NYU Langone Health tests out Amazon Business programs
NYU Langone Health is a "strategic development partner" with Amazon Business, the online marketplace for institutions, said Chris Holt, leader of global healthcare at Amazon.
Holt spoke Thursday on the NYU Langone campus in Manhattan for the health system's Health Tech Summit. He described how hospitals must adapt for the digital age and, of course, how Amazon could help them do it.
NYU Langone held the event in part to promote its health-tech hub, which conducts outreach to early stage companies that might partner with the system, said Dr. Christopher Morris, NYU Langone's associate director for digital health innovation.
An NYU Langone spokeswoman said the health system was "in talks about partnership and participating in some pilot opportunities" with Amazon but declined to elaborate beyond that description.
One of Amazon Business's major entries into healthcare has been as a supplier. Holt said that large organizations often spend 80% of their procurement budget with 20% of their suppliers, and the remaining 20% of spending is split between 80% of vendors. Amazon is looking to consolidate that share.
He said that NYU Langone is in "pilot mode" with Amazon Business, which allows organizations' procurement offices to select certain products for employees to reorder.
Amazon Business said in July 2017 that its platform selling supplies to customers in healthcare, education, government and other business categories had more than 1 million U.S. customers.
Not all area health systems have jumped at the opportunity to work with Amazon. Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling told Crain's in April that Northwell had discussions with the company about its medical-supply business. It ultimately decided to continue using its internal group-purchasing organization and Acurity, the purchasing organization of the Greater New York Hospital Association.
Holt said Amazon's interest in hospitals goes beyond medical and office supplies. He noted that Amazon's Alexa device can help patients perform tasks such as adjusting the lights and lowering the shades. NYU Langone has begun using Alexa in some of its recovery rooms, he said. The company is also interested in remaking hospital cafeterias through its Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods brands.
Hospitals need to improve the patient experience if they are going to attract customers as more care moves online, Holt said.
He cited the example of his daughter's emergency hospital visit. Several months afterward, Holt began receiving bills totaling $130,000. After his insurance company's share, he was left to pay only about $2,600. But it was the billing experience, not the quality of care his daughter received, that lingered in his memory.
"This experience is unacceptable in any other industry on Earth except for healthcare," Holt said.
With the rise in telehealth, proximity and a family's history with a hospital won't be enough to attract patients, he said.
"Probably in the next 10 years, I'm only going to interact with a person for the most acute care issues in my life. Everything else will be done digitally," Holt said. "You're going to have reinvent your brand in a digital setting with a new type of customer."
"NYU Langone Health tests out Amazon Business programs" originally appeared in Crain's New York Business.
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