Tag: amazon

Investor’s Business Daily quotes David Williams about Amazon in healthcare

November 20th, 2020 by

Investor’s Business Daily is out with a comprehensive and timely piece on Amazon’s bold moves in healthcare (Amazon’s Health Care Push Could Be Its Next Big Market Disruption). Even though Amazon has been weighing on the fortunes of traditional healthcare players for some time, the recent Amazon pharmacy announcement still shook up the market, driving down the shares of CVS, Rite Aid, etc.

David Williams is quoted

Amazon probably has the best shot at moving the needle. That’s because of its global, personalized connection to consumers, its high-speed delivery of packages, its powerful cloud computing unit and the wide variety of medical equipment on its e-commerce platform.

“Everyone in health care is scared of Amazon, and rightly so,” said David Williams, president at Health Business Group, a health care consultant. “Amazon is coming at it from all directions and they have the technology, scale and consumer focus needed to succeed.”

“All these companies will have to figure out how they stay alive,” Williams said.

 

Amazon bears down on healthcare. I’m quoted in Investor’s Business Daily

November 20th, 2020 by

Investor’s Business Daily is out with a comprehensive and timely piece on Amazon’s bold moves in healthcare (Amazon’s Health Care Push Could Be Its Next Big Market Disruption). Even though Amazon has been weighing on the fortunes of traditional healthcare players for some time, the recent Amazon pharmacy announcement still shook up the market, driving down the shares of CVS, Rite Aid, etc.

Amazon brings consumer focus, scale, and most importantly –low prices– to healthcare. The potential is dramatic, especially in the COVID-19 era when Amazon is on offense in general.

I’m quoted in the piece by author, Brian Deagon.

Amazon probably has the best shot at moving the needle. That’s because of its global, personalized connection to consumers, its high-speed delivery of packages, its powerful cloud computing unit and the wide variety of medical equipment on its e-commerce platform.

“Everyone in health care is scared of Amazon, and rightly so,” said David Williams, president at Health Business Group, a health care consultant. “Amazon is coming at it from all directions and they have the technology, scale and consumer focus needed to succeed.”

“All these companies will have to figure out how they stay alive,” Williams said.


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group

Amazon in healthcare: my HFMA keynote

June 4th, 2018 by

Alexa: What can we expect from Amazon in healthcare? That was the title of my keynote address at last week’s Massachusetts/Rhode Island Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) managed care conference.

My basic message was that while other tech companies have stumbled in healthcare or at best made a bunch of money without really impacting the overall system, Amazon has the potential to do a lot more. It is still unlikely to transform the system, but it has the best shot.

In particular, Amazon has the potential to help shift healthcare to the home, and to surround patients with the full complement of lifestyle products and services to address social determinants of health and wellness. Amazon Prime, Echo, Dash and Key give Amazon unparalleled access to the home and make the company the default for any purchase.

Amazon Web Services is also a strategic asset as healthcare moves to the cloud; new devices like the Echo Look (introduced as a fashion assistant) have real potential in healthcare, too.

The company’s very long term outlook (which I illustrated with a reference to Jeff Bezos’ 10,000 year clock) and the fact that everyone is willing to provide Amazon with free advice, are also differentiators.

I shared my perspective on the Amazon/Berkshire Hathaway/JP Morgan cooperative venture as well, leaning on the thoughts I posted in Amazon: Force the healthcare system to become patient-centric.

If you’re looking for a conference speaker to hold forth on Amazon’s potential in healthcare –or another health business topic– please feel free to contact me.

Photo credit: HFMA

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

Amazon: Force the healthcare system to become patient-centric

February 6th, 2018 by

The announcement that Amazon will work with JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to create a new healthcare organization for employees has health plans and providers running scared. Initial press coverage has focused on the impact of this group on the market value of CVS, United Healthcare and the like –but how many people really care about that?

CareCentrix CEO John Driscoll has the right idea when he suggests that Amazon should compel provider organizations to put the patient first –for real, not just rhetorically. His three specific suggestions are good ones: mandate self-service scheduling, introduce  a universal patient portal, and improve the quality of provider reviews. As simple and straightforward as those sound, they would require Amazon and its partners to overcome serious resistance. It will be fascinating to watch what happens.

Assuming Amazon can make those basic but challenging changes come to pass, I have two additional, ambitious suggestions to help patients:

  1. Ensure that patients receive clear, consistent, actionable follow-up information when they leave a doctor’s appointment or are discharged from the hospital.
  2. Use the full set of information available about a patient to anticipate their needs and help them navigate the system.

The first idea is a simple one, which should be happening anyway, and occasionally does. The challenge is to get the provider system to care enough about what happens upon discharge and provide the tools, training, information and support to enable more seamless and empowering transitions. I was shocked at how poor the discharge instructions were after my release from the emergency department a few months ago, after I was struck by a car. I received basically nothing and had to count on family and clients in the medical system to help me. I know I’m not the only one who’s had this experience.

The second idea is broader and vaguer, but starts to draw on the expertise of Amazon’s partners who are in the financial services and insurance industries and have a lot of information about their customers. The consortium could help patients chart their financial path through the healthcare system, helping them identify what insurance to select, how much to save in their HSA and FSA, and where and when to get their care. It could be a virtual concierge for patients, relying big data and machine learning to provide insights and continuous improvement.

If these suggestions were implemented they would have a high impact, even though they would not completely transform the system. It seems like about the right level for this group to shoot for. If they try to be bolder they will likely fail.

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By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

How formidable would Amazon be in pharmacy?

October 31st, 2017 by
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I’m a big fan and customer of Amazon, having placed thousands of orders since 1998. I understand why retailers (and other businesses) quake in their boots at the thought of Amazon disrupting them. As a healthcare insider, I also understand why healthcare companies are especially nervous. Deep down, we understand that US healthcare is tremendously wasteful and inefficient and that Amazon could make the industry look bad and eat its lunch.

Still, I’m not convinced that Amazon is going to take over the pharmacy business, the latest topic of discussion. The Wall Street Journal (Amazon’s push into pharmacy is full of promise and pitfalls) has a piece and we’re also told that CVS’s play for Aetna is a direct result of the Amazon threat.

My own recent experience with Amazon left a bitter taste in my mouth and provided a glimpse of just how hard pharmacy could be. I don’t usually take painkillers, but the past three weeks have been an exception. Since getting hit by a car while crossing the street, I have been a pretty good customer for OTC pain meds. On a recent Sunday I noticed I was running out of ibuprofen, and rather than asking family members to do one more errand, I used Amazon to place a same-day order.

I pressed the button around 9 am, and was promised that my order would be at my doorstep by 9 pm. By around noon the item was “out for delivery” but it hadn’t arrived by 8:30 pm and I was starting to get a little worried. Nine o’clock came and went, and Amazon switched my status to “delayed.” Finally I had to ask my wife to go out to the pharmacy, which luckily for us is close by and open late. I would have had a difficult night without my refill.

Eventually Amazon canceled the order and said my address was undeliverable –a weird claim for a home that receives Amazon shipments nearly every day.

Most of the skepticism about Amazon’s entry into pharmacy focuses on new complexities like third-party payment, which are admittedly pretty serious. But my own experience shows that Amazon’s current infrastructure isn’t robust enough for the basics, so I definitely won’t be among the first to sign up for AmazonRx.

Of course Amazon isn’t the only one with shipment woes, and this experience was an exception to my usual good ones. Still, it gives me pause.


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

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