Amazon is rolling out its telehealth service Amazon Care to it employees across all 50 states of the US and has made plans to expand the virtual care programme to other employers later in 2021. Could we be witnessing the very early beginnings of a new global IPMI offering?
“Amazon Benefits has been the enterprise customer that we’ve been serving to date. Now, looking at other enterprises, understanding their needs, we think a lot of the needs are similar,” Kristen Helton, Director of Amazon Care, said, commenting on the possibility of offering Amazon Care to other businesses.
This latest move follows similar moves by the e-commerce behemoth. In late 2020, Amazon launched Amazon Pharmacy – available in over 45 US States and which accepts ‘most’ insurance plans’ – after acquiring online pharmacy and prescription-packet organiser PillPack around two years ago.
The ‘Amazon of healthcare’
That Amazon could look to make tremendous progress in the telehealth market with its offering is no secret – anyone who’s been following the telehealth market’s growth this past year knows that there’s money to be made, and a great demand for remote, virtual healthcare services.
“Healthcare is an incredibly large space, and there’s lots of opportunity. We see there’s room for more than one winner in the space,” Helton added.
And Amazon is not the only firm to have eyed up the US healthcare market in recent times. In mid-2020, Walmart announced plans to begin selling health insurance policies directly to customers, and already has a number of Walmart Health Clinics in America.
The impact of moves like these in the long-term remain to be seen, but it seems highly likely that the US healthcare market is on the precipice of some great change. For some time now, the US’ has been the most expensive healthcare system in the world, but this may not always be the case.
In the April 2019 issue of Hospitals & Healthcare, Dr Mitesh Patel, Medical Director, Aetna International, discussed the notion of the ‘amazon of healthcare’, a one-stop shop for all healthcare needs.