Indian American Bakul Patel to lead Google’s global digital health strategy

Former FDA regulator “joining Google Health to be part of an incredible mission – To Help Billions of People Be Healthier”

Tech giant Google has hired Bakul Patel, a former Indian American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) leader as its new senior director of global digital health strategy and regulatory.

Patel spent over a decade at the FDA and most recently was the chief digital health officer of global strategy and innovation.

“I am excited to announce that I am joining Google Health to be part of an incredible mission – ‘To Help Billions of People Be Healthier,’” he wrote in a Linkedin post Monday announcing the move.

“I am looking forward to learning from the teams in health across Google and Alphabet and helping build a unified digital health and regulatory strategy,” Patel added.

Read: Google products more helpful in the moments that matter: Sundar Pichai (May 13, 2022)

Indian American CEO Sundar Pichai led Google has pushed further into health and healthcare over the past few years. Its ambitions range from mining big data for algorithms to developing disease-detecting tools to pumping wearables full of health features.

“As a ‘technology person’ first (before becoming a policy wonk @FDA) working on leading-edge solutions has been a key focus throughout my career,” Patel wrote.

“This technology oriented mindset has continued to guide my efforts towards helping turn digital health from a hopeful concept to a reality,” he said. “Throughout my tenure at FDA, my biggest northstar has been to make digital healthcare accessible and equitable for all.”

Patel said he had talked often about the potential of digital health to be a gamechanger in heralding a new era for healthcare generally—one that is ubiquitous and poised to deliver care to all individuals, including preventing and predicting disease and keeping people healthy and out of the hospital.

“We are in the early stages of this journey, and there is a lot of work ahead,” he wrote. “But the potential of applying technology to improve health at scale can mean better health for everyone in our lifetime. The power of technology, when coupled with a unified digital health and regulatory approach, promises to transform people’s lives.”

Patel said he wanted to continue to build a world in which we use technology to engage individuals, caregivers and communities globally in care delivery, enabling us to reach populations that have long been overlooked, marginalized and underserved.

“A world where we use digital information and technology to identify and predict the onset of disease before symptoms appear, literally changing, improving, and protecting people’s lives,” he wrote.

Patel said Google’s commitment to help billions of people be healthier aligns with his goal to move digital healthcare and technology forward together.

“This means building upon the work Google has already done in health—from providing authoritative Covid-19 information during the pandemic, to using AI and machine learning to build and provide solutions for caregivers and communities to tackle the world’s toughest health challenges.”

Patel said he was “thrilled and excited to continue furthering my mission to improve healthcare for all and be part of an organization that is committed to delivering products and services to help people along their health journey.”

Read: Google ropes in ex-US FDA leader Bakul Patel as digital health chief (May 17, 2022)

Prior to joining FDA, Patel held key leadership positions in the telecommunications industry, semiconductor capital equipment industry, wireless industry and information technology industry.

His experience includes Lean Six Sigma, creating long and short-term strategy, influencing organizational change, modernizing government systems, and delivering high technology products and services in fast-paced, technology-intensive organizations.

Patel earned an MS in Electronic Systems Engineering from the University of Regina, Canada, and an MBA in International Business from The Johns Hopkins University.

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