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Amazon Makes Renewed Bid for Place in Telehealth Space

November 15, 2022 by Dan McCue
(National Cancer Institute photo)

SEATTLE — A little more than three months after announcing it was shutting down its telehealth venture Amazon Care, Amazon is poised to make a comeback in the digital health space.

The new venture is called Amazon Clinic, and according to a blog post on Amazon’s corporate website, it will soon be launching in 32 states and will provide virtual care for more than 20 common health conditions, such as allergies, acne and hair loss.

Amazon began its voyage into the health care space with Amazon Pharmacy, which it launched in November 2020, enabling customers to get their medication delivered directly to their door.

Last July, the multinational tech and e-commerce company announced it had reached an agreement to acquire One Medical, which it described in a press release at the time as “a human-centered and technology-powered provider of primary care.” 

With an estimated value of $3.9 billion, once the deal closes Amazon will presumably incorporate many if not all of One Medical’s member benefits into its health care offering.

Those benefits include a “dedicated relationship with their provider, a friendly and convenient in-office experience, and ongoing engagement via a dedicated app,” the Amazon press release said.

In the meantime, Amazon Clinic will fill a distinctly different space. Essentially a message-based virtual care service, it will connect customers with affordable virtual care options when and where they need it.

“Our new health care store lets customers choose from a network of leading telehealth providers based on their preferences,” the blog post says. “Every telehealth provider on Amazon Clinic has gone through rigorous clinical quality and customer experience evaluations by Amazon’s clinical leadership team.”

According to Amazon, its new virtual clinic will be simple and easy to use. 

“To get started, customers select their condition, then choose their preferred provider from a list of licensed and qualified telehealth providers,” the blog post says. “Next, they complete a short intake questionnaire. 

“Customers and clinicians then directly connect through a secure message-based portal, giving customers the flexibility to message their clinician when it’s most convenient for them — anytime, anywhere. 

“After the message-based consultation, the clinician will send a personalized treatment plan via the portal, including any necessary prescriptions to the customer’s preferred pharmacy,” the post says.

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.

Similar to a traditional doctor’s visit, the cost of any medication prescribed is not included in the cost of the visit, but customers may use their insurance to pay for medications.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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