The chief operating officer of the healthcare venture backed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase dubbed Haven recently left the company.
As first reported, Haven COO Jack Stoddard left the joint venture on April 30 for personal reasons, the company confirmed. Stoddard, who joined Haven in September, previously worked for Comcast as its digital health general manager, an affiliated startup Accolade that oversaw employee health benefits as well as UnitedHealth Group's Optum.
"Jack played an important role in the early stages of Haven, but we understand his decision to leave the company for family reasons," Haven said in a statement. "We want to thank him for all of his contributions."
Amazon, Berkshire and JPMorgan launched Boston-based Haven in early 2018 to develop a streamlined healthcare model for its 1.2 million employees via an independent entity "free from profit-making incentives." The companies have since been quietly building out executive teams and acquiring strategic healthcare assets.
The most recent was JPMorgan's acquisition of InstaMed, a healthcare technology company that aims to eliminate paper billing while improving the consumer-patient experience and lower collection costs. The deal was Friday.
A payment-processing solution, which is a case study in bureaucracy and inefficiency in healthcare, aligns with JPMorgan's operations, said Michael Abrams, managing partner of healthcare consultancy Numerof & Associates. While InstaMed will serve JPMorgan well in the short term, it may use Haven as a testing ground as it looks to integrate a range of healthcare vendors and applications, he said.
"The Haven partners are pursuing opportunities that are most closely aligned with their strategic capabilities," Abrams said. "They are also each focused on the infrastructure in healthcare and the support systems necessary to make healthcare more efficient." Streamlining care would have an added benefit of providing a healthy ongoing revenue stream to each of the partners, he added.
Amazon acquired mail-order pharmacy business PillPack last year. It is developing HIPAA-compliant skills for Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa. Amazon Web Services also unveiled a new natural language processing service last year called Comprehend Medical that it says can pull keywords and important messages from electronic health records.
As to Stoddard's early exit, Abrams said that it shouldn't be a major stumbling block for Haven. Still, lofty expectations surrounding Haven might need to be tempered given that there is a lot of proprietary information that affiliated executives may be reluctant to share, he said.
While few details have emerged about the joint venture, the industry is watching closely, as evidenced by a recent lawsuit. Optum filed a non-compete and trade secrets lawsuit in January against a former employee who joined Haven, claiming he was privy to trade secrets and violated non-disclosure and non-compete covenants in his contract. Optum did not get the temporary restraining order it sought that would have forced the executive to stop working for Haven.