According to Google Chief Health Officer Karen DeSalvo, MD, the tech giant’s latest healthcare reorganization is a response to lessons gained from the COVID-19 pandemic, when the company produced tools for contact tracing, movement tracking, and other clinical and hospital uses.
- Announcement: In 2019, DeSalvo, a physician, and former Obama administration official joined Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Last month, Google announced the demise of its Google Health division, following the departure of its CEO, David Feinberg, MD, who joined Cerner, an EHR company based in Kansas City, Mo. Feinberg’s mission was to bring them together and commercialize them, pushing Google further into a market where competitors such as Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. were already present.
- Initiatives: The company had several initiatives in the industry, ranging from electronic medical records to illness detection studies. The Google Health label will remain to incorporate all of Google’s work in health and wellness, a company spokesperson told Becker’s on Aug. 23. Teams under Dr. Feinberg’s guidance will continue under a new structure.
- Strategy: Google’s new strategy is an effort to embed healthcare research and initiatives into its core products, such as Google Search and YouTube, rather than launching new commercial services, Dr. DeSalvo said. “That work doesn’t happen in one unit,” she said. “It doesn’t really leverage or take advantage of the opportunities to meet people in the moment, where they are.”
- Features: The rearrangement, according to Dr. DeSalvo is due to Google’s work during the epidemic when the corporation released features for contact tracing and population mobility tracking. Rather than creating new commercial services, Google’s new strategy is to integrate healthcare research and projects into its core businesses, such as Google Search and YouTube, according to Dr. DeSalvo.
- Free advertisement: DeSalvo mentioned Google’s work in providing free advertising space to the World Health Organization, which has served 1.7 billion Covid-19-related messages this year, according to the company. According to Dr. DeSalvo, Google’s purchase of Fitbit and growing collaborations with hospitals and health systems for its cloud technologies bolster the company’s restructuring efforts.