By Kevin Truong, MedCity News | November 30, 2018

Doerr led Kleiner Perkins’ investment into Amazon back in 1995 and was a long-time board member for the company.

Storied venture capitalist – and one of Amazon’s most prominent early investors – John Doerr was not shy with sharing his crystal ball predictions about what’s next for the e-commerce giant’s experiments in healthcare.

At the Forbes Healthcare conference earlier this week, Doerr laid out his philosophy on what the healthcare industry can learn from tech and how disruptive new entrants to healthcare can impact patients.

Doerr led Kleiner Perkins’ investment into Amazon back in 1995 and was a long-time board member for the company.

“It’s really pretty clear that Amazon has assembled an amazing asset with 120 million Americans who are Prime subscribers,” Doerr said at the event. “Imagine what it’s going to be like when he rolls Prime Health, which I’m convinced he will.”

Doerr highlighted the company’s existing advantage with its unparalleled data infrastructure that could be directed at the healthcare industry.

Earlier this week the company announced a new product called Amazon Comprehend Medical, HIPAA-eligible machine learning software that can accurately digitize and process medical records, readily creating a pathway for the large-scale ingestion of healthcare information.

Doerr also pointed to how the company’s foundational corporate strategy around “price, selection and convenience” easily translates to healthcare, with the replacement of inefficient physical locations with online or virtual experiences.

The news, initially reported by CNBC, has additional weight since Doerr is still reportedly close to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and played a role in helping to bring together the company’s healthcare collaboration with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway.

Doerr also spoke about the potential impact of other big tech companies’ forays into healthcare.

With regards to Google and Microsoft, Doerr said that while he couldn’t make a business case for replacing EHR incumbents like Epic Systems or Cerner, there are plenty of products that can be built on top of that data layer.

“If we can get them to liberate their data, open it up, and we have flexible payment models, I think the entrepreneurs and innovators to take care of almost all the rest,” Doerr said.

He drew a direct line to how Google changed the advertising industry to how it could affect healthcare, with regards to real-time tracking of results and payment for services.

Still, he also listed significant challenges specific to healthcare including the difficulty in collecting data from disparate sources and the lack of flexibility in payment models.

“Why can’t I transparently get to anonymized data?” Doerr said. “Why aren’t the platforms fundamentally open so we can get three or four applications for bariatric surgeons all of which talk to Epic, talk to Cerner and improve the healthcare system?”

Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz, Getty Images

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