Google snaps up chief medical officer of health device maker AliveCor, weeks after buying Fitbit

By | December 11, 2019

Jacqueline Shreibati is moving to Google Health from AliveCor.

screenshot, AliveCor

Google is scooping up Dr. Jacqueline Shreibati, the chief medical officer for medical wearables start-up AliveCor.

She will join the Google Health team, which is run by former health system executive Dr. David Feinberg and reporting to the chief health officer, Dr. Karen DeSalvo as part of the clinical research group, Google said Tuesday.

The Google Health team is still determining its overarching strategy but is known to be working on tools to help doctors search through medical records and to further research into how technology can help detect eye disease more quickly, among other things. The team drew some unwanted attention recently over a project with hospital chain Ascension to use artificial intelligence to help doctors treat patients, as privacy advocates and some members of Congress worried that Google would use patient data for other business purposes.

At Google, Shreibati will help the company with its health research efforts, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person, who spoke on condition on anonymity, was not authorized to speak on Google’s behalf. The company has been on the hunt for health policy experts and doctors to bring to help it publish scientific research, and apply that research to the medical field, whether it’s a new software tool or clinical hardware and products.

It’s unclear whether Shreibati, with her hardware background, will work with Fitbit. That company remains separate for now, as its deal with Google is under investigation from the Department of Justice as part of a larger antitrust probe.

AliveCor, which competes in the medical wearables space with Apple, sells devices to monitor people at risk for a heart rhythm irregularity called atrial fibrillation, which is a leading cause of strokes. Both Apple and AliveCor make it easy for people to place a finger on a sensor via a wearable to get a reading of their heart’s rhythm.

AliveCor has long had ties to Google: Its early team includes former Google engineers and ex-CEO Vic Gundotra was a former Google senior vice president.

But it has seen some turnover in its executive ranks in recent months. Gundotra stepped down in January and was replaced with an interim executive, before the company hired former Amazon director Priya Abani at CEO. Now it has another interim leader, the company’s founder Dr. Dave Albert, in the role of chief medical officer.

Shreibati, a cardiologist by training, got a promotion in February to lead AliveCor’s medical road map after serving as the company’s vice president of medical affairs for more than two years.

“We are very lucky to have had Jacqueline at AliveCor,” the company’s chief operating officer Ira Bahr said in a statement. “She made invaluable contributions which will work to the company’s benefit for years to come.”

Health and Science