The Health Section

Bertolini at Techonomy 17: future of health care is hyper-local

Speaking at Techonomy 17, Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark T. Bertolini shared his vision of the future of health care: moving from the exam table to the kitchen table and focusing on keeping people healthy at the local level.

“We should have an attitude that when somebody has to go to an emergency room or they have to go in the hospital … we have failed them in some way,” Bertolini told David Kirkpatrick, founder and CEO of Techonomy.


Note: Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark T. Bertolini’s interview starts at 3 hours 21 minutes.


It’s not technology that will disrupt the health care industry, Bertolini said, it’s consumers.

“It’s time to take the cost out of health care with better customer experience and transparency,” Bertolini said.

When it comes to a person’s life expectancy, their zip code matters more than their genetic code. Clinical care impacts 10 percent of their life, while 60 percent is affected by the environment and lifestyle, or social determinants of health.

To better understand health and the social determinants of health, Aetna launched new collaborations and initiatives. Aetna’s collaboration with Meals on Wheels America will facilitate access to critical health and social services for seniors in America at all stages of medical need.

The Aetna Foundation also recently announced a partnership with U.S. News & World Report to launch the Healthiest Communities project, which will highlight communities doing the best job of improving residents’ health. And in 2016, 50 communities were named as finalists of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge, which will award $1.5 million in prizes to communities that show measurable improvements in health indicators and social determinants of health.

Bertolini also talked about the future of capitalism. He emphasized the importance of investing in employees and shared details on Aetna’s Social Compact with its associates. Launched in 2015, the Social Compact increased the minimum wage to $16 an hour and a student loan repayment program was announced in August 2016.