Amazon is looking for a data scientist to study why costs keep rising but people aren’t healthier

Oct. 18, 2018

Amazon is dropping some hints about the kind of skills the company is looking for in its healthcare partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan.

According to a new job posting, Amazon’s health benefits department is looking to add a data scientist to its ranks, a role that will involve “external partners including the new healthcare venture.”

The listing said the responsibilities will include collecting and analyzing data, supporting population health initiatives, and serving as a “subject matter expert.” The candidate will work closely with the new Boston-based joint venture, which is building out its own team under the leadership of Atul Gawande.

The details of Gawande’s health venture are still vague, but early announcements suggest that the companies will use technology and data science to bring down the cost of employees’ healthcare while improving quality.

For large companies, it’s still uncommon to hire technologists and data scientists into their benefits departments. But that’s starting to change, with companies such as Amazon leading the charge.

That’s because healthcare is a unique problem for many companies. Worker healthcare costs have continued to escalate in recent years, but health outcomes aren’t improving. Data scientists could dig into the numbers and figure out what’s going wrong.

The right candidate will “perform advanced integrated comprehensive reporting, consultative, and analytical expertise to provide healthcare cost and utilization data and translate findings into actionable information for internal and external stakeholders,” the post reads. In other words, they will figure out why healthcare is so expensive, but employees aren’t much healthier.

In addition to hiring data scientists, Amazon is also investing resources in building its own employee health clinics. The company is starting small with a pilot for Seattle employees, CNBC reported in August.

CNBC has the full article

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