Software developer

Google, WHO partner on software development kit

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 apps.

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 information. health data, according to a blog post about a Google Health product. Android manager and software engineer released on Wednesday.

The kit is designed to help developers create apps on the Android mobile operating system that provide healthcare professionals with decision support tools and bring together patient data, which is often spread across several different apps. .

The SDK includes application components such as data access and search tools, so developers can more easily create 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 for construction [Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources]interoperable Android-based digital health applications, maximizing the efforts of local developers and unleashing their potential to meet the needs of their community,” reads the blog post.

Google plans to release the SDK in the coming months.

Already, the WHO is using the software development kit to develop a clinical decision support application that healthcare workers would use in emergency situations. The app, dubbed EmCare, offers evidence-based recommendations for healthcare workers treating patients based on existing WHO guidelines.

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Clinical decision support is a significant area of ​​focus in healthcare, with companies selling such tools raising $1.5 billion in venture capital funding in the first nine months of 2021, according to Modern Healthcare’s Digital Health Business & Technology.

Google’s software development kit 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 Health Information Technology Coordinator of the Department of Health and Social Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published last year.

Normalizing 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 it isn’t abandoning healthcare as it rolls out its Google Health division and distributes projects across the company. Last week, Google announced that doctors who have claimed a Google Business profile will be able to specify what health insurance they accept and what languages ​​are spoken in their offices, so people can see that information when they search for a doctor on Google.