Now that Jack Stoddard, former Comcast general manager of digital health, has taken over as chief operating officer of the Amazon.com Inc.-Berkshire Hathaway Inc.-JPMorgan Chase & Co. health care venture, the heavy lifting begins. Stoddard and CEO Atul Gawande, M.D., plan to sharply cut health care costs and improve outcomes and satisfaction for the firms' 1.2 million employees.
Stoddard's extensive health care innovation and cost-containment background made the Harvard MBA grad and former UnitedHealth exec a logical fit for Gawande's leadership team. At Comcast, Stoddard focused on direct contracting and nontraditional moves to cut costs. As Healthcare Dive reports, Comcast cut its average deductible to $250 and held health care cost increases to 1 percent annually by creating a portfolio of outside companies with which to contract such as Accolade, another former Stoddard employer. Comcast, which spends $1.3 billion a year on health care for its 225,000 employees and families, is among the most creative employers nationally in managing benefits. This may mean that organizations with high-level customer service and experience in direct contracting relationships could have a distinct competitive advantage.