The still-unnamed health venture being launched by Amazon, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has hired healthcare executive Jack Stoddard as its chief operating officer.
According to a statement from the health venture, Stoddard started his new role on Tuesday. Stoddard will work with Atul Gawande, M.D., a well-known surgeon, writer and public health innovator, who was named CEO of the initiative back in June. Gawande practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. He is also the founding executive director of the health systems innovation center, Ariadne Labs.
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced Jan. 30 that they were launching an initiative to improve satisfaction and reduce costs for their companies’ employees. “The three companies, which bring their scale and complementary expertise to this long-term effort, will pursue this objective through an independent company that is free from profit-making incentives and constraints. The initial focus of the new company will be on technology solutions that will provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost,” the companies said in the announcement.The news of Stoddard’s hiring as COO was first reported by CNBC on Tuesday. The healthcare executive most recently served as general manager for digital health at Comcast. He also was on the founding team of Accolade, a Comcast Ventures and Accretive-backed health technology and services company. He also was an executive at UnitedHealth Group for three years where he worked on the Optum unit.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Stoddard is a “senior operating leader with over two decades of experience applying technology, data, science, people, and design thinking to improve the healthcare consumer experience, elevate clinical quality and lower the total cost of care. He has proven leadership experience in understanding the market, setting growth strategy, and scaling transformational healthcare companies, including: Accolade, Optum, Health Dialog, and The Advisory Board.”
Stoddard is involved with a number of digital health startups, including serving on the board of directors at NovaSom, a health technology and services business moving care to the home and Carrot Inc., a digital health company backed by Khosla Ventures focused on smoking cessation. He also serves as an advisor for BehaveCare, a technology-enabled services company partnering with Medicaid managed care organizations to improved outcomes and reduce costs.
As noted by Politico, citing an August 31 New York Times article, Stoddard's previous employer, Comcast, is one company that has made progress in reinventing health benefits and the company reports it has kept health care costs flat for the past five years. Comcast's low growth in health care costs is due, in part, to its work with digital health startups and the company's ability to leverage technology, according to the New York Times article.According to a Bloombergarticle, the leaders of the three companies have warned it will take time for the effort to meet its goal of improving care for their workers.
“We’re not in a hurry,” Berkshire Chief Executive Officer Warren Buffett said in an interview last week on Bloomberg TV, the article stated. “We’d like to be in a hurry but we’re not going to try and do something faster than it can be done.”