The following article, written by Laura Dyrda, was published by Becker’s Hospital CFO Report.
When Amazon, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Berkshire Hathaway launched their partnership in the healthcare space, they left more questions than answers about their new venture. The announcement shared few details on how the companies would partner, but ultimately shared the goal of providing high-quality, lower-cost healthcare to employees and their families.
All three companies are disruptors in their industries, but have little experience in healthcare. Here, 35 executives from across the healthcare industry share their reaction to the announcement and predictions for the future.
Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Question: What does this partnership mean for the healthcare industry?
Chuck Stokes. President and CEO of Memorial Hermann (Houston): “Today’s announcement is precisely why health systems across the country, including Memorial Hermann, have been innovating from within. Our industry has a lot to learn from these three powerhouse institutions that have transformed their consumer experiences. Through their expertise, I firmly believe that our industry will accelerate the journey to become more affordable and convenient for everyone. Here in Houston, we understand the healthcare needs of our community better than anyone else and have launched several groundbreaking solutions to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to our neighbors.”
Damian Becker. Manager of Public Relations at South Nassau Communities Hospital (Oceanside, N.Y.): “Their venture into the healthcare industry means one thing to me: disruption, with a singular focus on growth from the get-go. Accounting for the core strengths, roster of services and market share dominance of each organization and how they will innovate collaboratively, it is imperative as a healthcare organization to conceptualize and anticipate what they will bring to market as not just a national entity, but also a global entity that will either compete directly with or complement the services that your organization provides and/or specializes in. For example, health and medical care services delivered to the patients/customers wherever they are and whenever they need it, whether at the home or on the road or at work, through digital, delivery, informational and direct care services, at a lower cost and simplified payment model.”
John Driscoll. CEO of CareCentrix (Hartford, Conn.): “Anyone with a high-cost, high-margin healthcare business should be scared. But healthcare is complicated, and I believe the most effective path for this dream team of disruptors is to share their goal — to provide better care at a lower cost to patients — with industry incumbents. Bending the cost curve and improving outcomes is going to require a team effort.”
Michael Bittman. Partner at Broad and Cassel (Orlando, Fla.): “All industries are being disrupted to some extent by the new digital economy. It appears as if this will be one of the best-funded efforts to disrupt the traditional employer-sponsored health plan model. That said, it’s important to remember you can’t deliver healthcare without hospitals and physicians. The new model may involve groups of employers contracting directly with healthcare providers to decrease cost and enhance quality.
“What Amazon, JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway have presented could be a new national model. With their combined resources, technology and foresight, they could reduce reliance on insurers and avoid some of the related costs. It could show a new way for employers to provide good, affordable coverage, and increase wages with the savings.”