Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase will partner on building new healthcare solutions
In a bid to improve the lives of its US employees and tackle the escalating costs of healthcare, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase have partnered to address the ongoing complexities within the healthcare industry and transform the lives of its workers. If successful, the model could be rolled out across the US.
The three heavyweights will bring long-standing technical and multi-industry expertise in the development of new, customer-focused tech solutions, which will enable improved, high quality and overall transparency within the healthcare sector, in addition to reduced healthcare costs.
The companies employ over a million workers, where its new non-for-profit organisation will seek to remain free from all profit-making solutions.
Amazon’s four core principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking will further enable it to become a key player in the disruption of the healthcare sector and the subsequent development of new digital health tools.
“The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” explained Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett.
Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable. Rather, we share the belief that putting our collective resources behind the country’s best talent can, in time, check the rise in health costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes.”
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“The healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty,” observed Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “Hard as it might be, reducing healthcare’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort. Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation.”
“Our people want transparency, knowledge and control when it comes to managing their healthcare,” says Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase. “Our companies have extraordinary resources, and our goal is to create solutions that benefit our US employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans,” he added.
Although the company has announced plans are in their early stages, it has been reported that shares in healthcare companies, ranging in all areas such as pharmaceutical, drug distribution and insurance, fell upon the announcement by up to 10% in some cases.
The company will be headed by three lead executives – one from each company. Todd Combs will be the lead at Berkshire Hathaway, Marvelle Sulivan will represent JPMorgan Chase and Beth Galetti will be the spokesperson and driver from Amazon.
"If this winds up being the low cost provider to make insurance more affordable at employer level, it could wind up being a real disruptive competitor to an industry that has not seen any new players in years/decades," Jefferies analyst Jared Holz informed CNBC.
Birdie aims to reinvent elderly care with tech
British startup Birdie has announced it has raised £8.2 million to invest in innovation and scale up the business.
The company's announcement is timely as it follows the criticism of the UK government over their lack of a plan for social care, despite acknowledging the sector is in crisis - around a quarter of the UK's home care providers are on the brink of bankruptcy due to a lack of funds and staffing.
Birdie was born with a mission to "radically improve the lives of millions of older adults", by using app-based solutions, IoT and machine learning to put preventative care at the forefront. The company was founded by Max Parmentier, after experiencing his own frustrations with the care system - his grandfather struggled with the impact of life in a care home, but lacked any other option.
In 2017 Parmentier partnered with venture builder Kamet Ventures to set up Birdie, in a bid to fix this problem. Since then, Birdie has partnered with almost 500 providers across the UK, and supports more than 20,000 older people every week. In the past 12 months alone the number of people Birdie supports has got six times greater.
Birdie’s solution is an app to help care providers deliver more coordinated, personalised and preventative care, by giving them access to digital assessments, medication scheduling and planning tools. By using digital tools to take care of admin, staff have more time to spend with their care recipients.
The new investment will be used to fund Birdie’s next phase of growth in the UK, as the company scales to meet the rapidly growing demand of the aging population. The company will also invest in product innovation, creating new features to address customer requests.
In addition, Birdie is piloting new care models, including partnering with the NHS to identify COVID-19 symptoms, building predictive pharmacy models with AI, and helping health authorities to detect early warning signs of patients’ health risks.
Internally, Birdie is committed to having a progressive company ethos. All salaries are transparent, and staff work asynchronously to maximise flexibility and equity. Staff members also volunteer in their local community during office hours, and the company offsets all its emissions.
These efforts have led to numerous awards, including having the best SME culture in the UK, an Honorable Mention in the Health category of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards, and innovation in care at the LangBuisson awards.
“We believe the future of care for older people should be helping them to live at home for as long as possible through the delivery of personalised and preventative care" Parmentier said.
"Birdie is already the partner of choice for caregivers up and down the UK, and this new funding will help us rapidly increase the number we partner with and what we can offer them - meaning more people benefiting from more affordable, quality care. We’re proud of our mission and the values we embody to pursue it.”