Google is shutting down its clinician support app Streams. TechCrunch reported the shutdown days after the news broke that Google is dismantling its health division.
The app allowed clinicians easier access patient info like vital signs, blood tests and imaging results. Streams had been used in the U.K.’s National Health Service, but TechCrunch reported nearly all NHS Trusts had stopped using the app prior to Google’s shutdown decision.
A Google Health representative confirmed to MobiHealthNews that Royal Free London continues to use Streams and “will do so for the near future.”
Google said the decision to decommission Streams was made before the reorganization at Google Health.
WHY IT MATTERS
Google is in the midst of a healthcare shakeup. Earlier this week, Insider reported the tech giant was overhauling its health division, sending initiatives that were once housed under the Google Health umbrella to more general areas. For instance, Google’s health artificial intelligence group will now report to the head of search and AI.
Google Health’s vice president Dr. David Feinberg announced last week he was stepping down from his post to serve as EHR vendor Cerner’s president and CEO.
In June, Google moved more than 130 of its health employees to its search and Fitbit divisions.
THE LARGER TREND
The Streams app was originally developed in 2015 by DeepMind, an AI division acquired by Google in 2014. DeepMind’s health team was shifted to Google Health in 2019.
TechCrunch notes that, despite being developed by an AI division, the Streams app itself didn’t actually involve AI. The app used an algorithm developed by the NHS to alert clinicians to acute kidney injury at earlier stages. The Royal Free London, an NHS Trust that still uses Streams, would also be nearing the end of the five-year partnership with DeepMind it entered in 2016.
Though Google has shaken up its health efforts, the company has still been pushing into the health and fitness space. Earlier this year, Google finally completed its $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit, which had been held up by regulatory complications.
In February, Google announced Care Studio, a tool for clinicians to help them more easily search through health records. In December, the company launched a research app that would streamline clinical trial recruitment and show study participants how their data was being used.
Google said it made the decision to focus on one clinical tool, Care Studio, going forward. The tool is currently being piloted at hospitals in the U.S., but could expand to new partners in the future.
Editor’s note: The article has been updated to clarify that the decision to decommission Streams was made prior to the recent organizational changes at Google Health.