How Harvard Medical School helped Google strengthen its healthcare push

To gain a better understanding of the healthcare industry and how to help support patient and physicians' needs, Google partnered with Harvard Medical School in 2015 to develop and implement an education program for the technology giant's employees, according to the Financial Times.

The education program, which ran in 2015-16, allowed 40 Google employees, from executives to engineers, to collaborate with Harvard Medical School physicians. During the program, participants learned how clinicians interact with their patients, they listened to patients' experiences and struggles related to accessing information on treatments and clinical trials, and they observed physicians' frustrations with EHR usability.

The course helped Google define its strategy moving forward in healthcare, including hiring more physicians. Last July, the tech giant hired former Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, as executive adviser to Google Cloud Healthcare and Life Sciences team, and in November 2018, Google brought on former Geisinger Health CEO David Feinberg, MD, to lead Google Health.

The course model inspired Harvard Medical School to develop similar executive education with other companies, including health IT company Athenahealth as well as Takeda, a Japanese pharmaceutical company.

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