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Former Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove Joins Google Cloud

July 24, 2018
by Heather Landi
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Google Cloud’s healthcare and life sciences team has added a leading healthcare executive to its roster as former Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, M.D., will join the team as Executive Advisor.

After nearly 13 years as president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, Cosgrove announced late April 2017 that he was stepping down at the end of the year.

Cosgrove’s appointment to Google was announced last week by Gregory Moore, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of Google Cloud’s healthcare division in a blog post. Moore highlighted Cosgrove’s extensive experience in healthcare and noted that he is a “widely respected thought leader in the healthcare space.” “Over the course of his career, he has seen firsthand how digitization has improved—and hampered—healthcare.”

Moore also noted Cosgrove’s focus on the hours of “pajama time” spent by physicians completing their administrative tasks each night.

“And while patients benefit from streamlined sharing of medical records and improved diagnoses that have resulted from the digitization of healthcare data, they miss the warmth and connection they used to have with their providers,” Moore wrote.

“Technology may have been the cause of some of these challenges, but we believe that it can also be the cure,” Moore stated, specifically noting the potential promise of machine learning and AI to provide new and timely insights when it comes to improving the work experience of providers.

In the same blog post, Moore wrote that while technology and policy advances have enabled organizations to make progress toward the Triple Aim, the new era of digitized medicine has also come with costs—the increasing amounts of data physicians must sift through and make sense of. He also noted the need to focus on the Quadruple Aim—improving the work experience of clinicians and staff—to address the issue of physician burnout.

“The Google Cloud Healthcare and Life Sciences team relies on the expertise of both internal and external clinicians and other care providers to help balance the advances in digital health with the impact on those who provide care,” Moore wrote. “We’re thrilled to have Dr. Cosgrove on board to help us tackle the Quadruple Aim, drawing on his several decades of experience at the forefront of American medicine.”

In Cosgrove’s 13-year tenure at Cleveland Clinic, the health system expanded locally, nationally and internationally, with multiple locations in Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Canada, Abu Dhabi, and, in 2020, London, according to a Cleveland Clinic press release. The Cleveland Clinic’s revenues have grown from $3.7 billion in 2004 to $8.5 billion in 2016.

Toby Cosgrove, M.D.

Just a few months ago, there was media speculation that Cosgrove was on the short list of potential candidates for the CEO position to run the new Amazon/Berkshire Hathaway/JP Morgan Chase healthcare joint venture. In June, the three companies announced that Atul Gawande, M.D., had been tapped as CEO of the initiative.

A year and a half prior to that, when he still held the CEO position at Cleveland Clinic, there was media speculation that Cosgrove, a cardiac surgeon and Vietnam War veteran, was being considered a candidate to head the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Washington Post had reported that Cosgrove met with President Donald Trump in December 2016 to be interviewed for the VA Secretary post. At one point, Cosgrove had served as an advisor on the White House Strategic and Policy Forum under Trump, but the advisory council disbanded back in August 2017 following Trump’s lukewarm response to violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Cosgrove also served on the Veterans Administration Commission on Care during the Obama Administration in 2015.

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