Haven no more

Three years ago, the healthcare industry was ruffled by the announcement that the CEOs of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase were teaming up to solve the problems of expensive employee health care. The goal was to have these three heavy hitters collaborate and find a better way to provide care while lowering costs.

Flash forward to today, and CNBC announces that Haven is shutting down. Some are thinking that the venture didn’t pan out as collaborative as the organizations really weren’t fully engaged. Others wonder if maybe the problem is just too big even for these companies to address. The American Health Care Industrial Complex is a multi-trillion dollar ecosystem, and not clear that cutting costs is beneficial for all the players.

The timing of the closure is a bit ironic given the current pandemic which has highlighted a number of vulnerabilities in the health care system. If Haven wasn’t able to make progress, then what type of organization and/or collaborations need to be put into place in order to improve outcomes and lower costs? There is no doubt that emerging tech will play a key role, and big data/ML will be at the forefront. But tech remains rather not-human, and healthcare ideally should be patient-centric. Will the tech become more human(e) or will care become even more of a numbers game? Time will tell.

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