At the end of January, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, and JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon are teaming up to create a health care company that has the goal of providing high-quality health care for their U.S. employees at a lower cost.
The new company will be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints” as it tries to find ways to cut costs and boost satisfaction with the health care plan for employees of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase.
While the Press Release of their proposed new company was lacking details, both Buffet and Dimon havepraised telemedicine as a method to lower costs and increase engagement of patients. Those with high engagement often have better health as minor ailments are prevented from developing into major illnesses.
As telemedicine has grown, substantial savings can be tracked. However, depending on what type of
telemedicine, the savings can be either for the healthcare group or for the patients. Large hospitals and medical groups are using telemedicine to maximize healthcare providers’ time, reduce capital expenses of maintaining offices and office staff, and in streamlining payments. It costs the healthcare group less if you don’t come into an office, don’t wait in a waiting room, don’t wait in an examining room, don’t have your weight, BP, and temperature taken, and don’t wait to take a co-payment and schedule another appointment. Those latter tasks can all be done faster, and with less expense online.
But there are telemedicine programs, such as Medek, where the patient/customer sees the savings. A consultation with a doctor* can cost you and/or your insurance company between $100-200. That same consultation online and/or over a phone can cost you between $10-75. Either type of telemedicine also saves the patient the cost of traveling to a doctor’s* office, and the time spent there waiting.
As savvy as these three CEOs are, it can only be imagined that the huge savings that can be seen by using telemedicine and online appointments will be savings for their healthcare group and not necessarily for the patients. While they are seeking to reduce costs, they are still going to wanting to keep revenue savings to add to their company’s profitability.