Digital health: Remember that term.
Jack Stoddard was general manager of digital health at Comcast Corp. until, CNBC reported, he was hired last week as chief operating officer of the new nonprofit health care company formed by Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and JPMorgan Chase.
At the new Amazon-Berkshire-Chase venture (nicknamed ABC, because it doesn’t have a formal name yet), Stoddard will work for CEO Atul Gawande, a Harvard surgeon and writer, to find ways to make U.S. health care better and less costly.
They’re starting with the 1.2 million employees of the three companies but plan to make their methods available to other employers, too.
According to HealthCare IT, Comcast’s digital health effort is partnering with Blue Cross affiliate Independence Health Group to create a “platform” to improve the efficiency and experience of care for consumers.
The idea is to give patients access to information about their health through digital devices and other channels so they can better manage their care, improving outcomes and lowering costs.
A new report by Castlight Health points out that there are 300,000 health-related apps in Apple’s App Store, letting people track their physical and mental conditions, treatments and nearly any other possible health data.
“The digital health ecosystem is exploding, to the tune of billions of dollars a year in new investment,” the report says.
Although the ABC venture has not elaborated on Stoddard’s duties and isn’t discussing its progress, his job would seem to include looking at what’s available already and working with the tech geniuses at the sponsoring companies to come up with the best system.
If that dials back health care costs without harming the quality of care, it’s certainly worth trying, as Buffett has said.
The Omaha World-Herald is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.