Google Dismantling Health Division – Forbes

Google Dismantling Health Division Forbes

According to an internal memo obtained by Insider, an initiative to consolidate various healthcare initiatives within Google is shutting down. 

This news comes a few days after healthcare IT company Cerner announced Google Health lead David Feinberg was joining its company as president and CEO.

Feinberg joined Google in 2018 to lead the initiative of organizing Google’s fragmented health initiatives, which at the time overlapped throughout different businesses. The reincarnation of Google Health also hoped to further offer AI and other new technologies to traditional healthcare systems to better digitalize their processes. 

It appears that the future of Google Health will look like the past: Jeff Dean, the Senior VP of Google’s Research and Health efforts, said the unit will no longer operate as a unified organization. Instead, a group constructing a health records search platform for physicians will report directly to him.

This is while Google’s AI-focused healthcare initiatives will report to Yossi Matias, the VP of Search and AI for Google. Karen DeSalvo, Google’s Chief Health Officer, will now report to Kent Walker, Google’s Chief Legal Officer. DeSalvo offered guidance on regulatory and clinical matters for the Google Health team. 

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Dean hired Feinberg after a months-long search, which was followed by an unfortunate series of events for the Google Health team. A partnership between Google and healthcare system Ascension received scrutiny from the Senate, raising concerns about privacy. Despite the promise of closer collaboration between all of Google’s health care businesses, Alphabet’s Verily unit and Google Cloud continued to build their own healthcare-focused products. 

Insider reported in June that the company shuffled 130 employees from health-focused initiatives to its Fitbit and Search divisions. This shuffle came as many healthcare industry professionals believed the search giant was refocusing its healthcare initiatives on consumer products, like FitBit’s health trackers. 

The division is not to be confused with a personal health record platform launched by Google. The vision for the product was to create a vast repository of healthcare data and information that would help both patients and doctors, but that product was shut down in 2012.