- The Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-J.P. Morgan Chase venture focused on shrinking employee healthcare costs has retained Cambridge, Massachusetts-based consulting firm Monitor Group to advise on strategies for enhancing care of people with chronic diseases, STAT reports.
- The move indicates the companies' desire to better manage outcomes and costs of employees who access the healthcare system on a frequent and ongoing basis, assisted by data and mobile technologies.
- With rising healthcare costs cutting into company margins, employers are seeking new ways to improve employee wellness and avoid preventable episodes of care.
The liaison with Monitor Group, Deloitte's business consulting arm, comes just weeks after Atul Gawande, the Harvard Medical School surgery professor and New Yorker staff writer picked to lead the still-unnamed venture, tapped Jack Stoddard to be chief operations officer.
Stoddard previously served as general manager for digital health at Comcast. While there, he helped Comcast ventures-backed startup Accolade, an on-demand navigator aimed at steering employees to inexpensive medical care.
Gawande's June hiring raised eyebrows over his lack of executive experience, but these moves suggest he is eager to move the ball forward. Still, there remain skeptics.
Hiring major consulting firm -- feel the disruption. https://t.co/bkSrT5aTuY— Craig Garthwaite (@C_Garthwaite) September 20, 2018
The three business dynamos announced plans to form an independent entity to tackle the healthcare needs of their combined 1.2 million U.S. employees in January. Since then, however, little has been disclosed about they will aim to achieve that goal.
Focusing on chronic diseases is a good starting point as that's where the costs pile up. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 86% of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual healthcare bill is for patients with chronic and mental health conditions. If Monitor Group can help the new company fine-tune its strategies for chronically ill employees, it could see improvements in employee health, productivity and costs.
For example, a Health Affairs study published earlier this year found that a population health program expanding access to care and considering social determinants of health reduced emergency department and inpatient care, cutting costs.