CEO, Haven (JP Morgan, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway)
Noted author, surgeon and health policy thinker Dr. Atul Gawande’s writings have changed the national discourse on topics as varied as health costs and the end of life. He’s more than a good conversation starter, though.
He’s executed a number of initiatives, including founding Ariadne Labs. The organization has grown into a $20 million, 100-person research center working to improve complex problems in care globally and through its more than 100 Harvard affiliates, collaborating with the likes of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank.
Gawande is now applying that thinking at his latest effort, a health venture known as Haven, which is out to fix — or at least chip away at — America’s high-cost-for-low-return style of healthcare. Founded almost two years ago by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan, the venture has not had the smoothest launch. Its ambitious mission spurred a lawsuit over trade secrets by Optum, while a key employee departed last May.
But there’s still optimism about Haven’s potential to tackle such thorny issues as the opacity of prescription drug prices and making benefits clearer to employees. As the company’s three founders surely recognized when they appointed Gawande to steer the nonprofit last year: If anyone can incubate a better model of care for all, it’s Gawande.