5 health IT executives to watch in 2020

Five healthcare technology leaders worth watching in 2020. (Pressmaster/Shutterstock)

As healthcare becomes more technology-driven, digital health and IT leaders will be the key executives to watch.

Some of these influential technology leaders are pushing forward with artificial intelligence, data analytics and telehealth capabilities to improve patient care. Others are bringing in technology expertise from outside healthcare to help make the industry more consumer-centric or tackle the complex issue of interoperability.

And everyone is keeping an eye on the big tech giants and their next moves in healthcare. Haven, the technology-driven healthcare venture lead by Amazon, JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway, has built a team with some of the brightest in healthcare technology including Zocdoc’s Serkan Kutan and Blue Cross Blue Shield IT leader Dana Safran Gelb.


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Here are five healthcare technology leaders we’re keeping an eye on in 2020. Think we missed someone? Find me on Twitter at @HeatherLandi.

A headshot of John Halamka
John Halamka (Mayo Clinic)

John Halamka, M.D., president of Mayo Clinic Platform

Health IT pioneer and digital health leader John Halamka is leaving his post at Beth Israel Lahey Health after 23 years to move over to Mayo Clinic starting Jan. 1. He will be leading digital health strategy at the Rochester, Minnesota-based academic medical center as president of Mayo Clinic Platform. 

Halamka refers to the Mayo Clinic Platform as an “innovation factory” for collaboration. He’ll lead initiatives that encompass artificial intelligence, the internet of things and an ecosystem of partners to advance Mayo’s digital health efforts. Mayo is in the midst of a “digital transformation” supported by a new 10-year partnership with Google to move patient data over to the tech giant's cloud platform.

Halamka will play a key role in this partnership to advanced cloud computing, AI and data analytics to advance the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

head shot photo of Angela Yochem
Angela Yochem (Novant Health)

Angela Yochem, executive vice president and chief digital and technology officer, Novant Health

Angela Yochem came to Novant Health in 2018 with deep technology roots at Fortune 500 companies. As executive vice president and chief digital and technology officer, she has been tapping into that tech expertise as she redefines the North Carolina health system’s approach to technology.

In June, the health system launched the Novant Health Institute of Innovation & Artificial Intelligence (AI), which will use AI to enhance personalized patient care.

That institute, which Yochem co-leads, has already produced AI-based solutions to improve care, such as a tool that helps treat stroke patients more rapidly.

Novant Health also is working with healthcare AI company Jvion to use predictive analytics to reduce readmissions for congestive heart failure patients. A project with KenSci’s AI platform is focused on improving the patient experience in its hospitals.

Natalie Pageler
(Stanford Children's)

Natalie Pageler, M.D., chief medical information officer at Stanford Children’s Health 

Stanford Children’s Health is pioneering cool technology to improve care for pediatric patients. From using virtual reality to help distract and entertain children who are preparing for procedures to diabetes digital health tools, the organization focused on using technology to address the needs of children and their families.

As CMIO, Natalie Pageler, M.D., a board-certified pediatric intensivist, leads the hospital’s digital health program with a focus on meeting the needs of tech-savvy patients and families in the Silicon Valley area. She’s focused on expanding virtual visits to enable patients and their families better access to pediatric experts. From 2017 to 2018, Stanford Children’s grew virtual visits by more than six times, from less than 200 visits a year to 1,100 annual visits.

The hospital is on track to double that to 2,500 telehealth visits in 2019. The virtual visits save hundreds of miles in travel for patients who need specialty care.

head shot photo of Vivian Lee, M.D.
Vivian Lee, M.D. (Verily)

Vivian Lee, M.D., president of health platforms, Verily

Vivian Lee, M.D. is leading Verily Life Sciences' expanding footprint in healthcare. The life sciences arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet has been shifting from research into clinical care and gaining big-name partners.

Verily partners with health insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield as well as Walgreens and life insurance company John Hancock to provide chronic care management through its Onduo virtual diabetes clinic. It’s also developing machine learning tools to help detect diabetic eye disease.

Under Lee’s leadership, Verily also is moving into population health and supporting the shift to value-based care. The company is working with Atrius Health and the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs healthcare system to improve patient outcomes through population health projects. Verily also is taking on aging by teaming up with Wake Forest Baptist Health to test technologies to help older people stay healthy and independent at home.

Mariann Yeager
(The Sequoia Project)

Mariann Yeager, CEO of The Sequoia Project

Mariann Yeager is a 20-year health IT veteran taking on the complex problem of healthcare interoperability. She leads the Sequoia Project, a public-private partnership that advocates for nationwide health IT exchange.

The organization was tapped by the government’s IT agency, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, to oversee the implementation of a big data exchange project called the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement.

Under Yeager’s leadership, The Sequoia Project will create baseline technical and legal requirements for different health IT systems, companies and groups to communicate with each other and share electronic information.