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Alexa, Order Me Affordable Healthcare

By Ame Wadler

Doctor

While there is not a lot of detail available related to the Amazon Alexa, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase announce their initiative to form a new healthcare entity, there’s no question that its intent – to find a more efficient and affordable path to health for employees and ultimately, all Americans – is beyond critical.

Advances in technology have contributed in numerous ways to the cost of care – whether it’s the technology that allows us to be a more sedentary society or the innovations that has enabled us to live much longer – but not always healthier.

So, it stands to reason that the solve for the inefficiencies and waste that contribute to our healthcare costs can be found in technology. But, as the clearly brilliant minds behind the new enterprise know, that’s easier said than done. It will take all of their collective – and different – experience and brainpower to affect true change because technology alone is not the solve.

Think about how long it took to put electronic medical records into action – and they are still not fully utilized. Or, the challenges facing hospital systems who are drowning in data to inform population health – but lacking in insights that would enable efficient solutions patient by patient.

At the heart of it, healthcare is a human engagement. One in which people are vulnerable, seeking comfort and reassurance that can’t come solely from their phones or an electronic funnel of information.  Despite criticisms of health professionals as being money-motivated or uncaring, the vast majority of people who chose medicine as a profession did so because of their desire to connect people to a better life.

True change will require a revolution in how we think about healthcare delivery and consumption.  If we could simply start from scratch we would lean into technology to drive wellness, something the motivated among us can derive from our phones.   Unfortunately, we are more than a little ways off from Amazon Alexa finding us affordable care, we do urge Alexa to help her bosses find a solution.