Google hires former FDA digital health leader

Google has hired a former Food and Drug Administration leader as its new senior director of global digital health strategy. Bakul Patel spent more than a decade with the FDA and most recently served as the Chief Digital Health Officer of Global Strategy and Innovation.

“I look forward to learning from the health teams at Google and Alphabet and helping build a unified digital health and regulatory strategy,” he wrote in a statement. Linkedin message Monday the announcement of the move.

Like all major tech companies, Google has moved forward in healthcare and healthcare in recent years, with mixed results. The ambitions range from mining big data for algorithms to developing disease detection tools to pumping up wearables full of health features. But its strategy has gone through some upheaval: the company dissolved its Google Health division in August 2021 and spread its employees across several initiatives. The head of the department left the company.

Patel is only the latest to step into the new revolving door between Alphabet and federal regulators. Current FDA Commissioner Robert Califf is a former senior advisor to Alphabet. And Google’s chief health officer, Karen DeSalvo, is the former director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.


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