Microsoft has been flexing its ambitions in healthcare through major partnerships with top-tier health systems, the development of new healthcare oriented tools for clinicians and the continuing build out of its healthcare-focused team.

In its latest move, the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant has poached Samsung Electronics’ David Rhew as the company’s global chief medical officer and vice president of healthcare.

Among the key priorities Rhew will be focused on in his new role is helping to improve healthcare data interoperability that ties in traditional data sets with new types of information like biosensors, genomics and social determinants measures.

He is also charged with helping to advance the company’s Azure cloud platform as it continues to add features and healthcare-related tools.

“Data are quickly becoming the new currency in healthcare. Organizations that create value through secure storage, clinical interpretation, and the seamless exchange of data between patients and providers are emerging as the new leaders,” Rhew said in a statement. “Microsoft is positioned to lead in this capacity. I am honored to be a part of the team that builds and grows this business.”

Rhew’s hire bolsters a growing health team which has added former Google exec Gary Moore, Josh Mandel, formerly of Verily, and ex-Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO Jim Weinstein. Overseeing Microsoft’s healthcare efforts is Corporate Vice President of Healthcare Peter Lee.

Rhew spent six years at Samsung in a similar role where he helped to manage the company’s efforts in the digital health and wearables space. Prior to his position at Samsung, Rhew served as a professor of medicine at UCLA and was an entrepreneur working on developing clinical decision support technology.

Microsoft’s history in the healthcare industry has been checkered, with a number of failed consumer-focused efforts including its Microsoft Health dashboard, its Microsoft Band wearable and its HealthVault personal health record system.

Recently though – reflecting a larger shift in the company under CEO Satya Nadella – the company has successfully turned its sights towards enterprise clients launching new provider and health plan-focused products meant to allow clinicians to communicate and share notes securely, assist in patient navigation and remove technical barriers to interoperability.

The company has inked a number of major deals over the past year including a partnership with Providence St. Joseph, a collaboration with Walgreens to help innovate in care delivery and a deal with U.K. biotech Oxford Biomedica to improve gene therapy using cloud computing and machine learning.

Picture: marchmeena29, Getty Images

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