Your weekly newsletter on health IT and digital health

Paddy Padmanabhan

Google and Apple – back to the future in healthcare

Monday, August 23, 2021

Issue 127

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This past week, healthcare tech markets were abuzz with the news of David Feinberg, Head of Google Health, departing to take up the CEO role at Cerner. A leaked internal memo, scooped by Business Insider, painted a gloomy picture inside Google. The Google Health division was disbanded, atomized, and the ashes scattered among different business units where they may remain buried forever. Google wasn’t alone in making news – another scoop by Business Insider revealed that Google’s big tech compadre Apple had retreated as well, declaring that it was “scaling back” (corporate-speak for terminating) a key project that was intended to be the pilot for an expanded presence in the healthcare services market.

There was no shortage of quips on social media on hearing the news. I asked the question: Is healthcare too hard for tech firms? Aaron Martin of Providence Health posted: “If you’re big tech and want to exit healthcare, this is the week to do it.” For good measure he added the hashtag #healthcareishard. My friend Sherri Douville, whose post on this went viral, summed it up thus: “If companies misunderstand evidence-based medicine, they have no business bringing technology into medicine at all (as opposed to consumer or administrative use). Glenn Tullman, arguably among the most successful digital health entrepreneurs out there, had this to say – “Big Tech was struggling in healthcare because patients’ problems are more about the overall experience than technology, per se.” Sam Rangaswamy was short and to the point: “This was Google’s second attempt. Maybe the third time will be a charm.”

Nick Patel, MD, Chief Digital Officer at Prisma Health, is not surprised that Google and Apple were scaling back. He said, “The multi trillion dollar healthcare industry is a hard nut to crack. There are too many complex variables to try to solve for, and the healthcare tech space is already too crowded. Each trying to solve for a tiny part of the overall tangled mess.”

So that leaves us with the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question: what’s going to happen with Amazon’s healthcare efforts?

Have a great week.

Featured Podcast

In this podcast, Paddy Padmanabhan discusses the evolving role of CIOs, telehealth reimbursement rates, and the role of consumerism in shaping healthcare experiences.

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This Week in Digital Health Markets

We are selectively featuring guest posts in our newsletter from senior leaders in healthcare and technology. Reach out to us if you would like to contribute a blog to one of our upcoming newsletters.

Google is dismantling its embattled health division as the tech giant reconsiders its strategy for healthcare

David Feinberg, who led Google’s ambitious and sometimes controversial push into healthcare, is leaving the search giant to become Cerner Corp.’s Chief Executive Officer. Business Insider

Cerner taps Google Health head Dr. David Feinberg as CEO, names new chair: 7 notes

Cerner named David Feinberg, MD, its president and CEO, effective Oct. 1, the Kansas City, Mo.-based EHR vendor announced. Becker’s Hospital Review

Google says health projects will continue—even if Google Health won’t

Google is unwinding its three-year-old Google Health division as it reorganizes health projects and teams across the company. Modern Healthcare

Verily makes its first major acquisition as it looks to transform clinical trials

Verily announced plans to make its first major acquisition by buying SignalPath, a North Carolina company which developed a clinical trial management platform. STAT News

Sponsored Content

Ransomware attacks can put a halt to a company’s operations and can affect multiple industries including healthcare systems. The aftermath of a ransomware attack is difficult to resolve as an organization tries to recover the network, income, and trust of its customers. Sponsored content by Paubox

Apple is scaling back a key health project that grew out of its care clinics, and some workers could lose their jobs

Apple is scaling back a key project in its health division, an app called HealthHabit that Apple employees can use to log fitness goals, manage hypertension, and talk to clinicians and coaches at AC Wellness, the doctors’ group that Apple works with. Business Insider

UnitedHealth-Change merger may be delayed, but not over

While M&A is happening at a furious pace among digital health companies, larger deals are getting scrutiny because of the scale of the impact. My thoughts in this article. Modern Healthcare

Why Do Chief Data Officers Have Such Short Tenures?

The title shouldn’t discourage CDOs (even the venerable HBR succumbs to the temptations of clickbait). The authors have provided a wealth of inputs on how CDOs are making an impact across organizations. HBR

HCA Healthcare to Sell PatientKeeper to Venture Firm General Catalyst’s Commure and Enter Into a New Strategic Collaboration

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading healthcare providers, and General Catalyst, a global venture capital firm, announces the sale of HCA Healthcare’s PatientKeeper to General Catalyst’s portfolio company Commure along with an investment in Commure and the formation of a new strategic collaboration to accelerate digital transformation. Globe Newswire


Enterprise Digital Transformation: The Geisinger Experience

Our CEO Paddy Padmanabhan and Geisinger EVP and CIO Karen Murphy to present best practices and learnings from how a large integrated health system is driving a multi-year digital transformation roadmap at HIMSS21. View the presentation here. Event Presentation

The Healthcare QualityCast: Unlocking the Healthcare Digital Transformation with Paddy Padmanabhan

In this podcast, our CEO Paddy Padmanabhan shares insights on the path in developing as an industry thought leader of healthcare technology strategies. He highlights how the pandemic has given digital technology strategies a much-needed boost across the industry. Podcast

Damo Consulting Thought Leadership and Research

The ‘giant sucking sound’ of digital health consolidation
The ongoing wave of mergers and acquisitions makes sense for startups and their VC backers. What does it mean for CIOs at their health system customers? Blog

The Digital Health Solution Selection Process
When health systems look for solution partners to execute their digital priorities, the decision process typically looks like this. Infographic

AI-enabled physicians: rethinking care delivery
While traditionally deeply skeptical of artificial intelligence in clinical settings, in today’s fast-changing care delivery landscape many physicians are thinking more proactively about how how AI can improve quality and patient experience. Blog

Corporate Announcements

Damo Consulting offers branding solutions for technology firms looking to gain visibility and access to healthcare executives and CXOs. Contact us now!
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