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Amazon to form healthcare company with 2 partners

BY David Salazar

Amazon is teaming up with two big-name companies to create a new healthcare company. Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase will form an independent company that they said will address health care for the companies’ employees with the aim of lowering costs and improving satisfaction — outside a focus on profit making and other constraints.

The initial focus of the new company will be tech solutions that can make quality, transparent health care accessible at a manageable cost, the three companies said. They noted that this new long-term venture would leverage the scale of each of them alongside their various specialties.

“The healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty,” Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said. “Hard as it might be, reducing healthcare’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort. Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation.”

The three companies bring significant financial and operational scale to healthcare. Berkshire Hathaway had $27.4 billion in comprehensive income for the full-year 2016, Amazon is projected to report earnings around $177.3 billion for its full-year 2017 on Thursday and JPMorgan Chase controls $2.5 trillion in assets. Amazon also brings to the table its Whole Foods retail footprint.

“Our people want transparency, knowledge and control when it comes to managing their healthcare,” JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said. “The three of our companies have extraordinary resources, and our goal is to create solutions that benefit our U.S. employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans.”

The effort currently is in the planning stages, and its initial formation will be helmed by Todd Combs, a Berkshire Hathaway investment officer; Marvelle Sullivan Berchtold, who is a managing director of JPMorgan Chase; and Beth Galetti, an Amazon senior vice president.

“The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett said. “Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable. Rather, we share the belief that putting our collective resources behind the country’s best talent can, in time, check the rise in health costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes.”

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Dollar General event looks to expand its supplier base

BY DSN STAFF

Dollar General is on the hunt for some new suppliers — but it has a few caveats.

The discounter will hold its first-ever Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit in April. The event is designed to pair potential vendors with respective buyers and category managers from the chain. It is open to new suppliers and also those who have not sold products to the company within the past 18 months.

In addition, in order to be eligible to attend, suppliers must sell items in at least one of the following categories:

  • Beauty, personal care and over-the-counter/wellness
  • General merchandise/all non-food
  • Grocery

To apply, interested companies must submit their product information at RangeMe.com/dollargeneral from Tuesday, Jan. 30 through end of day on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Selected companies will be subject to a $500 participation fee and notified via email by Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) of the time, date and location of their meeting with a member of the Dollar General merchandising team.

“Having the right products to best meet our customers’ needs is a foundational cornerstone at Dollar General,” said Jason Reiser, Dollar General’s executive VP and chief merchandising officer. “As such, we look forward to meeting with potential new vendors, learning about relevant products for our customers and expanding the number of unique and specialized offerings available in our stores.”

Dollar General operated 14,321 stores in 44 states as of Nov. 3, 2017.

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Walgreens awarded patent for oncology program

BY Michael Johnsen

Walgreens on Monday announced it has received a U.S. patent for new proprietary technology that facilitates communication with and counseling of patients prescribed oral oncology medicines.

“As more and more cancer patients are self-administering oral oncolytic medications without medical supervision, there is no way for providers to know if the patient is taking the medication as prescribed or what side effects they may be experiencing,” Rick Miller, senior director, specialty clinical services at AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, said. “This is where our interaction guiding system, coupled with pharmacy experts, becomes extremely valuable as it drives communication with our patients and allows our pharmacists to gather important information about their treatment.”

“As more and more cancer patients are self-administering oral oncolytic medications without medical supervision, there is no way for providers to know if the patient is taking the medication as prescribed or what side effects they may be experiencing.”

Through Walgreens Connected Care Oncology, an evidence-based, patient-centered process focused on driving medication adherence and improving patient outcomes, this newly patented technology helps guide interactions with patients, helping them stay on their treatment and manage any possible side effects.

The patented technology arms Walgreens and AllianceRx Walgreens Prime specialty pharmacy teams with a set of questions and informational scripts to guide conversations with Connected Care Oncology patients. Branching logic within the technology adapts the set of questions and informational scripts in real time. Each patient interaction is customized to focus on patient specific variables – including prescribed medication, adverse events and adherence – and provides the proper support to the patient based on their current situation. Walgreens and AllianceRx Walgreens Prime captures the data and provides it to the patient’s oncologist for informational purposes and continuity of care.

“Oral oncology is a growing area of cancer care, one that requires appropriate patient management and support to maximize the best potential outcomes and make our patients lives easier,” Matt Farber, senior director, patient care and advocacy at Walgreens, said. “The complexity of managing patients on oral oncolytics led us to develop this technology, that when coupled with pharmacists’ clinical expertise, helps us to deliver the best care to our patients as they go through their cancer treatment. We are honored to be awarded this patent as it demonstrates our continued commitment to patient care and innovation.”

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