Way back in July, I wrote a blog on the joint healthcare initiative of Jeff Bezos (CEO Amazon), Warren Buffett (CEO Berkshire Hathaway), and Jamie Dimon (CEO JP Morgan Chase & Co.). We talked about the amazing potential of the initiative, and how private sector executives, especially CEOs, show promise in changing the US healthcare system for the better.
It’s now been 15 months since their announcement and 9 months since we’ve blogged about any of the updates, so let’s jump right in!
We left off last time with the appointment of Dr. Atul Gawande, Harvard surgeon and writer for The New Yorker, as CEO of the venture. So what’s happened since his appointment and what should we look forward to?
Big Pharma Challenged
Immediately after Amazon’s announcement of a joint healthcare coalition, stock prices of large pharmacies immediately plunged, with Walmart, CVS, and Cardinal Health taking the biggest hits, just take a look right around January 2018:
It’s no surprise that stockholders were nervous about the announcement, Amazon has been known to kill a lot of things, just check out my Google search below (legit).
Possibly the most important update to mention is that the healthcare initiative has a name: Haven. It plays off of the idea that the care provided to employees will be simpler and cheaper — a sort of “safe haven” from the outside healthcare world.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s important to take a step back and realize that although this initiative has the potential to change the entire healthcare industry, it’s currently still in its infancy stage. There is currently just a small team of executives who are presumably exploring how their strengths as a corporate group can vie for an advantage in the healthcare system. Here’s a list of some of them:
Dr. Atul Gawande — hired in June 2018 as CEO, Dr. Gawande is a Harvard surgeon and writer with an extensive background on the patient side of the medical field.
Jack Stoddard — hired in September of 2018 as COO, Jack comes from a background of health innovation, a founding member of Accolade (since obtained by Comcast) and as an executive at Optum Health (obtained by United Healthcare).
Serkan Kutan — hired in February 2019 as CTO, Serkan has most recently worked as CTO of Zocdoc, a company changing the way medical appointments are made. Kutan has a strong tech background with Microsoft and Amazon.
Dana Gelb Safran — hired in November 2018 as Head of Management, Safran comes from the world of health insurance, working as the Chief performance Measurement and Improvement Officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield.
David Smith — hired in January 2019 as Director of Product Strategy and Research, David has an extensive background in health cost analysis for large groups with Optum Health through United Healthcare.
Sandhya Rao — hired in March 2019 as Vice President of Clinical Strategy, has experience as a medical director at several different facilities, most recently Partners Population Health.
Members shown below clockwise starting with Dr. Atul Gawande (David Smith not pictured).
A Digital Presence
“Our mission is to transform health care to create better outcomes and overall experience, as well as lower costs for you and your family. We want you to get the right care, every time so that you can live your best life possible.”
It also has a statement by Atul Gawande, describing the motivation behind Haven and their three guiding principles, which in summary are: patient advocacy, the betterment of healthcare, and a promise to sustainability and longevity to the program. Definitely worth checking out.
The FAQ section of the site also offers insight about the company — like that they’re not-for-profit, that it currently caters primarily to Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase employees, and that it’s headquartered in Boston.
The list of positions they’re hiring for right now include Clinical, Communications, Data and Analytics, Data Science, Enterprise IT, Information Security, Software Engineering, SRE/infrastructure, and more. Sounds like they’re going to be building a health-tech empire!
The FAQ and Mission Statement of the site make it appear that the companies intend on working with existing insurance companies, providers, and medical professionals to improve healthcare. The site says says, “we will be an ally of anyone who is working to make health care better for patients.” Does this imply that Haven will be an enemy of anyone deemed not working to make care better for patients? Time will tell, and large insurance and pharmacy companies are nervous.
David vs Goliath
The size and prowess of these large companies pales in comparison to the US health industry, which is now a $3.5 trillion dollar industry, averaging $10,739 per person.
These companies together employ some 1.2 million people, which is only .37% of the US population. That’s not to diminish the fact that this initiative has the potential to bring along change, in fact it might just be the catalyst behind a huge national change.
Time will tell whether or not this initiative will lead to real action or not, but regardless, the ballooning cost of healthcare is a growing concern for Americans. In the 2016 elections, the Pew Research Center found that Healthcare was the 4th most important voting issue, only after Economy, Terrorism, and Foreign Policy, and there’s no doubt that 2020 will be similar.
What do you think the venture should focus? If you were an Amazon/Berkshire/JPMorgan employee how do you think you’d be feeling? Drop a comment below!