Google shrinks health team; reassigns 130 workers: 5 things to know

Google is moving more than 130 employees within its health division into other areas of the company including Search and the newly-acquired Fitbit group, according to a June 17 Insider report. 

The changes are aimed at improving Google Health's effects and execution speed, David Feinberg, MD, head of Google Health, said in a May 5 email seen by Insider. The restructuring will also support Google's expanded focus on health and wellness. 

"We brought together some teams to combine expertise, and focus our efforts on health and wellness," a Google Health spokesperson said in a statement to Insider. "Google Health will continue to build products for clinicians, conduct research to improve care and make people healthier, and to help ensure all health-related projects at Google meet the highest standards."

Five things to know: 

1. Google acquired Fitbit for $2.1 billion in January; the health wearables device company will absorb the Google Health teams working on health sensors and personal health records as well as some of its business development leaders, Insider reported. 

2. In March, Google Health had about 700 people working on research, imaging, clinical tools, health sensors and more. As of this week, that number dropped to almost 570, according to internal data obtained by Insider

3. The remaining Google Health employees have been consolidated into three teams: one is focused on work with clinicians through Google Health's EHR search tool Care Studio, which is being piloted at St. Louis-based Ascension and Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.   

4. The second new Google Health team is dubbed Health AI and will lead innovation in health and medical imaging. The group will focus on Google's genomics work and tool for screening diabetic retinopathy with an algorithm. 

5. Google Health's third group is joined by clinicians from Fitbit and Google Fit and will handle regulatory, clinical and health equity matters at Google Health and across the broader community. 


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