Stephen Friend departs Apple, and other digital health hires and departures

By Dave Muoio
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Stephen Friend, a key driver of Apple’s recent healthcare efforts, appears to have quietly left the company in November 2017, according to a LinkedIn profile in which he refers to himself as “an independent entrepreneur.” Friend had been at the company for less than two years, and according to Apple Insider was providing security, privacy, and consent expertise to the company’s various healthcare frameworks.

Ava, maker of a fertility and cycle-tracking wearable for women, has brought Dr. Maureen Cronin onboard as the company’s first chief medical officer. Cronin comes in with more than 20 years of medical and product development experiences, and headed global medical affairs at Vifor Pharma, and led a private pharmaceutical consulting firm.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the trend of established executives leaving big pharma to actively advance young digital health companies because, like us, they believe in the progressive future of women’s health technologies,” Ava cofounder Lea von Bidder said in a statement. “Dr. Cronin’s proven track record and renowned reputation among the gynecology world and medical industry worldwide will be invaluable to Ava as we continue to grow and expand into new and exciting applications of our cycle-tracking technology for other areas of women’s health.”

AbleTo, a behavioral health technology company, has announced Daniel Lieber as its new chief operating officer. He comes directly from a similar position at Altegra Health, and previously held senior management positions at Universal American as well as Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.

"As health plans and employers make AbleTo's proven behavioral health programs available to millions of people, adding an experienced chief operating officer is an important step,” Rob Rebak, president and CEO of AbleTo, said in a statement. "Dan is a great operator whose broad experience in strategically managing national health platforms will serve AbleTo well, both today and well into the future."

Nancy Kitchen and Susan Roberts have taken up principal positions at Tracscout, a maker of software for handling CMS-compliant Utilization Management and Grievances & Appeals processes. Kitchen is a 30-year veteran of CMS, and has since served as the director of client development at ATTAC Consulting Group. Roberts, who has 25 years of government health care program development experience, was recently the senior vice president of government programs at Gorman Health Group.

Orlando Health has named Novlet Mattis as its new chief information officer. With her experience holding leadership positions at Ascension Information Services, Dell Global Services, Lucent Technologies, AT&T, and Rex Healthcare, she will oversee an IT division representing an annual expenditure greater than $145 million.

“We are extremely pleased to have Novlet join the organization,” Bernadette Spong, chief financial officer of Orlando Health, said in a statement. “The healthcare environment continues to increase in complexity, especially in the area of IT. Novlet’s leadership experience and expertise in the IT field are key to Orlando Health’s expanding use and safety of electronic information.”

Following a recent funding announcement, Medopad has brough two new participants onto its board of directors: Stuart Fletcher, former president of Diageo International, and Simon MacKinnon, chairman of Sinophi Healthcare. MacKinnon also has 30 years of experience working in China and Asia. 

“Medopad is radically changing the delivery of healthcare management,” MacKinnon said in a statement. “With China becoming a world center for health-tech and AI innovation and the Chinese government looking to deploy innovative solutions to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce costs, Medopad is very well placed to grow with our partners in the region.”