Google hires Geisinger CEO to lead healthcare initiatives

Change in Leadership at Geisinger

It's not known how Feinberg will work with other Alphabet companies that are already doing work in health care, including Verily, its life sciences research and development group; and DeepMind, another group focused on artificial intelligence.

Google has not yet laid out a clear manifesto for what it hopes to achieve in the healthcare space, although tapping an MD and care delivery expert to lead its initiatives may indicate that more patient-facing initiatives are on the table.

David Feinberg, MD, CEO and president of Danville, Pa. -based Geisinger Health System, will take on a newly created healthcare role at Google, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"I know that I am leaving Geisinger in capable hands as the leadership team continues to advance Geisinger's important mission of taking care of the people we serve", Feinberg said. Geisinger's executive VP and chief medical officer, Jaewon Ryu, M.D., will take over as interim president and CEO starting December 1, before a monthlong transition period.

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The new Google leadership position is expected to direct the company's initiatives targeting health care, from web services to machine learning to devices.

On Friday, Google AI senior fellow Jeff Dean tweeted about Feinberg's new role at the tech giant. "I'm looking forward to his help in using AI to improve healthcare globally!" wrote Dean.

David Feinberg has both medical and business degrees. Prior to that, he served as CEO of UCLA's health system. Ryu is a practicing emergency medicine physician and an attorney. A unit of Google's parent company also hired former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf past year.

Google is an active participant in the healthcare big data and interoperability ecosystem, with an interest in FHIR and APIs. Feinberg took himself out of the running this summer to be considered CEO of the healthcare venture launched by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase. That role ultimately went to Dr. Atul Gawande.

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