Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
25 September 2019
Amazon Care set to transform healthcare
Ever heard of Amazon Care? If you haven’t, you probably will in the near future.
Amazon Care is a virtual doctor’s office offered to Amazon employees in the Seattle area. It is designed so that an employee can interact with a healthcare provider in a variety of ways. They can connect with a nurse for basic questions or initiate an online appointment with a doctor or nurse practitioner. Medical personnel will even make house calls and deliver medications if needed.
Amazon Care is only available to Amazon employees in Seattle…right now.
But as all things Amazon, testing something is often a harbinger of what is to come. I have no doubt Amazon would love to tap into the $3.5 trillion US healthcare industry with Amazon Care.
And why shouldn’t it? The Amazon brand proves it can make markets more efficient at lower costs. It has done it with shopping, delivery and technology. AWS (Amazon Web Services) sported $25.7 billion in revenue in 2018.
For those playing the game at home, that is $5 billion more than McDonalds earned last year. The online retailer bought the online pharmacy PillPack for $750 million in 2018 and it is expected to exceed $1 billion in revenue in 2020.
“And true to Amazon, the advantage of something like Amazon Care is not being first at something. Its advantage lies in doing what is already being done better, faster and cheaper.”
Amazon Care could disrupt the healthcare industry
Amazon owns the cloud-based technology for medical records, AI and billing. It also owns the ability to fulfill, ship and deliver pharmaceuticals (same day in many markets). Imaging Amazon buying up heath care providers to round out Amazon Care is not a stretch.
I’m not saying Alexa will be performing brain surgery anytime soon. But Amazon could very well disrupt influence in the healthcare segment, particularly for most of the things people see their primary care physician for – the flu, poison ivy, ear infections and the like.
This is not a completely new way to provide medical care. Telemedicine and virtual visits have been around for a while now. Insurance companies feature provider codes to cover these kinds of appointments. And some health care systems provide these services, often circumventing the insurance companies and directly billing the patient.
And true to Amazon, the advantage of something like Amazon Care is not being first at something. Its advantage lies in doing what is already being done better, faster and cheaper.
Given the amount of money spent in healthcare, I for one welcome even the possibility of a better, more efficient and less costly way of doing it. If history is any indicator, Amazon will take what it learns in Seattle and roll it out to HQ2, then finally release Amazon Care to the masses. And we all will be better for it.
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