Amazon really does deliver just about everything these days. In addition to merchandise, groceries, and baby products, Amazon.com Inc. recently announced its plans on extending its virtual healthcare service, “Amazon Care” to added Washington state employers this week. It will be launching the service to other businesses across the country, as well as its own staff, by summer 2021.
Amazon Care was originally piloted in the fall of 2019. It was offered to its employees close to the company’s Seattle headquarters. The healthcare service allows staff to video chat with doctors about health issues for referrals and diagnoses. Amazon Care also helps with drug delivery within greater Seattle and house calls. The company noted that medicine delivery would be offered in Baltimore and the greater Washington, D.C., within the next coming months.
Launching Amazon Care is a major move for Amazon.com Inc. It proves that one of the largest American private employers is jumping even more into healthcare, which is the latest industry it has its eye on. That is, after enterprise technology, retail, and Hollywood.
Currently, Amazon delivers prescription drugs via their online pharmacy. This was launched in 2020, and the company worked with JPMorgan Chase & Co., as well as Hathaway Inc. to decrease the care expenses in a now-separated venture, which was called “Haven”.
Amazon’s playbook for offering in-house health care mimics how the company has built data centers to gratify their web requirements, before launching the same infrastructures to start-ups. This has transformed their cloud-computing enterprise on another level.
Director of Amazon Care, Kristen Helton, chimed in on the healthcare venture during an interview, stating the service has expanded over the COVID-19 crisis, at a time when many “work from home” and are overall homebound due to pandemic restrictions. With that said, the opportunity for Amazon Care goes above and beyond that.
She went on to note that virtual medicine is a part of how health care will be delivered in the future.
Amazon.com Inc. has stated that companies can offer Amazon Care as a workplace benefit, and subsidize healthcare expenses for their employees. The financial terms were not disclosed on this, and no information was offered by Amazon on how big they believe “Amazon Care” will be.
Helton did say that Amazon Care could be a health care “add-on” for some people; a way to get the help they need, after hours. It can also be a game-changer for those individuals and families without a regular physician.
Helton noted that Amazon Care has evolved to provide added services, which could include more primary care.
This could be the healthcare solution that many have been looking for. In addition, virtual service, especially after hours, would offer a convenient way to seek medical advice, prescriptions, and more, without having to leave home and head to a walk-in clinic or hospital, if the need was not urgent. Amazon Care could also benefit those that live alone, and families with young children, among others.