Dr. Atul Gawande: Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture will tackle 3 types of healthcare waste

Atul Gawande, MD, a surgeon at Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital who was named CEO of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase's health company last week, said the corporation will take aim at healthcare intermediaries and attempt to tackle three types of waste prominent in the industry, Bloomberg reports.

The venture, which the companies announced in January, will seek to develop ways to improve care for the three companies' more than 1 million employees who receive health insurance from their respective employers. If their efforts are successful, the companies will reportedly make those innovations freely available to other firms, according to the report.

During a presentation June 23, Dr. Gawande, 52, said his role is to determine how exactly to improve employees' access to care.

"My job for them is to figure out ways that we're going to drive better outcomes, better satisfaction with care and better cost efficiency with new models that can be incubated for all," he said.

Dr. Gawande, who will begin in his new role at the Boston-based company July 9, also said the venture will aim to target three kinds of waste in the current U.S. healthcare system: administrative costs, high prices and improper healthcare usage. Relating to administrative costs, he acknowledged, "There are a lot of middlemen in the system, and there have to be solutions that simplify that, take some of the middlemen out of the system," Bloomberg reports.

Despite being named chief executive of the companies' venture to tackle employees' healthcare, Dr. Gawande said employer-based coverage is becoming less tenable in today's economic climate.

"Tying how you get your health to your place of employment is going to become less and less tenable as fewer and fewer people are getting coverage through their employment," he said, according to Bloomberg. "Even though I'm going to work for a bunch of employers, employer-based care is broken."

To access the full report, click here.

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