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Amazon in major health care move with expansion of telehealth service

 Amazon is diving deeper into providing health care services — and not just for its own employees. 

The company is expanding its on-demand telehealth service, Amazon Care, to other companies based in its home state of Washington, with a much bigger rollout to come this summer. Amazon initially piloted the service in September 2019, with availability limited to its employees (and their families) in Washington State. 

Beginning this summer, Amazon Care will expand its virtual care to companies and Amazon employees nationwide.  Amazon Care’s in-person service will expand to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and other cities in the coming months

Amazon Care enables employees to connect with medical professionals via chat or video conference (typically in less than 60 seconds). The service has two components: virtual care, which connects users to medical professionals via the Amazon Care app and allows them to chat live with a nurse or doctor via in-app messaging or video; and in-person care, where Amazon Care can dispatch a medical professional to a patient’s home for additional care, such as routine blood draws or listening to a patient’s lungs, and also offer home prescription delivery. 

Amazon Care also supports wellness needs including nutrition, pre-pregnancy planning, sexual health, and smoking cessation. Users have tools to manage their care within the app—including scheduling follow-up visits with their preferred clinician. After visits, users receive care summaries and follow-up reminders. When using the in-person option, users are sent live updates on the estimated time of their clinician’s arrival to their home.

Chief Amazon rival Walmart is also making inroads into the burgeoning digital health care market. In June 2020, the discount giant acquired the technology platform, patents and intellectual property of CareZone, which developed an app that helps people manage their health information and medications.

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