Amazon-JPMorgan-Berkshire health venture should focus these 2 things, experts suggest

The Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-JPMorgan Chase joint health venture should focus on not just treating disease, but preventing it, according to 23andMe CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki and Stephen Quake, PhD, co-president of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, CNBC reports.

Ms. Wojcicki and Dr. Quake spoke as part of an Oct. 15 panel during the Wired 25th anniversary summit in San Francisco.

The two health leaders also offered some advice to the health venture's CEO Atul Gawande, MD, on where he should spend the initiative's time and resources.

Dr. Quake said Dr. Gawande should focus the joint venture's efforts on increasing life expectancy. While studies suggest mortality rates have declined during each decade in Western nations like the U.S., the trend has started to backslide as heart disease, diabetes and other conditions become more prevalent. Recent research also indicates lower-income Caucasians' health has declined, due in part to drug and alcohol abuse and suicide, the report states.

Ms. Wojcicki, on the other hand, suggested the health initiative could have a substantial impact by focusing on disease prevention. She said insurers typically bypass coverage for programs, tests and lifestyle interventions because the benefits of such initiatives are not immediately apparent, and because "someone else might pay for [such programs]."

Both experts agreed the Amazon-JPMorgan-Berkshire venture provides a unique opportunity to drive results because of the size and influence the three founding companies have, and the amount of talent and technology available to them, the report states.

To access the full report, click here.

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