Verily taps Tesla CFO as it looks innovate in value-based care

Deepak Ahuja takes over the CFO position from Duncan Welstead, who will continue to oversee the company’s financial operations but report to Ahuja. (Pixabay)

Google’s life science-focused sister company, Verily, has brought on a new chief financial officer from outside of healthcare, as it builds out its partnerships and projects with regional institutions.

Deepak Ahuja—who formerly served as the CFO of the electric car manufacturer Tesla, including during its IPO, after holding financial roles at Ford—joined the Alphabet company saying the two industries share similar opportunities for innovation.

“The healthcare industry, much like the transportation industry when I first joined Tesla, is on the cusp of a new wave of transformation,” Ahuja said. “The combination of very diverse skill sets and vertical integration of innovative technologies puts Verily in a unique position to deliver on the shared goals of many: better, less expensive care for many people."

Last month, Verily announced separate partnerships with Wake Forest Baptist Health and Emory Healthcare focused on using tech solutions to boost patient outcomes, operational efficiencies and the use of value-based care.

At Wake Forest Baptist, Verily will focus on maintaining the autonomy of aging adults and providing remote access to care. Their research partnership will test interventions aimed at both physical and cognitive independence.

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Emory Healthcare and its academic medical center, meanwhile, will work with Verily to analyze medication and laboratory test ordering patterns, and pursue organizational changes to identify cost-saving opportunities.

“As the U.S. healthcare system buckles under rising costs and static outcomes, the move to value-based care is a bright, if challenging, path forward to transforming our industry,” said Verily CEO Andy Conrad in a company blog post. “Our work to contribute to this changing landscape will be greatly served by Deepak’s leadership and experience with driving innovation in legacy industries.”

Ahuja takes over the CFO position from Duncan Welstead, who helped Verily raise $1.8 billion in capital from institutional investors. Welstead will continue to oversee the company’s financial operations, but will report to Ahuja, Conrad said.

But that’s not the company’s only new hire: According to a report from CNBC, Verily has also brought on the former chief technology officer of Helix, Scott Burke, to head up its software work. It also tapped Vindell Washington, a former national coordinator for health information technology, to be chief clinical officer of its platforms business. 

“From our very early days as a small team of biologists and engineers, our vision for what is now Verily was expansive,” said Conrad. “We believed that if we connected the world of sensors and clinical research with sophisticated computing infrastructure and activated those insights for people with user-friendly platforms, we could improve outcomes and move value-based care forward.”

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