John Doerr, an early investor in both Google and Amazon, believes Jeff Bezos’s company will offer a “Prime Health” for medical and health products, Christina Farr reports at CNBC.com.
Doerr remains close with the Amazon founder, and didn’t mind speculating on where Bezos might take his company next. “Imagine what it’s going to be like when he rolls out Prime Health, which I’m convinced he will,” he said, speaking at a Forbes healthcare conference in San Francisco Thursday. Doerr didn’t say whether he’d talked to Bezos directly about health products.
Given the billions Doerr has made making bets on companies’ futures, his opinion matters. Doerr joined the famed venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins in 1980 and is now its chairman.
Part of the reason Amazon might excel in health is data. The company already has a mountain of data on people and their shopping and buying habits, and that could be used to help serve their health needs, Doerr suggested. Amazon Prime now has more than 100 million users.
At Amazon Web Services’s re:Invent conference in Las Vegas this week, the company announced it was launching a HIPAA-eligible service that uses machine learning to process unstructured medical text and identify information such as patient diagnosis, treatments, dosages, symptoms, and signs, bringing it in direct competition with IBM’s Watson Health and United Health Group’s Optum. Meanwhile, as the Wall Street Journal reported, a growing number of doctors around the U.S. can direct patients to Amazon.com to buy blood-pressure cuffs, slings, and other supplies via an app embedded in the patient’s private medical record–a change that has also raised privacy concerns.
The healthcare industry is complex and has been resistant to reinvention through technology compared to other industries. These days Doerr is interested in putting his money behind companies that are addressing that problem.
He invested his own money in the healthcare data analytics firm Nuna, which is focused on improving the quality of care for Medicare patients.
Doerr was involved in helping to bring together the initiative that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase announced earlier this year, aimed at forming an independent healthcare provider for their employees in the United States.