Amazon, JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway take on Healthcare

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The leaders of these massive companies – Bezos, Dimon and Buffet, respectively – believe that the healthcare industry is one in which profit and bottom lines should not come between accessibility and quality of care. That’s why Amazon, JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway have joined forces to build a fully independent employee healthcare company, navigating around the incumbents to offer benefits and care to their employees and their families.

All three leaders have released statements centering around the need for streamlined processes and solutions that ultimately eliminate the ballooning cost of healthcare. It will be interesting to see, from a technological standpoint, what types of data, algorithms and services that are used to make decisions as well as any privacy tradeoffs their employees may incur.

While this initiative is currently focused on employees of these companies, it’s not hard to speculate that it may one day move beyond that. The amount of data that Amazon specifically has on the average consumers purchasing decisions, combined with relevant medical records could make for some interesting product/service offerings down the road. Let us not forget Amazon’s distribution network, of which they could use to quickly deliver pharmaceuticals and related products.

The healthcare industry is one of the most bureaucratic, rule driven sectors of our economy. It has desperately needed big innovators to step in and shine light on the cost increasing practices that currently undermine it. That’s what Amazon, JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway hope to accomplish in the process.

Implications

Healthcare is an industry in which consumers have historically been disengaged in their consumer journey. Either they’re told they can get a plan through their employer or they’re relegated to few outside options. It is ripe for disruption, most notably in the area of consumer empowerment.

The same type of disruption that occurred to the taxi industry and ecommerce industry, must find its way to healthcare for these lofty goals to be met. Marketers will need to look to align themselves with companies or create services that increase consumer choice, reduce cost or streamline a process. For example, Apple recently announced that it will use its health app to allow people to store many of their healthcare files. They’ve already partnered with dozens of top name hospitals to streamline the process of sending and storing information.

However, this also opens up the question as to how much private health data consumers will feel comfortable sharing with the same companies that they interact with on a daily basis. Is Amazon trusted enough to get that nod?

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