Google Parent Company to Open Treatment Center in Dayton, Ohio

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Alphabet Inc., the multinational conglomerate that both was established by and currently owns Google.com, has announced that they will be establishing an opioid treatment center in Dayton, Ohio. While this could be good news for a community that is still deeply in the midst of an opioid epidemic, the recent revelations about data collection by Google and other digital tech companies raise questions about the new treatment center.

The effort, dubbed OneFifteen, will be headed by Andy Conrad, Ph.D. (pictured above) and housed in a new “tech enabled campus.” It will be an initiative of Verily, the development wing of Alphabet that deals with life sciences. The new facility was announced Wednesday in a blog post on the company website. The post points out the alarming statistics regarding opioid abuse and the intent of this new campus to treat these problems. It also explicitly notes that one of the biggest challenges to healthcare is a severe lack of data, most notably the data gaps. While this is undoubtedly accurate, there are many concerns with greater data aggregation.

In recent years, data companies have proven themselves to be at best wildly irresponsible and at worst explicitly malicious in aggregating and then selling the personal data of individuals. The notion of this kind of overreach coming to the healthcare industry is deeply troubling. A study, commissioned by the US Institute of Medicine, discussing the opportunities and dangers of data collection in healthcare stated:

Increasingly, people are at the whim of not only pressure groups, but also large organizations – direct marketers, the credit bureaus, the government, and the entire information economy – that view individuals as nothing but lifeless data floating like microscopic entities in vast electronic chambers, data that exists [sic] to be captured, examined, collated, and sold, regardless of the individual’s desire to choose what should be concealed and what should be made public.

OneFifteen specifically states that they “are setting out to create a ‘learning health system’ that aims to address this critical information gap in addiction medicine.”

The facility is slated to be completed in 2020.

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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to aashirley1809@gmail.com.
Photo “Andy Conrad” by Verily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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