A new Amazon hire hints at doctor strategy for the Haven joint healthcare venture (AMZN, JPM, BRK.A)

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After a long-awaited name reveal last week, Haven — the joint healthcare venture formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase’s healthcare joint venture (JV) — announced it’s hiring Dr. Sandhya Rao as VP of clinical strategy, according to CNBC.

Rao most recently served an internist at Boston-based Mass General Hospital and senior medical director for Partners Population Health, a Boston-based health system. For context, Haven was announced in 2018 with the broad goal of reducing healthcare costs for the trio’s 1.2 million combined employees, but has mostly been tight-lipped about its strategy.

Here’s what it means: Rao is the latest in a slew of recent hires as Haven aggressively staffs up its team. Since crowning surgeon Atul Gawande as CEO in June 2018, Haven’s gone on a hiring spree.

Here’s a look at the recent hires we think offer the best insight into Haven’s plans for the healthcare industry:

At Partners, Rao was responsible for advancing value-based care (VBC), a burgeoning payment model that compensates doctors based on cost-effective patient outcomes, rather than the number of services rendered. Given Haven’s stated goal of reducing costs, it makes sense for Haven to bring in Rao’s expertise.
Jack Stoddard — appointed Haven COO in September 2018 — previously served as COO and CSO of digital health company Accolade. Accolade offers employees price transparency tools and recommendations on the appropriate type of care to seek — with the aim of encouraging employees to utilize low-cost healthcare services.
And Haven named Serkan Kutan — who most recently served as the CTO of ZocDoc — CTO in February 2019. Kutan’s experience suggests he could have a hand in developing a consumer-facing platform that leans on transparent pricing to steer the JV’s employees toward inexpensive healthcare services.

The bigger picture: Haven’s hires hint it may be gearing up to form or contract with its own network of doctors in order to reduce healthcare costs.

Haven’s recent focus on staffing executives with experience in VBC and delivering transparent healthcare pricing to employers could indicate that Haven plans to build a curated network of doctors, CNBC notes. Haven could then develop consumer-facing platforms — à la Zocdoc and Accolade — that guide workers to low-cost, high-quality doctors in Haven’s network. It makes sense for Haven to focus on provider costs: Payments for physician services made up 20% of US healthcare spending — nearly $7 billion — in 2017, per the most recent data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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Source:: Business Insider – Science

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