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Dr. Atul Gawande, a prominent surgeon and researcher who practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, is a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, and also writes for The New Yorker, has been named CEO of a new healthcare venture being launched by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase.

The Wall Street Journal writes that “the selection of Dr. Gawande … ensures the effort will remain under a spotlight, and provides the most concrete signal so far that the partners’ ambitions go beyond conventional tweaks to employer health-benefit plans. Dr. Gawande has little background in the nitty-gritty of health insurance or running a major corporate operation, but he is well-regarded across the health industry and has moved his ideas forward through nonprofits he founded.”

When the three companies announced the initiative earlier this year, it was to “form an independent health care company to serve their employees in the United States.” The initial focus is the use of “technology to provide simplified, high-quality health care for their employees and their families, and at a reasonable cost.”

Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos was quoted saying that “we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty. Hard as it might be, reducing health care’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort. Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation.”
KC's View:
It sounds like Gawande isn’t just an experienced and talented expert. He’s also clearly a storyteller … that’s evident from his association with one of the best magazines out there. I think that’s going to be a key factor in making this work … understanding the narrative and being able to connect the dots in a clear and compelling way that makes sense both internally and externally. Every business needs a storyteller.