Google Health’s strategy and identity within Alphabet

In 2018, Google reorganized many of its balkanized health efforts under one roof. 

Under the name Google Health, it’s now a team of just under 600, Business Insider has learned, with a bold mission to organize the world’s health information. Many of its scientists would like to see artificial intelligence “democratize” access to care, and build search tools help doctors sift through medical information swiftly.

But healthcare is a big and complicated industry.

Google Health’s work with search and clinical tools is promising, but it’s early and the group leans heavily on other parts of Google for partnerships. It’s not sure how it’ll work with Alphabet’s Verily, a life sciences company that’s banged heads with the Google Health team before. And its employees aren’t confident in its ability to execute, according to interviews and internal documents seen by Business Insider.

While Google Health has struck up deals to work with large health systems such as Ascension and Stanford Medicine over the past two years, talks with some other major players including CVS Health and The Gates Foundation have fallen apart along the way, Business Insider has learned. Experts within the healthcare industry are still confused over what Google Health actually does. And pressure is mounting on Google Health to finally get something off the ground besides promising research. 

Over the past eight weeks, Business Insider got behind the scenes of Google’s secretive health business.

Here’s an inside look at what Google Health has been up to for the past two years, how Alphabet’s healthcare trio — Verily, Google Cloud, and Google Health — function, and what’s ahead for Google’s team of former FDA commissioners, Obama advisers, and surgeon-scientists.

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