Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Through its partnerships with health care providers, Google can view tens of millions of patient records in at least three-quarters of states, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Some of these partnerships allow Google to access identifiable information about patients without their or their doctors' knowledge, raising fears about how this data may be used.

Details: Google is developing a new search tool — designed to be used by doctors, nurses and potentially patients — that stores and analyzes patient information on its servers.

  • The company and some health systems say argue that data-sharing can improve patient outcomes.
  • Google says its health endeavors aren't connected with its advertising business.

Intermountain Healthcare has a deal that gives Google access to patients' records, similar to Google's deal with Ascension.

  • Google announced a partnership with the Mayo Clinic in September, and although Mayo officials said then that patient data would remain private and unidentifiable, the contract permits Mayo to share personally identifiable health data in the future.

Go deeper: Google develops AI system that outperforms radiologists in detecting breast cancer

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