Digital health hires and departures: Apple, Zenefits, and more

By Jonah Comstock
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Yoky Matsuoka, an executive at Apple who joined in May to work on health projects has left the company, according to a recent report in Bloomberg. Matsuoka formerly served as CEO of Quanttus, VP of technology at Nest, and head of innovation at Google. She was reportedly working on HealthKit, CareKit, and ResearchKit at Apple. Neither Apple nor Matsuoka has confirmed the news and her LinkedIn still lists her as working at Apple. 

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David Sacks, the recently hired CEO of Zenefits, is also stepping down, according to a report in Buzzfeed. He will stay on until the company finds a replacement. He will transition into a Chairman role in addition to looking for other opportunities. Sacks is a friend of Peter Thiel's and there were reports that he was seeking a position on President-Elect Donald Trump's transition team, but he refuted these reports to Buzzfeed. Sacks told employees in a letter that he felt he had accomplished what he set out to do as CEO, guiding the company through its regulatory and legal troubles.

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Rush University Medical Center in Chicago has hired a new Chief Information Officer: Dr. Shafiq Rab, who previously served as CIO at Hackensack University Health Network, in Hackensack, New Jersey. Rab has a record of using mobile health to enhance patient engagement, including introducing bedside iPads and Apple HealthKit at Hackensack.

According to a release from Rush, "Rab brought Hackensack University Medical Center to the leading edge of mobile health care technology by developing an app that allows patient access to direct appointment scheduling, test results, prescription information and communication with physicians from any device. His team also developed facial recognition technology to accurately match and identify the appropriate patient to his or her data, as well as new technology allowing patients to connect providers to their medical record regardless of the system that doctor uses."

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Women's digital health company Ovia, which offers fertility, pregnancy, and parenting apps, has hired a new executive vice president to lead the company's maternity and family benefits solution for employers. Greg Nash comes from Omada Health where he served as VP of enterprise sales. Prior to that he worked in sales at Castlight Heatlh. 

"I'm thrilled to be joining Ovia Health at such an exciting time. We're engaging millions of women and families with their healthcare, and we're helping top employers reshape their maternity programs and benefits," Nash said in a statement. "It's also an exciting time for the healthcare industry. The landscape is evolving, and employers are asking us to help them find new ways to engage moms and new parents."

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Cricket Health, a technology-enabled chronic condition management company focused on kidney disease, has hired Dr. Carmen Peralta and Dr. Anna Malkina, both nephrologists from the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF). Peralta will serve as chair of the company's Medical Advisory Board and Malkina will serve as medical director. 

“Carmen and Anna bring a tremendous amount of clinical knowledge and research experience to the table and will provide valuable expertise to the company as we execute on our strategic imperatives in 2016 and beyond,” Cricket Health cofounder and CEO Arvind Rajan said in a statement. “We look forward to benefiting from their vision and experience.”

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App-based house call company Heal recently announced a new board member: Richard Gephardt, former House Majority and Minority Leader from Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District and a two-time Democratic presidential candidate. Gephardt became a lobbyist after his political career and founded the Atlanta-based consultancy firm Gephardt Group, of which he is currently president and CEO.

“During my time in Congress and more recently through my public affairs work, I have been committed to improving healthcare for all Americans,” Gephardt said in a statement. “What Heal is accomplishing is transformative and they have the potential to move the needle forward for healthcare in a positive way. The key to a better healthcare system is to increase quality by bettering the relationship that physicians have with their patients; Heal is doing just that. I’m excited to join the board and help Heal reach more Americans.”