Amazon is reportedly cutting back on its activities in the health care space – at least for employees.
According to GeekWire, the e-tail giant is reversing course on its Amazon Cate virtual health care program. In a corporate memo seen by GeekWire, Neil Lindsay, senior VP of Amazon Health Services, reportedly informed Amazon Health Services workers that Amazon Care will cease operations at the end of 2022.
“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,” Lindsay said in the memo. Lindsay did not specify how many Amazon Care employees will be terminated as a result of this move, but said “many” will have the opportunity to take on other health care-related roles at the company and others will receive transition assistance.
Amazon had not been publicly signaling that it intended to stop offering Amazon Care. The company 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. The company began expanding the reach of Amazon Care beyond Washington state and its own employees in March 2021.
In February 2022, Amazon said it would expand in-person Amazon Care services to more than 20 new cities in 2022. 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.
In February 2022, telemedicine provider Teladoc Health launched a voice-activated, general medical virtual care program with Amazon Alexa on supported Echo devices, such as an Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show.Companies including Silicon Labs, TrueBlue, and Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market are among Amazon Care’s clients.
[Read more: Amazon moves deeper into healthcare with telehealth expansion]
Amazon remains a major health care player. In July 2022, the company entered into an agreement to acquire One Medical, a membership-based primary health care provider, for $3.9 billion, its third-biggest acquisition ever. The San Francisco-based health care startup offers a combination of in-person, digital and virtual care services, promising members “24/7 access to virtual care.”