Skip to main content
Learn more about advertising with us.

In ambitious health data project, researchers happily trade ‘moonshots’ for day-to-day drudgery

Verily Life Sciences, formerly Google Life Sciences, is launching its initiative to collect information on 10,000 volunteers to create a baseline of health for the population. But, despite the scope of the project, those running it say they have their feet firmly planted on the ground and in reality.

Bloomberg: Google’s Health Moonshot Comes Back To Earth 
Opening on April 19, the study is called Baseline, as in a starting point for what healthy biometric data should look like. It’s the first serious public test for Verily Life Sciences, formerly Google Life Sciences. While Verily has separated from Google’s internet business within the Alphabet Inc. holding company, it’s taking a page from the playbook of its former parent, which aims to collect and organize information online. Verily wants to collect data from our bodies, using it to guide better health decisions. While that sounds ambitious, it’s much more modest than the missions Verily promoted when it was officially part of Google. Years ago, the biotech division promised projects such as glucose-monitoring contact lenses and all-in-one medical scanners; those remain in the lab. (Chen and Bergen, 4/19)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Google Verily Project Baseline: New Study To Predict How We Get Sick
In partnership with both Duke University School of Medicine and Stanford Medicine, the landmark study, part of its Project Baseline, aims to collect health data from 10,000 participants over the course of at least four years, the company announced in a news release Wednesday… Using physical and biochemical traits of the study population, researchers hope to better understand how people get sick, when they get sick and identify any additional risk factors and biomarkers leading up to disease, including diseases related to both cardiovascular disease and cancer. (Pirani, 4/19)

Jeff Merkley, now one of Oregon’s U.S. senators, remembered the difficulty his family had after his father had back surgery in the 1990s. Physicians wanted him moved to a care center from the hospital. But the state had no quality comparison that people could quickly search on a computer. “This is really hard on families,” Merkley said. “You have to make a decision right now and you don’t have any information. Why not?” A site eventually went online, but it lacks about 8,000 records, around 60 percent of all substantiated complaints. Merkley was stunned when The Oregonian/OregonLive told him in March that the site was far from complete. He had spent years in the Oregon House pressing for online records. (Terry, 4/19)

The Wall Street Journal: Cybersecurity Startup Tanium Exposed California Hospital’s Network In Demos Without Permission
For years, cybersecurity startup Tanium Inc. pitched its software by showing it working in the network of a hospital it said was a client, according to people familiar with the matter and videos of the demonstrations. That and other efforts helped the company grow quickly, notching a valuation of $3.5 billion and a big investment from Andreessen Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture firms. But Tanium never had permission to present the demos, the hospital said, meaning a company selling security actually was giving outsiders an unauthorized look at information from inside its customer’s system. (Winkler, 4/19)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.