We spend literally tens of millions of dollars on security, internal at Mayo Clinic and we feel we’ve been prepared and fortunate with all the threats that are out there. Google of course, because of it being their core business, can spend 10 times that much and their Cloud, their servers are as secure as any can be,” explained Peters.

With this Partnership, Google has committed to opening up an office in Rochester and the immediate plan is to bring in its own developers and engineers to work out of the office.

Peters says it’s unclear when exactly that will take place or where the google office will be located, but did say the actual process of moving over all of the data to the cloud could take several years.

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