Alphabet's Verily nabs former ONC leader as chief clinical officer

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Former Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT leader Vindell Washington, M.D., is the latest healthcare policy expert to join health teams at Alphabet companies. (achinthamb/Shutterstock)

Alphabet, the parent company of Google and Verily Life Sciences, continues to bolster its ranks of healthcare experts with the latest hiring of Vindell Washington, M.D.

Verily Life Sciences hired Washington as its new chief clinical officer as part of its health platforms team, Verily Life Sciences representative Kathleen Parkes confirmed to FierceHealthcare Tuesday.

Washington served as the national coordinator for health IT from August 2016 to January 2017.

As one of the highest health IT policy leaders, Washington brings to Verily a deep understanding of the industry. He is an emergency medicine physician by training.

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Vindell Washington
Vindell Washington (ONC)

Prior to that, Washington was at the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for more than seven years, leaving as president of the medical group. After stepping down from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), he joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana in 2017 as chief medical officer.

Washington's hiring is the latest example of how Alphabet is expanding its roster of healthcare talent as it pushes deeper into the healthcare market. 

In October, Google Health snapped up former Obama administration healthcare official Karen DeSalvo, M.D.  as its first chief health officer. She had served as acting assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services and as national coordinator for ONC.

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Google also has tapped former Geisinger Health CEO David Feinberg, M.D., as head of Google Health, and Cleveland Clinic's Toby Cosgrove, M.D., joined as an executive adviser. Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D., also has joined Alphabet's ranks as head of medical strategy and policy. 

At the same time, Verily has snapped up healthcare talent by hiring Vivian Lee, M.D., former CEO of the University of Utah Health, as president of its health platforms. Jessica Mega., M.D., a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, also jumped to Verily to serve as its chief medical and scientific officer.

DeSalvo tweeted out the news Monday welcoming Washington to the "Google family."

Verily is working on population health projects such as teaming up with Atrius Health and the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs healthcare system to improve patient outcomes. The company is also tackling diabetes management through Onduo, which partners with health insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield to provide chronic care management to plan members with diabetes.