September 15, 2022 Episode 046

Amazon, One Medical and the Acquisitions Moving Healthcare: Walmart’s Former SVP of Health, Marcus Osborne, Weighs In

Marcus Osborne started his professional life as a White House intern and never intended to pursue a career in healthcare. In fact, he says he has a phobia of needles and doesn’t find much pleasure in daily work dealing with issues like insurance and disease. But he says healthcare kept finding him, and he admits that no other sector has more need for good, talented people trying their best to make progress.

Amazon, One Medical and the Acquisitions Moving Healthcare: Walmart’s Former SVP of Health, Marcus Osborne, Weighs In

After a couple jobs in business consulting and time as Chief Financial Officer for the Clinton Foundation’s Health Access Initiative, Marcus landed at Walmart, where he ultimately became Senior Vice President of Healthcare Transformation. In January 2022, he stepped down from that role after spending 15 years at the world’s largest retailer driving key initiatives to increase healthcare access and affordability, including helping to launch Walmart Health and leading Walmart Health clinics.

In this episode of Healthcare is Hard, Keith Figlioli taps into the knowledge and experience Marcus has gained through his career to explore issues including:

  • Viewing healthcare through the consumer’s eyes. Looking back on his time at Walmart, Marcus says it was the best place to work on transforming healthcare since it is fundamentally a consumer company. But he also says it was sometimes the worst place given all the other competing priorities outside of healthcare at such a large organization. Marcus credits some of his biggest successes to one simple idea – that consumers are very clear about what they want, and what their challenges are. You just have to listen, and deliver.
  • Retailer acquisitions. In addition to shedding light on the inner workings of Walmart and its ambitions to grow in the healthcare market, Marcus talks about the moves other retailers, including Amazon and CVS, are making through acquisitions. He views Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical as a Brilliant move that gives the company excellent operating talent around primary care, a physical presence to continue building the omnichannel healthcare experience, and strong value-based care components through One Medical’s earlier acquisition of Iora Health. He says the strategy is a home run, and talks about how it now comes down to integrating and execution.
  • The future for health systems. Marcus and Keith talk about the idea of a health system as a community integrator. Instead of owning assets, they ponder the benefits for health systems that get better at partnering with outside organizations in deeper, more collaborative ways. For example, as the industry moves towards value-based care beyond Medicare, Marcus sees a big opportunity for health systems to create more efficiencies by being the community integrator around specialty practices in areas such as cardiology, maternity or musculosketal health.
  • The opportunities for entrepreneurs: The great news for entrepreneurs, according to Marcus, is that the big players are far from figuring everything out. He compares the current state of healthcare innovation to the Internet in the 1990s where there was a tremendous amount of innovation and companies were focused on developing the best point solutions. For example, there were dozens of search engines, from Yahoo, to Google, Excite, Alta Vista, Ask Jeeves and many more. But Google ultimately emerged to unify the back end of search for everyone. Today in healthcare, Marcus points out how it’s becoming harder for consumers to learn how to deal with all the individual solutions in the market, and says they’re starting to look for someone to integrate everything for them.

To hear Keith and Marcus talk about these topics and more, listen to this episode of Healthcare is Hard: A Podcast for Insiders.