Health IT

Healthcare is looking to the tech world for recruitment purposes

Providence St. Joseph Health recently hired Microsoft executive Venkat Bhamidipati as CFO. His appointment points to a trend of healthcare organizations eyeing the tech sector for new talent.

Earth planet with global routes and light dots representing global connection and communication.

The healthcare sector is chock-full of executives with a medical background.

In fact, a 2011 study looked at the CEOs of U.S. News & World Report‘s 100 best hospitals in three specialties: cardiovascular care, cancer and digestive disorders. It found quality scores were 25 percent higher in hospitals run by physicians compared to hospitals run by those with management backgrounds, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Sure, there’s a heavy emphasis on physician leaders. But the industry is slowly turning an eye to the tech world — and not just because of the rise of health tech startups. Healthcare is looking to tech to find new talent.

The latest example comes from Providence St. Joseph Health, which recently hired Venkat Bhamidipati — a Microsoft executive — as CFO. Previously, he was Microsoft’s managing director for business development and growth strategy. Bhamidipati will begin his role at Providence St. Joseph Health on July 31.

In a phone interview, he touched on how he will bring his transformational and innovation experience gained at Microsoft to his new position. The growth Microsoft underwent also taught him how to incubate and nurture business models.

What attracted Bhamidipati to Providence is rather simple: its dedicated team and their mission of providing passionate service.

He certainly sees the value in bringing a tech background to healthcare. “Technology is impacting every single industry,” Bhamidipati said.

And the convergence of multiple backgrounds and specialties can result in something remarkable. “Magic happens when you combine roles,” he added.

Bhamidipati’s isn’t the first appointment Providence has made outside the healthcare industry.

Aaron Martin serves as executive vice president and chief digital officer of Providence St. Joseph Health, as well as managing general partner of Providence Ventures. Martin comes from a tech and strategy background, having previously worked at Amazon. While there, he oversaw the team that transitioned publishers from physical books to Kindle.

The health insurance world has also been busy recruiting from the tech sector. In 2016, Oscar Health brought on Alan Warren as CTO and senior vice president of engineering. Warren was formerly with Google, where he was responsible for the Google Docs and Drive suite. He also spent a decade at IBM Research.

And the trend doesn’t end with hospitals and health insurers. Look at Grail, Illumina’s cancer diagnostics startup. Last year, the company hired Google veteran Jeff Huber as CEO. Prior to joining Google, Huber worked for eBay.

For now, physician executives rule the day. But as healthcare evolves, perhaps we’ll see more tech folks moving to the healthcare space.

Editor’s note: This article previously incorrectly spelled Aaron Martin’s name.

Photo: Filograph, Getty Images