If how we spend our days is how we spend our lives, then I am dedicating my life to transforming how healthcare is delivered, experienced, and perceived. In 2009, Randy Cheung, Zach Silverzweig, and I started CipherHealth to help hospitals reduce avoidable readmissions using big data. Today, we've built a team driven by our shared vision of revolutionizing the patient and provider experience with one unified platform for all patient communication and coordination. I've chosen healthcare because health, or lack thereof, touches all of us: we and our loved ones all are, or at some point, will become patients. Because healthcare is measured in lives, the joint venture between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase is very much welcomed. We need all hands on deck - not only to address the “hungry tapeworm” of ballooning healthcare costs, but to secure the future of healthcare delivery for generations to come.
As giants of their respective industries, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase are already well-positioned to create healthcare's “tipping point”. Although any new venture presents some degree of risk, the sheer size of these partners affords many resources that are unavailable to most other players within the healthcare industry. As publicly-traded companies that are held financially accountable by shareholders and investors, these partners are confident that their joint venture will be successful. After all, with the combined revenue of these three behemoths totaling $501 billion, Amazon and partners have a deep well of financial, technical, and human resources from which to draw upon. By focusing initially on high-quality healthcare for their U.S. employees at a lower cost, these partners designed the most receptive audience to test their first healthcare venture. With nearly 1.2 million employees working across all three companies, they have the critical mass necessary to develop a continuous feedback loop for improvement.
As a healthcare entrepreneur and consumer, I am optimistic that this partnership will accelerate innovation for the healthcare industry. To help Amazon and partners as they embark upon their journey, I'd like to share important lessons that I've learned.
- The Inexperience Advantage: The optimism that comes with a lack of experience is an asset. If you don't know what you're getting yourself into, you're more likely to jump into it. Venturing into uncharted territory requires the specific sort of optimism and courage to take risks that often diminishes with experience.
- Patience, Patience, Patience: The healthcare industry moves at a slower pace than that of other industries. Since change happens very slowly, progress can only be measured by sustained improvement. In their early days, Amazon experienced success by taking a slow, deliberate approach to new markets. Since then, they have become a fast-moving company that anticipates consumer preferences. As the company that pioneered two-day shipping, the slow pace of healthcare may initially feel like a regression to the old days. When evaluating their impact on cost savings and patient outcomes, Amazon and partners need to take the long view in addition to looking at short term "wins."
- Solving Bigger Problems: Rather than focusing on cutting costs, how can we deliver more value in healthcare? By joining forces, these partners have the tremendous opportunity to increase the scope of the problem that they are trying to solve. Over time, this group can widen their gaze to address some of the fundamental challenges of the healthcare industry. At CipherHealth, one of the problems that we want to solve is closing the gap between the robust body of medical literature and everyday patient care. To do this, we are integrating evidence-based health information into clinically-validated care plans to reveal insights into care gaps and population-specific outcomes.
- Achieving the Quadruple Aim: Healthcare delivery is often framed through the lens of enhancing the patient experience, improving population health, and reducing costs. Caring for the healthcare provider is a prerequisite to achieving the Triple Aim. Thus, to truly optimize and scale high-quality healthcare delivery, it is important to integrate staff satisfaction as the fourth success metric. By delegating repetitive processes to healthcare technology, staff can dedicate their specialized expertise and time to high-value patient care activities. Technology can reduce staff burnout by automating activities that are limited in their potential impact. To drive systemic, long-term improvements in healthcare, Amazon and partners need to address clinician engagement in addition to "checking the rise in health costs while enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes".
The joint venture between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase can only serve as a catalyst for innovation in the healthcare industry. If successful, this partnership could inject a healthy dose of competition into the American healthcare delivery system - ultimately, driving better patient care. As a company committed to improving the lives of patients and providers, we are rooting for the success of our fellow innovators.
Learn more about CipherHealth's patient engagement technology here.