Google taps Geisinger CEO David Feinberg for healthcare post, names interim chief

Geisinger Health System's CEO David Feinberg, M.D., is leaving a health system that serves 1.5 million people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to lead Google's healthcare initiatives.

Geisinger announced on Thursday evening it appointed Jaewon Ryu, M.D., J.D., to become its interim president and CEO starting Dec. 1. Ryu has served as executive vice president and chief medical officer since September 2016.

CNBC reported that Feinberg is expected to help organize Google's "fragmented health initiatives," which overlap among its different business groups. Google's forays into healthcare have included products such as Google Fit and Google Nest. It also has its life sciences spinout Verily and has backed biotechs like Calico. 

Jaewon Ryu (Geisinger)

Under Feinberg's leadership, Geisinger began the shift toward value- and community-based care and led the launch of innovative programs such as the launch earlier this year of a program to make genomic sequencing a routine part of care. The health system has also had a number of partnerships with industry to tackle digital health.

RELATED: Geisinger officials explain the business case for making DNA sequencing 'routine'

Feinberg had been rumored as one of the top candidates to lead the Amazon-JP Morgan-Berkshire Hathaway health venture. Feinberg issued a statement in June saying he was committed to staying at Geisinger and the group ultimately hired well-known physician and writer Atul Gawande, M.D., for the post.

"Together, we have improved patient and member experience, along with our quality of care, employee engagement and physician and nurse recruitment, and our legacy of innovation has blossomed," Feinberg said in a statement. "I know that I am leaving Geisinger in capable hands as the leadership team continues to advance Geisinger's important mission of taking care of the people we serve." 

According to a statement, Ryu has overseen all aspects of patient care at Geisinger and led multiple signature initiatives, including the redesign of Geisinger's primary care model and the successful implementation of the Geisinger At Home program. 

RELATED: Can providers help patients by partnering with pharma on digital health? Geisinger says yes

He formerly held leadership roles at Kaiser-Permanente, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and as a White House Fellow at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ryu currently serves as a Commission Member for The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent congressional agency advising the U.S. Congress on issues affecting the Medicare program.