Symposium Synopsis #5: Employers Can Integrate, Too

The healthcare industry has been full of exciting announcements in recent months. Buzz about vertical integration and disruption of the status quo by non-traditional players has dominated the news cycle. There‘s no shortage of coverage for the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase partnership and their collective effort to “address healthcare for their U.S. employees, with the aim of improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs.”

Collective efforts among employer groups have a proven track record of success, and there are many advantages to working together:

  • Collaborative learning – Fosters diverse points of view and more extensive vetting of ideas, which leads to a more robust and well-tested go-forward strategy
  • Better ideas, faster – Progress for all involved
  • Shared benefits and spread risks – Everyone wins, and everyone minimizes their exposure
  • Write the rules of the road – Influence the market collectively, and dictate where innovation is needed
  • Validation – Proof that your strategic areas of focus extend beyond your four walls
  • Size matters – You have greater market influence together than you do independently

Collective action is a prime example of employer-driven healthcare transformation and will be critical if health care purchasers want to have greater influence in shaping the healthcare market. Mercer has taken a lead in forming collectives that facilitate group purchasing of services and, more recently, an initiative that offers employers in a given healthcare market a way to collectively address quality issues with local providers.

Take a page out of our book and consider how you might work with like-minded companies to address your toughest challenges – or explore your biggest opportunities.

Kate Brown
by Kate Brown

Leader, Center for Health Innovation, Mercer

Register for Mercer US Health News to receive weekly e-mail updates.