Google unveils MedLM, a family of healthcare-focused generative AI models

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Google continues to advance its generative AI models designed specifically for healthcare use cases. This week, the tech giant unveiled MedLM, a family of foundation models designed for healthcare industry use cases and available through Google Cloud.

Google’s work on generative AI models in healthcare has advanced rapidly since it rolled out Med-PaLM, a large language model designed to provide answers to medical questions, just a year ago.

The company developed two models under MedLM, built on Med-PaLM 2. The first MedLM model is larger, designed for complex tasks. The second is a medium model, able to be fine-tuned and best for scaling across tasks, according to the company in a blog post. Its first two models are now available to U.S. Google Cloud customers via the company’s Vertex AI platform.

“In the coming months, we’re planning to bring Gemini-based models into the MedLM suite to offer even more capabilities,” wrote Yossi Matias, vice president of engineering and research at Google and Aashima Gupta, global director, healthcare strategy and solutions at Google Cloud in the blog post.

Gemini is Google’s newest large language model as a competitor to OpenAI and Microsoft’s GPT-4.

Google says it has been working with companies to test MedLM and those companies are now moving it into production in their solutions, or broadening their testing.

For the past several months, HCA Healthcare has been piloting a solution to help physicians with their medical notes in four emergency department hospital sites. Physicians use an app developed by tech company Augmedix on a hands-free device to create accurate medical notes from clinician-patient conversations.

Augmedix, which developed technology for ambient medical documentation, was piloting Google Cloud’s Med-PaLM 2 and will now integrate MedLM into its technology stack.

“Generative AI solutions for use in healthcare delivery require a more tailored and precise approach than general purpose LLMs, which is why we value our strategic partnership with Google Cloud,” Ian Shakil, Augmedix founder, director, and chief strategy officer said. “Google Cloud has established its leadership as an AI innovator with solutions specifically designed to address the needs of healthcare providers.”

Augmedix uses Google Cloud’s Vertex AI platform to fine-tune some models using training data created by the company’s existing technology, which generates 70,000 notes per week and spans more than 30 specialties.

The company anticipates that integrating MedLM into its ambient medical documentation products will improve the quality of medical note output and provide faster turnaround time. Augmedix also plans to rapidly expand into more sub-specialties through 2024.

BenchSci, a company that uses AI to hasten drug discovery, is integrating MedLM into its ASCEND platform to further improve the speed and quality of pre-clinical research and development.

Google also is working with Deloitte to use generative AI to improve provider search and Accenture to leverage the tech to improve patient access, experience and outcomes.