special projects/disruptive innovation at Amazon
With Amazon poised to reshape healthcare, the industry’s major players are nervously watching its every move. Despite all the big-picture pronouncements about “reinventing healthcare” and high-profile partnerships, one of the company’s pivotal moves in the healthcare realm happened with comparatively little fanfare in July 2017. That was when Amazon hired Krasner, widely considered one of the industry’s smartest and boldest innovators.
Never one for excessive disclosure, Amazon hasn’t said much about Krasner’s role. Details regarding the position were scant when word of it initially leaked – to this day, her job description doesn’t extend much beyond “special projects” – but Krasner’s pedigree suggests that the role will be an important and wide-ranging one.
After graduating from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and Stanford with a master’s in communications and healthcare administration, Krasner held marketing positions at Aetna and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Shortly thereafter, she worked at the Department of Health and Human Services under President Bush and helped launch Google Health’s online medical records and wellness platform. Prior to arriving at Amazon, Krasner served as VP and managing director of cloud company Box’s healthcare group. There, she oversaw HIPAA-compliant offerings used by providers, payers, and life sciences companies.
When it hired Krasner, Amazon didn’t just add another all-star to its already stocked team. It signaled its intention to dive deep into healthcare in no uncertain terms. The signs haven’t stopped since. In recent months, Amazon has made a string of high-profile hires in the health space, including Seattle-based doctor Martin Levine and former FDA executive Taha Kass-Hout.
Other Amazon moves in and around healthcare attracted more notice. The company caused a stir when it acquired wholesale pharmacy licenses in 12 states and an even bigger one when it announced a partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase designed to cut healthcare costs and improve services for U.S. employees. Not unexpectedly, the collaboration announcement was short on specific details – but that didn’t stop healthcare industry stocks from tumbling in response.
As Amazon continues its healthcare push, expect to hear more about Krasner. Even if she weren’t working for Jeff Bezos, she’d be an interesting figure to watch, given her experience working with big healthcare companies as well as nimble digital-first innovators. In addition to her role at Box, Krasner has served as an adviser to a number of digital startups, including HealthLoop, DigiSight, and Naya Health.