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Amazon provides access to virtual healthcare – via text

Amazon Clinic
Amazon Clinic is a new virtual healthcare service for consumers.

Amazon is targeting its new Amazon Clinic virtual healthcare solution at constantly connected consumers.

Amazon Clinic will operate in 32 states and provide virtual care for more than 20 common health conditions, such as allergies, acne, and hair loss. To get started, customers select their condition, then choose their preferred provider from a list of licensed and qualified telehealth providers.

Next, customers complete a short intake questionnaire, after which they directly connect with clinicians through a secure message-based portal. If Amazon thinks virtual treatment is not the best option for a customer’s issue, the customer will be notified before they connect with a provider.

Amazon Clinic users can message their clinician at any time, from anywhere. After a message-based consultation, the clinician will send a personalized treatment plan via the portal, including any necessary prescriptions to the customer’s preferred pharmacy.

For customers, the cost of consultations will vary by provider and includes ongoing follow-up messages with their clinician for up to two weeks after the initial consultation. Amazon Clinic does not yet accept insurance.

If a prescription is part of treatment, Amazon Clinic customers may select any pharmacy to fill it, including Amazon Pharmacy. The cost of any medication prescribed is not included in the cost of an Amazon Clinic virtual visit, but customers may use their insurance to pay for medications.

“We believe that improving both the occasional and ongoing engagement experience is necessary to making care dramatically better,” Dr. Nworah Ayogu, chief medical officer and GM, Amazon Clinic, said in a corporate blog post. “We also believe that customers should have the agency to choose what works best for them. Amazon Clinic is just one of the ways we’re working to empower people to take control of their health by providing access to convenient, affordable care in partnership with trusted providers. Our new healthcare store lets customers choose from a network of leading telehealth providers based on their preferences. Every telehealth provider on Amazon Clinic has gone through rigorous clinical quality and customer experience evaluations by Amazon’s clinical leadership team.”

Amazon makes healthcare moves
Amazon has been active in the healthcare space in the past two years. In November 2020, the company launched Amazon Pharmacy, which allows U.S. customers to order prescription medications for home delivery, with free delivery for Amazon Prime members.

In July 2022, Amazon entered into an agreement to acquire One Medical, a membership-based primary healthcare provider, for $3.9 billion, its third-biggest acquisition to date. The San Francisco-based healthcare startup offers a combination of in-person, digital and virtual care services, promising members “24/7 access to virtual care.”

In a statement at the time of the July 2022 announcement, Neil Lindsay, senior VP of Amazon Health Services, said that Amazon believes “health care is high on the list of experiences that need reinvention.” In other official comments, executives from both Amazon and One Medical stressed that the deal would make health care more accessible, affordable and convenient.

However, media reports have also indicated Amazon will shutter its Amazon Care program, which provides telehealth services for Amazon employees as well as employees of third-party clients, by the end of 2022.

Visit Amazon Clinic to see a full list of available conditions for treatment and to find out what areas Amazon Clinic is available in.

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