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Former FDA digital chief joins Google

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As Alphabet-backed Google pushes further into healthcare, the tech company has gotten good at poaching talent from health systems and regulatory agencies.

Google has tapped Bakul Patel, the former head of digital health at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to develop and lead its unified digital health and regulatory strategy, according to a LinkedIn post.

Patel spent 13 years at the FDA, leading its regulatory and scientific efforts covering digital health devices. During his tenure, the agency launched a center of excellence to oversee digital health products such as smartphone apps, wearable devices and software-based treatments, which he was tapped to lead. He also helped develop the FDA's framework for reviewing artificial intelligence products and an action plan detailing a multipronged approach to advance oversight on aritificial-intelligence- and machine-learning-based medical software.

Patel left his role at the FDA last month.

"The power of technology, when coupled with a unified digital health and regulatory approach, promises to transform people’s lives. I want to continue to build a world in which we use technology to engage individuals, caregivers and communities globally in care delivery, enabling us to reach populations that have long been overlooked, marginalized and underserved," Patel said in a statement posted Monday on his LinkedIn page.