Google researchers learn from Harvard Medical School in new executive education program

An executive education program at Boston-based Harvard Medical School provides Google researchers a more nuanced understanding of healthcare and the physician-patient relationship.

The researchers take courses at Harvard focused on trying to explain how physicians think. By having a better understanding of these thought processes, the hope is for the Google researchers to create better tools and resources for healthcare.

"I don't think our intention is to teach them to be doctors, but they do have the capacity to influence healthcare in extraordinary ways," said David Roberts, Harvard Medical School's dean for external education, in a news report from Harvard Medical School. "Understanding and appreciating both the provider and the patient experience is key to developing solutions that really impact and improve the healthcare system."

According to the report, the goals of Google and Harvard, and the medicine and technology sectors in general, are perfectly aligned. Prem Ramaswami, a senior product manager for Google who focuses on health search, said the growth of personal health awareness is a driver in Google's interest in this intersection of health and technology.

"All the big technology companies are attempting to do really interesting and innovative things in this space, all with the same end goal: to help us live healthier, happier and longer," Mr. Ramaswami said in the report.

The HMS executive education program has Google researchers attend weeklong sessions in Boston, and then there is a shorter program at Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. The program launched last fall.

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