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Amazon Will Shutter Amazon Care Hybrid Telehealth Service

Despite an expansion in February 2022, Amazon said the business model isn’t working.

Amazon will shut down its Amazon Care hybrid telehealth service at the end of 2022, reports GeekWire. Though Amazon has made healthcare a commitment with services like Amazon Pharmacy and its recent acquisition of One Medical for $3.9 billion, Amazon Care was not a successful long-term solution for Amazon’s target audience, large corporate customers. The ecommerce giant made the announcement to employees in an internal memo.

“This decision wasn’t made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration. 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,” said Neil Lindsay, Amazon Health Services senior vice president.

According to GeekWire, Amazon leaders said the business model wasn’t working prior to the company’s acquisition of One Medical, which has not yet received regulatory approval to move forward. The company did not say how many employees’ jobs would be impacted by the program’s closure.

“Many Care employees will have an opportunity to join other parts of the Health Services organization or other teams at Amazon – which we’ll be discussing with many of you shortly – and we’ll also support employees looking for roles outside of the company,” Lindsay said in the employee memo.

Screenshot of Amazon Care app, showing a chat conversation between a healthcare provider and a client
Source: Amazon Care

Program expanded in February

Amazon Care originally launched in September 2019 and had plans to expand to 20 additional cities in 2022,  including Arlington, Baltimore, Boston, Austin, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. The hybrid telehealth service offers both virtual care and in-person services, and the goal was to provide convenient, comprehensive, high-quality healthcare options.

Amazon said their patient satisfaction rating was 4.7 out of 5, and they were partnering with employers like Silicon Labs, TrueBlue and Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market. Amazon Care provides access 24/7 to a range of urgent and primary care services that include COVID testing, vaccinations, treatment of illnesses and injuries, preventative care, prescription requests and refills, and more. When services need to be available in person, Amazon Care sends a nurse to the patient’s home for follow-up.

“Patients are tired of a health care system that doesn’t put them first. Our patient-centric service is changing that, one visit at a time,” said Kristen Helton, director of Amazon Care, in a February 8, 2022 announcement about the program’s expansion. “We’ve brought our on-demand urgent and primary care services to patients nationwide. As we grow the service, we’ll continue to work with our customers to address their needs.”

Insider Take

Amazon’s investments in their pharmacy business and the acquisition of One Medical make it clear that Amazon remains committed to being in the healthcare industry. What that looks like, or their specific ambitions, are unclear. The decision to shutter Amazon Care appears to be a combination of a less-than-perfect service model and the acquisition of One Medical.

One Medical is a membership-based primary care practice available to individuals and employers for $199 a year. One Medical works with over 8,000 companies to provide health benefits to their employees, and they work with insurance. Similar to Amazon Care, they offer virtual care as well as in-person visits, including same- and next-day appointments at 188 offices in 25 markets in the U.S. The membership model fits well with the Amazon Prime model, giving Amazon additional recurring revenue and quickly expanding their healthcare footprint.

Man checking in at a One Medical clinic.
Source: Amazon

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