Amazon Launches Virtual Care

The Amazon https://amazon.com website has announced the launch of Amazon Care, a virtual medical clinic for their employees. Amazon reports that Amazon Care is going to be piloted for close to 53 thousand Amazon employees and their families in the Seattle area. With a significant portion of Amazon’s employees being millennials, the probability of the program being a success according to experts is very high.

Eligible employees can seek care via Care Chat (an in-app text chat that connects a patient with a nurse), by Video Care (an in-app video visit with a doctor or nurse practitioner), Mobile Care (a mobile care nurse can be dispatched to the home) plus Care Courier will provide prescribed medication delivery.

Amazon has contracted Oasis Medical Group, a service provider to deliver healthcare services to their employees. The service is currently available on Monday through Friday between 8 am and 9 pm and on Saturday and Sunday between 8 am and 6 pm.

Credit Suisse analysts https://www.credit-auisse.com via a separate press report, notes that there is no immediate threat to incumbent telemedicine vendors, since Amazon doesn’t plan to offer the service to the general public. Also, Amazon Care is being funded through the company’s employee benefit group with an invitation only service to be available to Amazon employees in Seattle.

However, the company hopes to roll out Amazon Care to employees in other cities if the pilot goes well, Credit Suisse analysts believe that the next logical expansion of Amazon Care will be to “Haven” Amazon’s healthcare joint venture with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway.

As reported, Amazon’s interest in the telemedicine industry has been widely reported to be a push for virtual care that will fit well into Amazon’s goal to curb healthcare costs and should go hand-in-hand with some of their other healthcare related initiatives.

Experts think that if the Amazon Care program is a success, the company is likely to want to expand their offering to the broader U.S market. If the company goes that route, it remains to be seen if Amazon will approach the current incumbent telemedicine vendors as competitors or partners.

Experts also believe Amazon is well positioned to leverage their brand and strong consumer driven approach to increase consumer awareness for the telemedicine industry. Having a credible player such as Amazon successfully adopt and execute a telemedicine program would improve the adoption and acceptance of telemedicine tools across various stakeholders in the care continuum.

For more information or to provide feedback, email Research Analyst Jailendra Singh at jailendra.singh@credit-suisse.com or call 212-325-8121.

 

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