David Feinberg, vice president of Google Health, will become CEO and president of the electronic health records company Cerner in October, taking over the current CEO Brent Shafer, Cerner announced on Thursday.
Feinberg had previously led Google’s health initiatives since 2018 in a role created when he was hired.
Feinberg’s departure from Google suggests the search giant may rethink its ambitions to develop new products in its Google Health division to break into the multi-trillion-dollar healthcare technology market.
“The real pressure is, ‘Will this really help millions of people?'” Feinberg said at a conference in June. “Is it google scale? That’s the pressure.”
“Google is a firm believer in the power of technology to improve health and wellbeing, and we have increased our investment in health across the company,” the company said. “We are grateful for David’s guidance and direction over the past few years to accelerate our health efforts and wish him the best.” The company has not announced new leadership for the Google Health group, but ongoing efforts continue.
The company continues to research other health technologies across various divisions of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, including through Google Cloud partnerships with medical companies. In February 2020, Google Health had over 500 employees and Feinberg reported to Jeff Dean, Google’s head of artificial intelligence, CNBC reported at the time.
Feinberg also said at the time that his bosses at Google had not put him under pressure because of the income from the health team.
At Google, a project that Feinberg was working on was the partnership with Apple to develop Covid-19 tracing software. While apps based on the system are widespread, it hasn’t been a major factor in tracking coronavirus outbreaks. He also talked about using YouTube to provide reliable information to doctors and other nurses.
Feinberg said in June that another major focus is Care Studio, a partnership with Ascension to organize electronic health records.
Now he heads Cerner, one of the largest electronic health record providers and a company that focuses almost entirely on software for healthcare professionals rather than being a division of an IT giant. Feinberg is a doctor and has an MBA. Prior to Google, he ran Geisinger, a healthcare provider, and was CEO of UCLA hospitals, Cerner said in the announcement.
Cerner’s announcement concludes a CEO search that officially began earlier this year. Cerner’s current president, Donald Trigg, will leave the company, it said in a statement.
Cerner stock rose about 0.5% on the hourly news and more than 1% in the first half.