Google to bring on Geisinger’s CEO to direct its healthcare efforts

Geisinger President and CEO David Feinberg plans to step down from the health system to take charge of the healthcare efforts at Google, according to reports.

The health system, which services more than 1.5 million patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey across 13 hospital campuses, confirmed that Feinberg would leave the company Jan. 3, 2019. Geisinger’s executive VP and chief medical officer, Jaewon Ryu, M.D., will take over as interim president and CEO starting Dec. 1, before a monthlong transition period.

According to CNBC, Feinberg would report to Google’s artificial intelligence head, Jeff Dean, while working closely with CEO Sundar Pichai to develop a cohesive strategy for Google’s various health and health-adjacent enterprises, including through home automation and wearables.

His role may not include responsibility for the work being done at Google’s wider parent conglomerate, Alphabet, which counts the life science research companies Calico and Verily under its umbrella.

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During Feinberg’s tenure at Geisinger over the past four years, the health system pursued several programs to integrate big data, electronic health records and genomics into its care, including through collaborations with pharmaceutical companies.

A five-year project with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, launched in 2014 before Feinberg took the helm, aims to sequence 100,000 patient volunteers to find genetic links to diseases. In 2016, it found that the life-threatening genetic disorder familial hypercholesterolemia is both underdiagnosed and undertreated.

Geisinger has also been working with Merck & Co. on two EHR programs designed to boost medication adherence, reduce drug errors and help connect patients and providers, and it has been in talks with health IT companies to roll them out to a larger marketplace.

As Geisinger’s CMO, Ryu has overseen all aspects of patient care, the health system said, and helped lead initiatives including the redesign of its primary care model and implementation of its at-home care program. He previously served as president of integrated care delivery at Humana, and currently serves as a commission member for the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission known as MedPAC.