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June 20, 2018

Atul Gawande will lead Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan health care venture

Daily Briefing

    Atul Gawande—a prominent surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital who is widely viewed as an expert on patient safety—will lead the new Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase health care venture, the three companies announced Wednesday.

    Partnership details

    Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan announced the partnership in January. At the time, the three companies said their goal was to identify "technology solutions" that would provide "simplified, high-quality, and transparent health care at a reasonable cost." The three companies said the new health care company will be "free from profit-making incentives and constraints."

    In February, Berkshire Chair Warren Buffett in a CNBC interview added that the venture aims to find a lower-cost way of delivering better health care.

    The new company, which remains unnamed, will be based in Boston, where Gawande works as a surgeon and teaches at Harvard's medical and public health schools.

    Gawande named CEO

    Gawande will assume the role of CEO on July 9. Gawande in a note to friends and colleagues said he would not be stepping down from his roles at Harvard or Brigham and would continue writing on health care. However, he said he plans to transition from his current role of executive director at Ariadne Labs, which works on solving problems affecting health systems around the world, to chair of the organization.

    "I have devoted my public health career to building scalable solutions for better health care delivery that are saving lives, reducing suffering, and eliminating wasteful spending both in the United States and across the world," Gawande said in a statement. He added, "Now I have the backing of these remarkable organizations to pursue this mission with even greater impact for more than a million people, and in doing so incubate models of care for all."

    Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, in the release said, "We said at the outset that the degree of difficulty is high and success is going to require an expert's knowledge, a beginner's mind, and a long-term orientation," adding, "Atul embodies all three, and we’re starting strong as we move forward in this challenging and worthwhile endeavor."

    Buffet in the release added, "Talent and dedication were manifest among the many professionals we interviewed. All felt that better care can be delivered and that rising costs can be checked. Jamie, Jeff and I are confident that we have found in Atul the leader who will get this important job done" (Joseph, STAT News, 6/20; Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase release, 6/20).

    Learn more about the joint venture

    Want to read more on the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture? Check out our archives

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