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02/08/2022

Amazon moves deeper into healthcare with telehealth expansion

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon telehealth
More consumers now have access to Amazon Care services.

Amazon is continuing to position itself as a provider of on-demand healthcare services.

The company now offers its Amazon Care on-demand telehealth service nationwide, and will roll out in-person care services to more than 20 new cities in 2022. Amazon initially piloted the service in September 2019, with availability limited to its employees (and their families) in Washington State. Beginning in summer 2021, Amazon Care started expanding its virtual care services to companies and Amazon employees nationwide, and also began extending its in-person service to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and other cities.

Amazon Care in-person services are now available in Seattle, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Va. In 2022, Amazon plans to bring in-person care services to additional cities including San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, and New York City. The company began expanding the reach of Amazon Care beyond Washington state and its own employees in March 2021.

Amazon Care provides immediate access to a wide range of urgent and primary care services, including COVID-19 and flu testing, vaccinations, treatment of illnesses and injuries, preventive care, sexual health, and prescription requests and refills. When issues can’t be resolved over video, Amazon Care will dispatch a nurse practitioner to a patient’s home for additional care where in-person care is available, ranging from routine blood draws to listening to a patient’s lungs.

Amazon Care also supports wellness needs including nutrition, pre-pregnancy planning, and smoking cessation. Users have tools to manage their care within the Amazon Care 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.

New customers including Silicon Labs, TrueBlue, and Whole Foods Market have joined the lineup of companies offering Amazon Care to their employees nationwide.

“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. “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."

Chief Amazon rival Walmart is also making inroads into the burgeoning digital health care market. In June 2021, 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.

And in May 2021, Walmart announced it would acquire MeMD, a multi-specialty telehealth provider. The purchase will allow Walmart to expand its Walmart Health services by providing access to virtual care services across the nation. Walmart said the services, including urgent, behavioral and primary care, will complement its in-person Walmart Health store offering.

In January 2022, Walmart expanded a partnership with clinical laboratory Quest Diagnostics to enable consumers to purchase from an assortment of more than 50 different tests, including general health, digestive health, allergy, heart health, women's health and infectious diseases.