You can find “Doctors” throughout the technology industry, but the vast majority of them (like me) have Ph.D. degrees. These are not necessarily the people you want to summon when you start having a health emergency at a restaurant. You’re much more likely to find that there’s “a doctor in the house” at many of the wearable Health Tech startups, as the products or services tend to have a medical component. But now, a new C-level position is becoming more common among large tech corporations: the CMO, or Chief Medical Officer.
This week, Dell announced the appointment of Nick van Terheyden as the company’s new CMO, reporting to the VP in charge of Dell’s Healthcare & Life Sciences (HCLS) Services business. Did you even know that Dell has a Healthcare & Life Sciences Services division? The company provides computing solutions for hospitals, healthcare professionals, and health insurance companies. IT services are in great demand, not just to drive cost savings and improved services, but also in response to the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require electronic health records (EHR) and penalizes hospitals for patient readmissions. Dr. van Terheyden has a medical degree and decades of international experience working with major healthcare organizations.
Healthcare requires IT solutions that are very different from your average corporate application. Aggregating patient data is key to realizing gains in better treatment and cost reductions, but the process must comply with significant regulations, such as HIPAA which covers patient data confidentiality. In order to compete in this space, corporations of all sizes will have to understand the market. This will become even more important as wearable devices — both telehealth devices and “bring-your-own” consumer products — start to come online in significant quantities. As a result, expect to see more tech-savvy medics taking on leadership positions in technology companies worldwide.