Three leaders – Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, with the clout, resources and creativity to build and demonstrate real positive impact announced they are turning healthcare upside down.
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase employ a combined 1.2 million people. Add family and the number of people potentially impacted rises to over 3 million. It is safe to assume that the composition of group demographics is likely to represent broad, statistically relevant clinical condition diversity, ethnicity, education and financial status. A population this large is big enough to enable deep learning about three keys to evolve from a society coping with chronic conditions and life-threatening diseases to one promoting long, healthy life styles:
- How to incentivize, direct, support and motivate personal accountability for individual health.
- How an employer (or other social entity – like government) can build environments for employees and families (citizens) that encourage and sustain healthy lifestyles.
- How healthcare regimens can be developed and evolved to prevent, avoid or cure health declines and sustain active, productive, satisfying fitness over a lifetime.
This combination of people, brains, leadership and resources could provide the impetus to tackle root causes of healthcare overconsumption and inconsistency in treatment outcomes, reducing exorbitant and accelerating costs. Instead of revisiting current healthcare industry structures, unit costs, experiments and technology “innovations”, they can do something very different to aggressively promote health:
Design health merit-based “carrot and stick” programs, which motivate and reward employees and their families to get engaged in their own health and wellness. The carrot? Financial incentives to achieve a schedule of personal and family wellness/fitness goals, comply with medically sound, personalized lifestyle guidance and avoid high risk activities. The “stick”? Apply a sliding scale program of medical cost coverage support/sharing that takes family “wellness” into account. Participants that achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles and general fitness/maintenance are rewarded with lower cost medical benefits. Less compliant members incur higher costs of health services commensurate with increased consumption.
Offer free genome sequencing/testing for everyone. Use the results to establish personalized healthy living programs, providing supplement regimens, nutrition coaching, and medications as needed to help every participant achieve the healthiest life experience they are capable of.
Provide personal fitness monitoring devices, coaching and support. Personal performance and compliance data helps us see the benefits of our efforts, encourages discipline, and healthy social interaction while supporting incentive/disincentive programs.
Combine genome, fitness, medication/supplement regimens, and all medical record information from any doctor/hospital encounters into a single, secure big data repository. Engage data scientists and analytic tools to discover more precise, effective medications and other therapies – accelerate development and application of Precision Medicine.
Utilize our healthcare system to do what it does best: administer provider reimbursement, provide health repair services and complex health condition management – when a health condition cure is still beyond our science.
Support employees and families with an environment of healthy nutrition choices, active and balanced lifestyles, social and emotional experiences. Offer education and advancement opportunities in the workplace – an expanding economy should help with that one. People in touch with their own value take care of themselves and others more than those who are not.
The US healthcare system does not have to be “fixed” to improve wellness or reduce the cost of care. If consumers are actively and realistically supported to be healthy, healthcare service utilization will decline. Reduced and significantly shifted composition of utilization will drive restructuring of the healthcare industry to serve a healthier population.
Mr. Buffett, if you want to kill the tapeworm – starve it! Reduce medical service demand by improving health. Mr. Bezos, apply Amazon’s ability to understand and enable consumer behavior to motivate employees to take great care of themselves and their families. You can solve healthy eating choices with Whole Foods and distribution skills, provide information and feedback via Alexa, host secure big patient data with Amazon Web Services, and attract the data science competence to create meaningful analytics. Mr. Dimon, you can drive investment into precision medicine and personal health technologies, accelerating evolution of medical practice to medical science.
Let’s motivate healthy behavior; deliver preventative maintenance and support through science and technology; provide access to proactive, precise therapies for those who face difficult conditions through heredity or misadventure; change social/cultural habits that drive poor health. Assemble truly comprehensive and deeply granular health data for every participant. Use it to deliver precision medicine where it is available and to discover/create it when it is not. Pressure the healthcare system, force it to react and adapt to new healthy market realities.
Suggest we get straight to the main point/ takeaways: This combination of people, brains, leadership and resources could provide the impetus to tackle root causes of healthcare overconsumption and inconsistency in treatment outcomes, reducing exorbitant and accelerating costs. Because they have no shackles, no vested interest other than applying the much-needed novel and long-haul approach to solving the big, hairy, systematic problem that US healthcare has become. This initiative can discover, build, and deliver a different healthcare experience – one focused on staying healthy, vigorous, energetic and vibrant for as long as that can be achieved.