Medicine

Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan name Atul Gawande CEO of joint healthcare venture

Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan name Atul Gawande CEO of joint healthcare venture

The health care brainchild of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett officially has a chief executive.

Gawande practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital and is a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, both located in Boston, where the new company will be headquartered. Candidates later were asked to deliver a white paper on how they would create a model for the way employers buy health benefits, what team the CEO would need to execute that strategy and how the new enterprise would use data analytics, the people said. He said it will look for ways to help employees make better choices for their care and give them the best options available. Gawande, who now practices general and endocrine surgery at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and is a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, will assume the position on July 9.

The three companies said in late January that their new venture will focus on technology that provides simplified, high-quality and transparent care. Amazon, Berkshire and JPMorgan collectively employ more than 1 million people. Many patients, especially the sickest, struggle with that.

Munger thought the article was so socially useful that he blindly mailed Gawande a $20,000 check, Buffett told CNBC at the time. Companies are asking them to pay more of their care bills and to shop around for better deals.

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Meanwhile, healthcare companies are embarking on a wave of unconventional deals to broaden the services they offer. The move rattled shares of the healthcare supply chain, including CVS Health and Express Scripts, among others.

Amazon, Berkshire and JPMorgan announced the joint venture in January, saying US healthcare costs were rising too fast and holding back economic growth. Buffett has said his ambitions are larger. The new organization is meant to come up with ways to address the health care costs for the companies' employees, though its founders have indicated they hope that it comes up with solutions that could be spread across the entire US health system.

Dimon, in his annual letter to his bank's shareholders, also laid out a broader agenda: aligning incentives among doctors, insurers and patients; reducing fraud and waste; giving employees more access to tele-medicine and better wellness programs; and figuring out why so much money is spent on end-of-life care.


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