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Scott Shreeve, MD

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On Vacation: Adam Bosworth Leaves Google Health

Vacation (vā-kā’shən) n.
  1. A period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation, especially one with pay granted to an employee.
  2. A fixed period of holidays, especially one during which a school, court, or business suspends activities.
  3. The act or an instance of vacating.

Along we everyone, I was shocked to read that Adam Bosworth “is leaving” Google Health. Knowing a little something about “corporate matters” and all they portend, I was disappointed to see the news. This obviously throws lots of things into a tizzy, not least of which is the upcoming Health 2.0 Conference where Adam was a keynote and cornerstone attendee. I was really looking forward to meeting Adam, and hope that he can still participate in some way at the conference.

The office Google party line was this:

“Adam is a great talent and was instrumental in starting Google Health. He is now on vacation and has decided to pursue other opportunities after that. Marissa Mayer is taking over the health team in the interim until a new team leader takes over. Google is moving forward with work on our health products.

Unfortunately, anyone familiar with these events can read between the lines:

  • Huge hype for the mysterious “Google Health” offering
  • Multiple delays on releasing a product with persistent industry hyping of every hint and glint of a product from Googleland, including the lame health tagging system
  • First Google Health PHR screen shots released to the web a month ago
  • Then (flush) Adam is on “vacation“, enjoying some “family time“, and “pursuing other opportunities
  • Marissa Mayer, the Google Lady in Waiting, will take over on an “interim” basis (just don’t make her laugh)
  • But chin up kids, the ship is “moving forward”, and the sun will rise in GOOGland tomorrow
  • Happily ever after . . .

The infamous ValleyWag blog had some modest further insight from a leaked internal memo regarding the change. Apparently ValleyWag had previously predicted that Google would sacrifice an executive or two on the iron anvil of successful entry into the healthcare sector. We only got a glimpse of his work with the sparse public comments (November 30, 200; December 7, 2006; March 28, 2007, and May 23, 2007) and a few hints from public presentations (Markle Foundation 2007 presentation and AMIA 2007 presentation) of his vision for Google Health.

This is all unfortunate because I believe Adam was a good guy and was certainly in a position to do some incredible things in the his role at Google. For the man who invented XML, the Access database, and played a role in the creation of AJAX, I am assuming he will land somewhere on his feet.

Best wishes, Adam.

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