Importance of Chief Medical Officers in Tech Companies

Importance of Chief Medical Officers in Tech Companies

Healthcare Tech Outlook | Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Tech firms are stepping in the healthcare industry and to make their footing sturdy, they are seeing CMOs.

FREMONT, CA: Technology-driven firms are getting attracted to the healthcare vertical, and they have borrowed the model from the pharmaceutical world and bring in a chief medical officer (CMO) to support it. The two primary functions of a CMO are to ensure that the patients are heard at the highest levels of the organization and representing the company as its primary medical representative. There are basic models of biopharma CMO. First, head of development that is responsible for all drug development with traditional medical functions such as pharmacovigilance and medical affairs. The second is head of medical tasks, but not accountable for drug development. Third, neither responsible for product development, not medical functions, but a medical counselor in chief.

Companies have adopted the CMO model to represent healthcare inside the company with an authoritative voice, as well as represent the company to the healthcare community. The CMO of Salesforce, Joshua Newman, says, “I make the technology easier to understand for our providers, customers, payors, and life science companies. I translate the needs of the market into understandable chunks to our employees, executives, marketers, and product managers.” In the same vein, the CMO of Microsoft, Simon Kos, says, “My job is to devise clinical strategies, scale them through our health workforce, and disseminate them on a global scale via digital and social channels.

The CMOs have an additional vital function of a cultural translator as their responsibility. They not only help engineers understand the functioning of the healthcare system but also the nuances of it. Newman further says, “I ensure that the physicians’ understanding is embedded in our work, and I help Salesforce understand the needs of the customers. A vital part of the CMOs role is to bridge the gap between biomedicine and engineering and explain to the staff the importance of biology and how it is different than engineering.

As chief medical officers are growing in number, it indicates that companies have acknowledged the need to take challenges such as delivering a product into the healthcare environment with regulatory and institutional barriers. Finally, the companies realize the biggest challenge of all – integrating engineering and healthcare.

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