Posted: August 25, 2022
Amazon recently confirmed that it will shutter Amazon Care, the in-person and virtual health service it had initially built for employees. This comes as a shock to many, considering their recent investment in the healthcare space to purchase One Medical.
Amazon employees, as well as a few other corporate customers including Whole Foods and Hilton, have access to the platform, expected to close by the end of the year.
As a telehealth solutions firm with more than 20 years in the industry, here is why we understand Amazon’s decision:
In Telehealth - Functionality is Paramount
Amazon senior vice president of health Neil Lindsay in an email to staff said, “Although our enrolled members have loved many aspects of Amazon Care, it is not a complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers we have been targeting, and wasn’t going to work long-term.”
Not a complete enough offering. Coming into the industry as Amazon did with the expectation to provide enterprise care was no doubt a challenge.
We’ve learned over the years that healthcare is complex. As it changes, technology needs to not only adapt, but evolve. Our development team has spent the last two years building out the functionality for a next-generation enterprise telehealth platform that is being leveraged by top healthcare systems. We have taken decades of client experience paired with the latest functionality, integration systems, and medical workflows to create this new platform. It’s not easy.
$4 billion Spend on One Medical
Amazon had a care platform, and then they invested billions in another. The overlap with One Medical, which also has its own telemedicine offering, means at some point Amazon would be competing with itself.
The Hiring Factor
Amazon Care allows patients to chat with providers virtually, set up video visits, and, in some locations, request an in-home visit from a healthcare provider for services such as vaccinations and screenings for common health issues. The in-home piece was supposed to expand to 20 cities by the end of the year and it was supported by 3rd party staffing agencies to provide the workforce in an industry already experiencing severe labor shortages.
Building networks of care is a massive undertaking - especially in specific regions to provide in-person care.
In short, healthcare - and virtual care specifically - is complex. We care about companies stepping up to the plate to provide better healthcare access for people - and we care when that plan doesn’t work out. However, we’re confident that we’ll see a lot of benefits from Amazon’s continued investment and commitment to healthcare.