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  • Lloyd Price

Project Baseline : How Google hopes to transform Medicine

What is the purpose of Project Baseline?

Project Baseline is the quest to collect comprehensive health data and use it as a map and compass, pointing the way to disease prevention.

The purpose is to uncover new information about health and disease; analyze how genes, lifestyle, and other factors influence health; measure health diversity among a large sample of the population in order to determine "normal" or expected measures of health, which can be used as reference points in the future; identify biomarkers, or warning signs, that predict future onset of disease; and test and develop new tools and technologies to access, organize, and analyze health information.

The first step in Project Baseline is to collect information from a diverse group of people and monitor how it changes over time. Then we'll compile that data into a digital platform (like Google Maps for health), develop powerful tools to search and analyze data within the platform, and grant access to qualified researchers. Our unique partnership between academia, medicine, and technology equips us to do all this with incredible depth, breadth, and quality. In particular, our partnership with Google empowers us to leverage machine learning, data analytics, and more. We may also launch other initiatives and expand to other countries in the future. Thereafter, the possibilities are wide-ranging—from finding a cure for cancer to being able to predict and prevent heart attacks. With your involvement, those possibilities can become realities.

How will 10,000 people be selected?

To make a complete map of human health, we need data that is representative of the population. Therefore, we are selecting a sample of people with diverse ages, ethnicities, geographic locations, health histories, and other demographic and medical information using an algorithm. If you are not invited to participate, it likely means that we have already met our requirements for people of your age, location, health status, etc., or that we do not yet have a study site open near you.

Project Baseline study dataset will include clinical, molecular, imaging, self-reported, behavioral, environmental, sensor and other health-related measurements.

The field of medicine is ever-evolving, and the hope is that recent advances in technology will continue to spur the next generation of medical discoveries. At Verily, we have been focused on creating new tools to collect and organize information in ways previously not possible so that we can make the information useful. These initiatives, we believe, may chart a course towards the ultimate goal of improving human health. Our aim with Project Baseline is to contribute meaningfully to these efforts and to scientific research more broadly. The Project Baseline study will collect a comprehensive set of health information both within and outside the four walls of a clinic. Within the clinic, a broad group of participants - including those who are exceptionally healthy, at-risk of disease, and with overt disease - will be providing deep data on a diverse set of measurements with repeat sampling over the course of four years. To bridge these encounters, we have also developed tools such as the investigational Study Watchand the Baseline mobile app to allow participants to provide more continuous insights throughout their everyday lives. That means the Project Baseline study dataset will include clinical, molecular, imaging, self-reported, behavioral, environmental, sensor and other health-related measurements. To organize this information, we are creating an infrastructure that can process multi-dimensional health data – much of which have never been combined for an individual. Our vision is that this data platform can serve as a single query source and may be used for more seamless data integration and collaboration. We recognize that we cannot achieve this vision in a silo. Teams across Verily have united around the Project Baseline study, and we work closely with Duke University School of Medicine and Stanford Medicine, as well as other partners from academia, medicine, science, patient-advocacy, engineering and design. In the future, the intent is to make de-identified data from the Project Baseline study available to qualified researchers to spur new ideas across the broad ecosystem. Importantly, the participants are at the center of this study. They will serve as active collaborators alongside the rest of the Project Baseline study team and have the option to receive certain health data and test results to share with a doctor. The Project Baseline study is therefore a united effort to map human health. To achieve this goal, we are creating a new set of tools for medical discovery, with the aspiration that these tools and others from the broader community will pave the way for rich real-world insights, and potentially one day add to the way care is delivered.

Privacy and Data Protection

The information you provide will be stored in a secure, encrypted database with restricted access. Members of the Baseline Team who need to contact you, such as staff at the study site, will have access to directly identifying information (your name, street address, phone number, and email). Otherwise, we'll remove this information and replace it with a code number before granting access to external researchers and organizations for research. Please see our Privacy Policy for full details.

We think it's important to return as much of your information as possible in an ethical, responsible manner and in a format that is interesting and understandable. This may include laboratory tests (such as glucose metabolism), clinical assessments (such as blood pressure), imaging (such as a chest x-ray), and survey data (such as mood or diet). In the future, we may also share with you summarized research outcomes from across the study population. However, please note that research is not the same as medical care. You should not expect to get medical care or advice. If you have questions regarding your data, we encourage you to share it with your primary care or other doctor.

While Google provides the computing, analytics, and data handling power, Google will not sell your information for advertising. All your information will be stored in a secure, encrypted database with restricted access. Read more about Google’s approach to privacy here open_in_new.

We hope that Project Baseline is not only a successful scientific and medical endeavor, but also a rewarding experience for you in a variety of ways, such as: You will have access to certain lab results and data from health tests, surveys, and diaries, as well as updates. You will be part of the dedicated group of people working on our mission, with opportunities to shape the Baseline community over time. Above all, you will be helping to steer the direction of healthcare. Your involvement matters, and we hope you are as excited as we are to take action and tackle the challenge of preventing disease for future generations.


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