Amazon is entering the medical care and patient advice market in the United States, with a 24/7 service that offers in-app chat or video conference diagnosis, home visits and wellbeing services.
Amazon Care is being launched as both an employee benefit and an individual customer proposition after having been offered to Amazon employees and their families for the last 18 months.
The 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.
The rollout of the new services starts in Washington State but will extend to all 50 US states.
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.
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.
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.
FTRC director Ian McKenna said: “Amazon know a vast amount about millions of individuals buying behaviour and by inference how they spend the money. They could undoubtedly have a dramatic impact on both underwriting and distribution for both health and protection products”