By Mahek A. Shah, M.D.
Senior Project Leader and Senior Researcher
Harvard Business School



1.2 million lives are about to change… for the better.

Dr. Atul Gawande was named CEO of the new healthcare non-profit venture led by three Fortune 100 companies – AmazonJ.P. Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway.

He started on July 9th! I couldn’t be more excited about his appointment as CEO.

I currently lead value-based measurement projects at Harvard Business School and am an associate faculty member at Ariadne Labs in Boston. Through my cross-training across the spheres of healthcare, business, and academia, I believe that Dr. Gawande has a tremendous opportunity to transform the U.S. healthcare system. With the petri-dish of ~1.2 million employees, Dr. Gawande can test, fail, test again, and eventually create solutions that are designed not just for the 1.2 million employees he serves, but designed to be scalable across the nation.

Here are three reasons why I feel bullish on Dr. Gawande’s appointment and the partnership with Amazon, J.P. Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway:

First, Dr. Gawande will place the patient at the center.

  • Dr. Gawande will place patients first and leverage technology to deliver optimal outcomes for all Americans.

Second, the healthcare venture should enable a robust experiential sandbox.

  • Given the combined resources of Amazon, J.P. Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway, Dr. Gawande has an unparalleled opportunity to test a lot of ideas. The yet-to-be-named healthcare venture will enable robust experimentation among across the complex healthcare landscape – payers, providers, pharma, and medical devices.

Third, the non-profit covers ~1.2 million employees.

  • These 1.2 million that work across Amazon, J.P. Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway comprise a diverse demographic set (geographic, age, gender, income level, education) that truly represents the United States.

You can learn more about Dr. Gawande’s early vision for the healthcare venture during his recent remarks at the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival here.

Highlights of his remarks:

  • Three core goals for the healthcare venture: Better outcomes, deliver more satisfaction, and identify cost efficiencies.
  • Three sources of waste that the venture will go after: middlemen in the system, pricing, and mis-utilization (wrong care at wrong time).

Overall, I believe Dr. Gawande’s work to transform the U.S. healthcare system will not be easy. But his experiences across many aspects of the healthcare value chain coupled with the backing of three forward-thinking partners–Jeff BezosWarren Buffett, and Jamie Dimon–enables him to influence positive change and improve outcomes in the U.S. healthcare system.

Dr. Mahek A. Shah leads and directs the Value Measurement for Health Care practice at Harvard Business School. He is also Associate Faculty at Ariadne Labs, led by Atul Gawande.

Dr. Shah weaves threads of medicine, finance, and systems thinking. He understands the business of health care and is a leader who is transforming the way we experience and deliver care in order to maximize value for patients. He speaks globally on transforming the health care system. 

He has spent over a decade as a physician and results-oriented manager in delivering strategic, high-quality, data-driven insights with actionable recommendations. Dr. Shah trained at the world’s largest medical center, with clerkships at M.D. Anderson, the #1 cancer center in the United States and Texas Children’s Hospital, the nation’s largest pediatric hospital, #2 in US News and World Report.

Prior to medicine, he excelled on Wall Street at Citigroup the world’s largest financial institution (at that time). His team managed one of the bank’s largest clients. Shah’s interest in the capital markets began with a stint at Morgan Stanley. 

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