Amazon Care Clinics Coming To 20 More US Cities

0
1051

Technology giant Amazon is making healthcare moves once again.

The company has signed deals with Silicon Labs, TrueBlue, and Whole Foods Market to offer Amazon Care to their employees across the country. In addition, the company announced plans to expand its in-person care services to 20 new cities this year.

The Amazon Care service launched in 2019 as a virtual care clinic offering telehealth and mHealth services for the company’s employees in the Seattle area. The company has steadily grown its healthcare services since, establishing in-person offerings alongside telehealth.

The company offers a range of urgent and primary care services, including COVID-19 and flu testing, vaccinations, treatment of illnesses and injuries, preventive care, and prescription delivery.

Amazon Care users have access to an application that enables them to connect with their care teams via text message or video. If the patient needs further care, a medical professional is dispatched to the patient’s home to take blood draws or conduct other routine diagnostics.

“Patients are tired of a healthcare system that doesn’t put them first. Our patient-centric service is changing that, one visit at a time,” said Kristen Helton, director of Amazon Care, in a post online. “We’ve brought our on-demand urgent and primary care services to patients nationwide.”

Amazon has plans to expand the in-person care portion of its services to 20 new cities in 2022, including San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, and New York City. Currently, the in-person services are only available in Seattle, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Texas.

“Amazon’s announcement comes as no surprise, as they have been actively laying the foundation for rapid growth in healthcare for the past 2-plus years,” said Laura Kreofsky, vice president of strategy, at Pivot Point Consulting, in an email. “They are capitalizing on the lessons learned during the Haven Healthcare venture, as well as their existing physical and virtual footprint to inform this move.”

Amazon’s foray into healthcare, particularly its focus on the direct-to-consumer telehealth space, has been the subject of much discussion as competition heats up.

Expanding its services puts Amazon in direct rivalry with companies like Teladoc Health, which has been focused on growing partnerships and beefing up its treatment offerings with acquisitions in the past two years.

Amazon also finds itself up against other retailers making inroads in healthcare, like Walmart and Best Buy.

But Amazon’s high level of customer satisfaction will give them a leg up in this emerging market, Kreofsky said.

“And this consumer trust will be a lynchpin to their broader expansion in healthcare,” she added. “If you need proof, a recent survey found that as many as 55 percent of consumers would be interested in buying a hypothetical insurance product from Amazon over traditional insurance carriers.”

Further, Amazon is not limiting its offerings to direct-to-consumer virtual and in-person care. Last October, it announced that it had ramped up Alexa-enabled mHealth device capabilities, enabling hospital staff to communicate more quickly and efficiently with patients and helping senior living facilities enhance care management.