AT&T taps Topol as new Chief Medical Advisor

By Jonah Comstock

Dr. Eric TopolAT&T has recruited Scripps Health cardiologist and digital health guru Dr. Eric Topol to be the company's new Chief Medical Advisor. In the new position, the company said in a statement, Topol will "impact the design, development and delivery of AT&T's healthcare IT solutions, connecting the healthcare ecosystem to enhance health outcomes and care delivery processes for patients and their caregivers".

The wireless carrier has long been a player in the mobile health space, most recently when it launched its EverThere mPERS system. But the company has seen several exits in its health division: Last fall Geeta Nayyar, AT&T Chief Medical Information Officer of two years, left the company to work with startup PatientPoint. AT&T told MobiHealthNews it was too early to determine if the vacated position would be filled. Prior to that, health business strategist Mikhail Rozenfeld left to return to the venture capital world as a VP at The Channel Group. And Ryan McQuaid, the company's head of product for mHealth Platform, left recently to found startup PlushCare.

Topol will continue to serve as Chief Academic Officer at Scripps Health, which includes overseeing the Scripps Translational Science Insitute, a group that has run and continues to run efficacy studies on a number of mobile health technologies. Topol, one of the biggest physician names in digital health, is the author of "The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Health Revolution Will Create Better Health Care", a frequent conference speaker, and a public advocate of digital health and genomic technologies (he appeared on NBC's Rock Center in that capacity less than a week ago).

"Dr. Topol is a change agent who has dedicated his career to creating awareness and promoting adoption of health IT solutions to improve patient care," Chris Hill, senior vice president of advanced solutions at AT&T Business Solutions, said in a statement. "Enlisting Dr. Topol into our AT&T ForHealth program will help us drive our competitive strategy as we focus on innovative solutions powered by our network."

Topol will offer AT&T guidance about existing and emerging mobile health technologies and help to enhance and support AT&T ForHealth, the company's health IT, mobile health, and telehealth division.

"With connected devices, the flow of health and medical information is going through a radical change, which puts patients in an exceptionally powerful and important position," Topol said in a statement. "I'm honored to work with AT&T as we seek to develop new solutions that will change the trajectory of digital health and impact patient outcomes."