Monday June 24, 2019

Amazon, JP Morgan Chase And Berkshire To Lead The Health Care Firm

Amazon's participation and customer-first focus will be crucial

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This combination of file photos from left shows Warren Buffett on Sept. 19, 2017, in New York, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, on Sept. 24, 2013, in Seattle and JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon on July 12, 2013, in New York. logo LANGUAGES SEARCH search text ... Amazon, Buffett, JPMorgan Pick Gawande to Lead Health Firm Share SILICON VALLEY & TECHNOLOGY Amazon, Buffett, JPMorgan Pick Gawande to Lead Health Firm June 20, 2018 12:17 PM Associated Press FILE- This combination of file photos from left shows Warren Buffett on Sept. 19, 2017, in New York, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, on Sept. 24, 2013, in Seattle and JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon on July 12, 2013, in New York. FILE- This combination of file photos from left shows Warren Buffett on Sept. 19, 2017, in New York, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, on Sept. 24, 2013, in Seattle and JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon on July 12, 2013, in New York.
This combination of file photos from left shows Warren Buffett on Sept. 19, 2017, in New York, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, on Sept. 24, 2013, in Seattle and JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon on July 12, 2013, in New York. logo LANGUAGES SEARCH search text ... Amazon, Buffett, JPMorgan Pick Gawande to Lead Health Firm Share SILICON VALLEY & TECHNOLOGY Amazon, Buffett, JPMorgan Pick Gawande to Lead Health Firm June 20, 2018 12:17 PM Associated Press FILE- This combination of file photos from left shows Warren Buffett on Sept. 19, 2017, in New York, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, on Sept. 24, 2013, in Seattle and JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon on July 12, 2013, in New York. FILE- This combination of file photos from left shows Warren Buffett on Sept. 19, 2017, in New York, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, on Sept. 24, 2013, in Seattle and JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon on July 12, 2013, in New York. Flickr

Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway have picked well-known author and Harvard professor Dr. Atul Gawande to transform the health care they give their employees.

The three corporate titans said Wednesday that Gawande will lead an independent company focused on a mission they announced earlier this year: figure out ways to improve a broken and often inefficient system for delivering care.

Health care researchers have said any possible solutions produced by this new venture will be felt well beyond the estimated 1 million workers the three companies employ in the United States. Other businesses that provide employee health coverage are eager to find solutions for health care costs that often rise faster than inflation and squeeze their budgets in the process.

Berkshire Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett has described health costs as a “hungry tapeworm on the American economy.”

Leaders of the three companies have said little about how their Boston-based venture plans to tackle this problem, but they have noted that it will take time to figure out solutions, a point they emphasized again on Wednesday.

Dr. Atul Gawande
Dr. Atul Gawande, flickr

“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,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a prepared statement. “[Gawande] embodies all three, and we’re starting strong as we move forward in this challenging and worthwhile endeavor.”

Employer-sponsored insurance covers about 157 million people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s nearly half the total U.S. population and the biggest slice of the country’s patchwork health insurance market.

Neither companies nor many of their employees are happy with how the system currently works. Employers have reacted in part to rising expenses by raising deductibles and other costs, asking their workers to pay more of the bill and to shop around for better deals. Many patients, especially the sickest, struggle with that.

Gawande is surgeon and professor at both Harvard’s Medical School and its T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He said in a statement Wednesday that he has devoted his career in public health to building solutions for better care delivery, and that while the current system is broken, “better is possible.”

The consortium’s leaders have said they aren’t looking for a quick fix. JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said during an appearance on CNBC earlier this month that fraud in the system, high administrative costs and the overuse and underuse of some drugs are among the many complications that must be improved.

The three companies said in late January that their new venture will focus on technology that provides simplified, high-quality and transparent care.

Amazon’s participation and customer-first focus will be crucial, according to Brian Marcotte, CEO of the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit that represents large employers.

He noted that employers already offer ways to help patients shop for care or see a doctor remotely through telemedicine. But people don’t use this technology unless they need it, so they haven’t grown comfortable with it.

That could change if they go through a well-known platform like Amazon, which could then reach into its vast trove of customer data to personalize the shopping, Marcotte said. If, for instance, you are a runner considering knee surgery, Amazon could lay out the best or common practices for your condition and maybe show that surgery isn’t your only option.

JP Morgan Chase 2008
JP Morgan Chase 2008, flickr

Also read: Tips That Can Help in Boost Healthy Living

“It’s not only reaching people in the moment, it’s the possibility to reach people with relevant personalized messaging that will engage them,” Marcotte said. (VOA)

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Amazon, Toshiba Announce First Budget-friendly TV with Dolby Vision

The company has continued to iterate on the Fire TV software to embrace Alexa voice controls as well

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Google , US, Alexa, Amazon, Drones, e-commerce
The logo of Amazon, online retailer is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, France. VOA

E-commerce giant Amazon has announced the first budget-friendly Toshiba-branded 4K TV with built-in Fire TV software and Dolby Vision.

Up until now, the Dolby Vision — which is an HDR format that offers a wider colour palette and brighter highlights — has been widely available in premium-priced smart TVs, it is still trickling down to entry-level sets.

The Toshiba set would be available in 55-inch, 43-inch and 50-inch variants for $449.99, $329.99 and $379.99 respectively, The Verge reported on Thursday. The TVs would be available exclusively on Amazon and Best Buy stores.

The news comes as Amazon prepares to open an installation at the Dolby experiential space in New York City’s Soho neighbourhood where it would showcase theatre-like viewing experience with Dolby’s audio and visual technologies on recent Fire TV hardware.

TV
Smart televisions are becoming a popular trend.

Amazon’s Fire TV has over 34 million active monthly users and the company currently includes the Stick.

The Fire TV Stick 4K supports Dolby Vision, while the Cube offers Dolby Atmos audio but not the visual side, the report added.

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The company has continued to iterate on the Fire TV software to embrace Alexa voice controls as well.

The Fire TV Edition with Dolby Vision was a necessary step for Amazon to better square off with the line-up of Roku TVs on the market like TCL, which already offers Dolby Vision output, the report noted. (IANS)