Why university medical researchers, physicians are jumping ship to big tech

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Stanford University has been competing with Silicon Valley technology companies to keep medical researchers, according to STAT.

Like many other universities, Stanford has partnerships with various tech giants, including Google and Apple. However, these partnerships have resulted in some researchers and physicians leaving their university positions to work for the technology companies.

Sumbul Desai, MD, and Lauren Cheung, MD, helped Stanford launch an institute aimed at developing digital health tools. The two went on to depart Stanford for Apple in 2017. A similar situation happened with a pediatric endocrinologist at Stanford who leveraged Apple software to develop a diabetes monitoring tool. Soon after, he left for Apple, STAT reports.

Stanford isn't the only university or hospital losing talent to big tech. At Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital a top cardiologist jumped shipped to Amazon in 2018. Boston-based Harvard has also seen a cardiologist venture to Verily, Google's life science unit.

To keep physicians and talent at Stanford, the university has developed new policies, including allowing researchers to return after time away.

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