Is Health Care “Primed” for Innovation?

Employer interest in retaking the initiative in healthcare has been making the news spurred mainly by the joint venture announcement from Amazon, JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway. These companies have the scale and resources to improve the quality and affordability of care for their over 1.2 million combined U.S. employees. The specifics of the venture remain to be seen but many are optimistic at the effort.

This month, we suggest a few areas for the “fledgling venture” to focus on to improve care delivery and reduce costs. We suggest three foci: data and analytics, employee empowerment through tools, and a refocus on results as opposed to activity as the keys.

As we all know, data is power and transforming that data into actionable insights is the foundation of any new healthcare model. Mining data is what these companies do best in regards to consumer preferences and buying patterns. Having the right tools and technologies to empower employees in their health journey is part of the solution. Amazon has built its business on letting customers make smart choices for themselves backed by intelligent tech. Transitioning from fee for service incentives to value base incentives care cannot happen soon enough. Few entities understand incentives better than Berkshire Hathaway and Chase. While these companies are all innovators in their respective spaces, they are all employers who have a major role to play in the healthcare revolution.

That being said, it won’t be a cake walk. Healthcare is a complicated system with lots of areas that need fixing. As everyone, including Walmart, gets into healthcare, what can employers focus on to drive the most value for their employees? What might succeed and what are the pitfalls? Instead of recycling the same solutions of yesterday, let’s hope that these “outsiders” can pave the way.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and
viewpoints of PBGH or its employers.

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