An announcement last week by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan that they plan to form an independent health care company has created significant discussion. The three corporate giants released little detail on how the new company will operate, but in a joint statement they outlined the “initial focus would be on identifying technology solutions with an aim to improve employee satisfaction and reduce health care costs.” Given their combined 1 million employees, the three companies have a built-in audience with known risks to test and refine new products.
The news is the latest in a series of announcements that signal continued changes in health care and increased focus on “consumerism”. CVS Health and Aetna have joined forces to offer cheaper, more convenient access to care and services. Apple is working on solutions to make medical records available on patients’ phones and four major health systems have plans to launch a not-for-profit generic drug company. All of these announcements indicate a growing area of “disruptive innovations” that arise when there is significant transformative change.
While rising costs of health care and the need for easy access and convenience motivate companies to explore innovative ideas, consumers also expect more in the way of convenience. Accessing health care records and sharing information between providers is difficult when electronic records systems don’t “talk” to each other – and working through the health insurance claims process can be difficult, at best. There is room for innovation and improvements.
The South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO) has a long history of working collectively with the state legislature and congress to support consumers and health care providers navigate these challenging times. Joining together, our focus remains on ensuring access, advancing healthy communities and quality outcomes, identifying innovative solutions, developing new care delivery models, reducing the regulatory burden and improving overall efficiency.