Amazon is launching itself as a healthcare provider to employers in the United States, offering medical care and advice, with a 24/7 service that offers in-app chat or video conference diagnosis, home visits and wellbeing services.
The Amazon Care service is being launched as both an employee benefit and an individual customer proposition after having been trialed with Amazon employees and their families for the last 18 months. The rollout of the new services starts in Washington State but will extend to all 50 US states by the summer.
Amazon’s new service has two components – virtual care, delivering confidential conversations with nurses or doctor by in-app messaging or video, and in-person care where medical professionals are dispatched to a patient’s home for services such as blood tests and listening to lungs. It also includes prescription delivery.
Amazon Care gives instant access to a range of urgent and primary care services, including COVID-19 and flu testing, vaccinations, treatment of illnesses and injuries, preventive care, sexual health, prescription requests, refills, and delivery.
Patients can access preventive care such as annual vaccinations, health screenings, and lifestyle advice. The service also supports patients’ wellness needs, including nutrition, pre-pregnancy planning, sexual health, help to quit smoking, and more. For immediate needs, patients can use Amazon Care to assess and treat illnesses and injuries on demand.
Patients also have tools to manage their care within the app—including scheduling follow-up visits with their preferred clinician, at their convenience. After visits, patients receive care summaries and follow-up reminders. When using the in-person option, patients also receive live updates on the estimated time of their clinician’s arrival to their home.
For continuity of care, employees and their dependents can see the same teams of medical professionals, considered significant for recurring prescriptions and in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension, says Amazon.
F&TRC director Ian McKenna says: “Amazon have a dramatic impact on any industry they enter, it is easy to see how they might dramatically change the private healthcare insurance market by supplying both services and enhanced underwriting capability”