Disrupting employer-sponsored health care can be like trying to devour an elephant. Where does one begin? Investment banking giant JPMorgan Chase has been wrestling with this issue since it launched Morgan Health four months ago as a follow-up to its failed Haven venture with Berkshire Hathaway and Amazon.
Based on the Haven experience, Morgan Health leaders have decided to narrow their focus, even though their vision remains grand — to reshape health insurance to better fit the needs of employers and the 150 million Americans in these plans.
Their stated initial focus was to address primary care and digital health and to target population interventions. But this thinking has evolved as well, noted Morgan Health CEO Dan Mendelson in a recent interview.
3 Keys to Morgan Health’s Strategy
1. Better coordinated primary care gets top priority.
Developing a comprehensive, coordinated primary care model will drive Morgan Health’s focus, Mendelson says. The team is exploring ways to combine capabilities like data analytics, home-based treatment and virtual care in a team- and value-based model. Efforts to promote cancer and other health screenings and preventive services will be crucial to this effort.
Care navigation, pharmaceutical distribution compliance, reducing drug costs and improving clinical quality in areas like musculoskeletal disorders and fertility will be other key focus areas. Morgan Health believes its recent $50 million investment in primary care company Vera Health also could provide valuable assistance in efforts to drive down care costs. The partnership will help Vera Health scale while eventually giving JPMorgan’s 285,000 employees and dependents access to Vera’s wholly at-risk primary care network.
2. Establishing long-term partnerships will be critical.
Mendelson says his company will stress partnerships over building from scratch. The company already has seen significant interest from payers, pharmaceutical companies, data firms and startups in pursuing relationships. He stressed that Morgan Health will focus on building long-term relationships with companies that share his firm’s vision for employer-sponsored care plans.
Engaging health care delivery systems locally will be critical to this effort as will be data analytics to drive health improvement. Mendelson says the company has been talking with federal government officials about ways to inject more value into the nation’s health care system.
3. Insurers will be a testing ground for new products.
Mendelson believes that the company’s existing relationships with payers will help drive innovation and product development. Morgan Health’s partnership with CVS Health — Aetna’s parent company — could prove pivotal in this regard.
Aetna recently launched a nationwide primary care telehealth service to self-funded employers using Teladoc’s virtual care platform. Morgan Health has been in talks with CVS and Aetna about innovations that could be brought to market, Mendelson noted. Morgan Health also is working with Aetna and Cigna to use their networks for the Vera product, but plans to incentivize value apart from the payers to drive greater accountability in the marketplace.
3 Takeaways for Health Care Leaders
The AHA Center for Health Innovation’s Market Insights report “Leading the Charge for Disruptive Innovation” outlines practical steps that hospitals and health systems can take to respond to new market entrants, including:
1. Know what you want to become.
Hospitals and health systems should no longer try to be all things to all people. Instead, organizations need to evolve into more distinct models (e.g., product leader, experience leader, integrator or health manager) to stay relevant.
2. Be a new market entrant or vertical integrator yourself.
As hospitals and health systems address social factors to improve outcomes and manage the health of their patient populations, many are doing just that. Others are partnering with new market entrants like tech companies and consumer retailers to test the application of their digital technologies on the delivery of health care services.
3. Execute your digital health strategy.
The rise of digital health technologies in many ways is disconnecting patients from their hospitals and health systems whose responsibility it is to make all those online consumer service experiences, such as scheduling appointments, checking test results, refilling prescriptions and paying bills, as seamless as their experiences in retail and other industries. Hospitals and health systems that can deliver on those expectations will be in a better position to fend off competitive threats from new market entrants and vertical integrators.