A breakdown of Google Health in 2021: 15 things leading up to division's dismantling  

Google has begun dissolving its health division as it looks to split its healthcare projects and teams across several areas of the company, Insider reported Aug. 20. 

The move comes as Google Health's chief, David Feinberg, MD, announced he would be joining Kansas City, Mo.-based EHR company Cerner in October as its new president and CEO. 

Here are 15 things to know about Google Health's business strategy and partnerships in 2021 so far, based on reports from Becker's Hospital Review

Leadership and strategy 

1. Google said Aug. 19 that it's dissolving hundreds of employees in its health division into existing divisions.

2. Dr. Feinberg, the vice president of Google Health, left the company after three years as its lead for the CEO position at Cerner, the company said Aug. 19.

3. Google Health had 700 employees but began moving more than 130 employees into other areas of the company, including Search and the newly acquired Fitbit group, Insider reported June 17.

4. Dr. Feinberg said at The Wall Street Journal's June 9 health tech conference that Google Health isn't concerned if its health venture can turn a profit. He said the division is focused on global impact and that even though the ventures are expensive, revenue is an afterthought.

5. In June, Google had an active job listing for the director's chief of staff at Google Health. The executive would work with Google's chief health officer to ensure operational success and strategy.

6. Google Health hired Charles DeShazer, MD, in March to be its director of clinical products. Dr. DeShazer previously served as the CMO at health insurer Highmark. At Google, his role will focus on the development of Care Studio, Google's EHR search tool pilot program.

Google partnerships with healthcare players 

7.  Researchers from Google Health, Naval Medical Center San Diego and The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine in July developed an artificial intelligence model to predict breast cancer status and understand tumors better for treatment. 

8. HCA Healthcare inked a multiyear collaboration with Google Cloud in May focused on building a health data analytics platform to support the Nashville, Tenn.-based system's clinical and operational workflows.

9. In April, Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center joined the pilot of Google's Care Studio EHR search tool. 

10. Google announced plans to open its first office in Minnesota as part of its ongoing health partnership with Rochester-based Mayo Clinic, which the tech giant teamed up with in September 2019. The 10-year partnership focuses on cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence work to advance the health system's healthcare innovation and virtual care initiatives. 

11. Google and St. Louis-based Ascension in February continued the collaboration they began in 2018 by rolling out a tool, dubbed Care Studio, to help clinicians better organize and search for patient information.

Google healthcare projects 

12. Verily, the healthcare and life sciences sister company of Google, said Aug. 5 it plans to launch a new AI research and development center in Israel. The center will focus on using AI to address issues and inefficiencies facing the medical field, with Verily picking up some of Google Health's projects, including the company's initiative exploring the use of AI in colorectal cancer screenings. 

13. YouTube launched an initiative to combat health misinformation, which had three main focuses: removing misinformation, reducing its spread and promoting credible sources of health information, it told Becker's in July. YouTube partnered with several leading healthcare providers to help populate its platform with credible health information, including Cleveland Clinic, Mass General Brigham, Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic, Stanford (Calif.) Medicine, and Kaiser Family Foundation. YouTube said it was moving away from a paternalistic approach to health information and toward a focus on patient engagement. 

14.  Google in April entered the early stages of a new project aiming to explore and develop a consumer-facing health records tool for Android users. Google did not directly partner with any healthcare organizations on the project, which could support the development of a medical records tool similar to Apple's Health Records app, according to STAT. 

15. Google paid $2.1 billion to acquire Fitbit, solidifying its advances to improve wearables. The deal was first announced Nov. 19 and concluded Jan. 14.


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