Amazon, Apple on health care hiring kicks

Many think that a marriage between the tech and health sectors would be a match made in heaven, but so far here on plain old planet Earth, it’s been at most a flirtation. 

But big tech is doing some health care hiring, so perhaps something real is starting to happen. 

Stat reported recently (behind its paywall) that Amazon had hired 20 people from “industry heavyweights” like CVS, Express Scripts, and UnitedHealth Group over the past 18 months. Becker’s Hospital Review, leaning on the Stat report, said that one of the new hires is Chelsea Doyle, who as a CVS executive was involved in the company’s acquisition of  Target pharmacies. 

CNBC’s Christina Farr, whose health-tech beat has come to feature a lot of stories about Amazon, reported last week that the company has hired Taha Kass-Hout, the former chief informatics officer at the FDA. What Kass-Hout will be doing is hazy, but Farr reported that he is joining the experimental project team led by Babak Parviz and that judging by his past interests and skills he might tackle a project that would make it easy for people to access their medical medical records.

The news isn’t all about Amazon. 

Last week, Jaimy Lee, a news editor for LinkedIn, reported that Apple has hired at least four people to work at its employee health clinics, which Apple is calling AC Wellness (just for fun the fingers want to type ACDC Wellness). 

Lee listed the four as Marty Yee, MD, a former regional medical director for Crossover Health, which Apple has reportedly been interested in buying; Prajakta Ranade, a registered dietician; Marissa Goodgern; and Rasha Aniag, a registered nurse. According to Lee, Ranade, Goodgern, and Aniag worked most recently for Stanford Health Care. Farr reported that the first two AC Wellness clinics will be in (no surprise) Santa Clara County so Ranade, Goodgern, and Aniag won’t have far to go.

On his LinkedIn page, Yee gives two enthusiastic recommendations, one for Gavin P. Harris and the other for Shelley Myers. According to their LinkedIn profiles, Harris is currently a project manager for FaciliCorp, a San Jose facilities management consulting company, and Myers is a health coach in Indianapolis. One wonders if Yee has reached out to them about AC Wellness. Seems like they have skills and experience that might come in handy if you were setting up a wellness clinic.

Farr, an absolute must-follow (@chrissyfarr) if you’re interested in how tech and health are hooking up, has also reported on search for a leader of the Amazon/Hathway/JP Morgan hungry tapeworm project. According to a story she posted a couple of weeks ago, the short list included Andy Slavitt, Castlight Health co-founder Todd Park, and Gary Loveman. 

Slavitt suggested in a tweet after the story was published that he was not interested (regardless, it seems like Slavitt might be too much of a partisan warrior for a project like this).

Park told CNBC that “while I wish this new endeavor the very best, I am not a candidate to lead it.” Park is currently executive chairman and co-founded of Devoted Health in Waltham, Mass., which says on its website that it will launch Medicare Advantage plans in 2019. It is billing itself as a “health care solution good enough for Mom.” 

Loveman declined comment for Farr’s report. Modern Healthcare reported in January that he was leaving Aetna, where he had been executive vice president of consumer health and services since October 2015.