One of the most common complaints about the current state of our costly, cumbersome U.S. health care system is the lack of control that many of us feel in every single interaction. Innovators, thinkers and creators have been pushing against these industry tendencies for years with little to no success. Brand leaders have worked to make their experiences more accessible and more seamless, yet the consumer reaction to health care remains consistently frustrated.

Today’s announcement by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase that they will pursue a new model of health care for their employees represents a potentially transformative step. Different from recent health care merger news by CVS and Aetna—which is really just a new combination of entities still operating the same way—this announcement begins from the ground up. Unburdened by the legacies of health and health care, these organizations will start without the handcuffs that have limited innovation in the industry.

Imagine for a moment…a health organization with the ability to individually customize the experience like Amazon, with the no-nonsense pragmatism of Berkshire Hathaway, and supported by the financial resources and physical footprint of JPMorgan Chase. The unique cultures, histories and leaders of these organizations could make real change happen.

But, what does this mean for health care leaders today? Here are the three things on our minds:

  • Consumers are demanding experiences tailored to their individual perspective, challenges and mindset. How do you adapt the one-on-one experience with patients to make sure they feel prioritized in the same way that Amazon customizes shopping experiences?
  • The proliferation of complexity in health care is confusing and frustrating for both patients and providers. What happens if we were to incorporate a relentless pragmatism and an orientation to do what’s right by people at every touchpoint across the experience as Berkshire Hathaway does in its approach to long-term investing?
  • While accessibility and ease are high-priority drivers of brand choice in health care, there are natural limitations to how we provide physical and virtual interactions with patients. Are we using our physical footprint in the most flexible way possible as JPMorgan Chase has done in rethinking the retail bank for the future?

While this announcement is more idea than action at this stage, these partners have the potential to do something that others in health care have struggled to deliver: a real transformation in how we empower people, on their terms, to be their healthiest (and happiest).

Justin Wartell
January 30, 2018 By Justin Wartell