Google is following the health care sector on a large scale, but Google’s vice president of health said he is feeling more pressure to get its health products up to Google size than to provide the company with instant revenue.
David Feinberg, who joined Google two years ago in a newly created role as VP of Health, said several times on Wednesday that he is feeling the pressure to scale products but that revenue is not part of most of his discussions with Google higher UPS.
“The real pressure is, ‘is this really going to help millions of people?'” Feinberg said at the Wall Street Journal Health Tech virtual conference on Wednesday. “Is it google scale? That’s the pressure.”
However, there is no doubt that the company has a legitimate interest in healthcare across multiple lines of business. For example, Google Cloud works with HCA Healthcare, a Tennessee-based healthcare provider, to develop algorithms based on patient records to improve efficiency and patient outcomes.
The company hired an Obama administration official, Karen DeSalvo, to join the company in 2019. She led the company’s Covid-19 efforts and recently announced the company is helping develop a device that uses AI to detect skin conditions.
Feinberg, who helped Apple with exposure notification for Covid-19, said the big product the company is focusing on is Care Studio, its partnership with Ascension aimed at organizing electronic health records for healthcare professionals.
Feinberg said it could scale health products, including Google’s massive Android user base.
“Yes, there is even more pressure to have a global impact and when I say global impact we are not talking about revenue, we are talking about doing this diabetic retinopathy screening in India and Thailand and how we are expanding that to the rest ” of the world. We can use Android phones to help people with pregnancy or gestational age, or to read an X-ray, ”he said.
“How do we get that around the world? That’s the pressure, ”he continued. “It’s a lot of pressure. In some of our areas we think about sales pressure, but I would say that would come very later in the discussions. ”
Feinberg said two things are needed to be able to scale its products: partnerships and public trust.
The company is facing an uphill battle against misinformation on sites like YouTube, thanks to its data-driven advertising business model, as well as widespread suspicion about the use of customer data. (Advertising still accounts for more than 80% of Alphabet’s total sales.) Feinberg said the best way he combats misinformation online is with “authoritative” information – a strategy that YouTube uses in the face of backlash to display early Retained vaccine and Covid-19 misinformation.
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