YARMOUTH, Maine – A new nonprofit healthcare company that’s in the works by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase could lead to greater use of telehealth, industry experts say.
Officials at the companies have said their initial focus will be on technology solutions that improve care and reduce cost for their U.S. employees.
“The most immediate and practical approach that this new organization may bring is the greater use of telehealth services,” said Ashraf Shehata, a partner with the Global Healthcare Center of Excellence at KPMG. “Regulation is easing and allowing the market to catch up to the technological capabilities.”
The companies are spot on with their focus on technology, says Michael Hough, executive vice president and founder of Advance Medical, a telehealth services provider. If technology were better leveraged, physicians would have more time with patients.
“If physicians had more time with patients, the overall quality improvement will drive down the cost of health care,” he said.
While industry experts agree with the direction of new company, they acknowledge it won’t be easy to accomplish.
“I wish them the best of luck in shaking up our system,” Hough said.
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan say they’re aware of the degree of difficulty in attempting to disrupt a complex health care system. They hope to use their combined capabilities and resources to come at those difficulties with a fresh approach.
“The ballooning costs of health care act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” said Warren Buffett, CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, in a statement. “We share the belief that putting our collective resources behind the country’s best talent can, in time, check the rise in health costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes.”