Mayo Clinic names first chief digital officer

Rita Khan, who comes to the health system from UnitedHealthcare, will guide digital strategy and spearhead the launch of Mayo's new Center for Digital Health.

Mayo Clinic announced this week that it has created the role of chief digital officer, and hired Rita Khan, who most recently served as senior vice president of consumer digital at UnitedHealthcare, to the new C-level position.

In her new role, Khan will guide Mayo Clinic's strategy as it prepares for big changes across the digital space, according to the health system.

As CDO, Khan will chart digital strategy, putting in place a "comprehensive business plan and digital standards that align with Mayo Clinic's culture and values," and establish the new Mayo Clinic Center for Digital Health.

At UnitedHealthcare, Khan directed enterprise-level digital strategy and led a team that designed new digital tools for providers, employers and members across the insurer's commercial, Medicare and Medicaid businesses.

Before that, Khan was global vice president of product at e-commerce and payments company Digital River. She has also served as director of and of Best Buy's direct to business channel. She began her career at Target.

Jeffrey Bolton, Mayo Clinic's chief administrative officer, explains that the health system chose Khan after a nationwide search based on her "record of innovation in designing digital solutions to improve healthcare and patient experience."

Mayo Clinic's creation of the chief digital officer is similar to another announcement, earlier this year, at Kaiser Permanente – which also inaugurated the same position, and also found someone with consumer industry experience to fill it.

Prat Vemana, who had most recently worked as chief product and experience officer at The Home Depot, was tasked with driving innovation in Kaiser's enterprise digital strategy, working across its internal health plans, hospitals and medical groups.

Rita Khan is the second major hire at Mayo Clinic in December. The health system announced earlier this month that Dr. John Halamka, longtime CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, will start in January as the new president of Mayo Clinic Platform – a system-wide digital health initiative designed to transform care delivery at the world-class health system by deploying "artificial intelligence, the internet of things and an ecosystem of partners," as Halamka describes it.

"Mayo Clinic is committed to leading the digital transformation of health care by creating world-class platforms that align with our patients-first culture and values," said Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, Mayo Clinic's president and CEO, in a statement. "We must continually innovate and reimagine the delivery of health care, and we are delighted that Ms. Khan, with her diverse experience in consumer-focused digital innovation, will lead this effort."

"I'm excited to align my deep background in retail, and most recently health care, to focus on consumer experience, product design and digital with an organization whose values I share — grounded in always putting the consumer first," said Khan in a statement. "Mayo Clinic was founded on the belief that the needs of the patient comes first. I look forward to helping advance that commitment as we expand our digital solutions for the people we serve."

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Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

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