Kaiser Permanente names first Chief Digital Officer

Prat Vemana comes from the consumer world, currently serving as chief product and experience officer at The Home Depot and has worked at Staples.
By Mike Miliard
04:09 PM

Kaiser Permanente has created a new organizational role, aimed at driving innovation in its enterprise digital strategy. It will be filled by Prat Vemana who's tasked with working across Kaiser's internal health plans, hospitals, and medical groups.

As chief digital officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals Vemana will report to Kaiser CIO Dick Daniels, and will also have accountability to CEO Bernard J. Tyson.

His job will be to lead cross-functional teams across Kaiser Permanente, working to develop new technologies and processes for Kaiser's workforce and transform the way its 12 million members, patients and customers experience its online, mobile and digital tools.

Vemana, who will begin on August 12, currently serves as chief product and experience officer at The Home Depot, where he charts strategy for improved customer experience across the corporation. He's previously held leadership roles at Staples and Informed Clinical Sciences Corporation.

Chief digital officer is a role that's gaining momentum across healthcare. In 2018, Healthcare IT News took a look at the emerging CDO role, and showed how it's unique from more traditional C-suite positions.

The Chief Digital Officer is “a strategic, business minded leader using technology as a key lever to rethink operations," explained Pamela Dixon, managing partner of SSi-Search, a recruiting firm that specializes in executive-level healthcare roles.

At that time, for example, Ascension had just named its first CDO, Eduardo Conrado, whose prior experience was largely at Motorola.

"We are seeing individuals coming into this role from outside of healthcare, where the job surfaced about five years ago, and is really just getting established here now," said Dixon. "It started as a Chief Marketing Officer hybrid focusing on the consumer and it has taken on more and more importance but the specific focus changes somewhat from organization to organization."

"With his proven track record of delivering consumer-focused digital experiences, Prat will help Kaiser Permanente achieve its future vision and goals by advancing our digital strategy," said Daniels in a statement.

"We’ve made tremendous investments in building our digital platforms and creating greater access for our members," said Tyson. "Now we are taking it to the next level by focusing on digital experiences that change the way transactions and services are delivered. Prat is the perfect choice to help lead and guide the future of our digital health and wellness ecosystem that will provide our members with meaningful experiences and empower them to live more healthy years."

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

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