December 26, 2018

John D’Andrea and Justin Watkins Quoted in Modern Healthcare on Unconventional Partnerships

Partners John D’Andrea and Justin Watkins were quoted in a Modern Healthcare article titled “Healthcare Organizations Turned to Unexpected Partners in 2018.” The article discussed the growing trend of unconventional partnerships and the role they will play in shaping the health care industry for years to come.

In 2018, some health systems formed partnerships in an attempt to find cost savings and deliver more efficient care to employees. A new health economy is emerging with nontraditional health care businesses, such as Amazon, getting involved in health care delivery. There is also a growing interest from the private equity and venture capital world in funding digital health startups and other innovation.

Universities are becoming more involved in partnerships to develop early-stage drug research and treatments, which can benefit academic institutions through royalties, equity stake or milestone payments. Academic institutions previously avoided this type of research because of the financial risk, but as science has advanced and more investment firms have stepped up, these affiliations will become more common.

John said that one of his longtime clients told him that it will only do business with vendors that take on some risk. It’s a mindset that he says will continue to shape partnerships across the health care industry.

“Organizations have to be willing to step outside of their comfort zone. If they don't, they will miss opportunities and fall behind,” he said. “Whether you are a hospital, health system or private-equity firm, you need to find ways where you can add value.”

Justin discussed the partnership between Comcast and Independence Health Group, which is part of Independence Blue Cross, as an example. One of the goals of that partnership was to nationally distribute relevant health care information to patients across multiple channels and devices.

“Historically, Comcast hasn't been involved in health care,” he said. “But their tech base and cable system have access to hundreds of millions of homes. That is an eye-opening platform for increasing access to telemedicine.”

Justin said it shows that a wide range of nontraditional health care players are jumping into the mix and he anticipates the rate and scope of these ventures will only increase.

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