Amazon is providing a comprehensive suite of healthcare services — including telemedicine options and a mobile app — as a benefit for employees.
In its twenty-five years in business, Amazon has transformed the American retail landscape. Whenever the company enters a new sector, competitors take notice and brace for the fabled “Amazon effect.”
Now Amazon is turning its attention to healthcare. The e-commerce corporation has announced the launch of Amazon Care, offering telemedicine, home and office visits, a chat advice app, and prescription delivery for its Seattle employees. Coupled with other recent developments, this initiative suggests that Amazon sees healthcare as a major way to expand its business moving forward.
High-Tech Healthcare for Amazon Employees
Today’s tech companies are known for providing lavish benefits for their employees, including gourmet food, massages, and unlimited leave time. Now, Amazon has decided to expand its perks to include healthcare services. The recently-launched Amazon Care offers a comprehensive suite of high-tech health options for central office employees.
Amazon Care’s core functionality is implemented through a mobile app. Using the new app, employees will be able to text nurses with questions about any medical topic. Moreover, the app serves as a platform for telemedicine appointments with physicians and nurse practitioners. Using two-way video, patients can get diagnoses, treatments, and referrals for everyday issues including allergies, colds, infections, and mild injuries. These app appointments have the potential to eliminate travel and waiting time, making healthcare much more convenient for busy employees.
Yet Amazon Care’s services are not limited to the app. The company will also offer in-person appointments that dispatch clinicians to an employee’s home or office. Another feature called Care Courier will deliver prescriptions.
Besides providing an attractive benefit for employees, Amazon Care is a strategic business move. By eliminating appointment waiting times and even treating workers in the office, Amazon will minimize lost productivity due to medical issues. For now, Amazon Care is only offered to staff at its Seattle headquarters, though the company promises an expansion to other locations in the months and years ahead.
Amazon’s Major Investments in Healthcare
The impact of Amazon Care should be viewed in the context of a host of other health initiatives. In 2017, CNBC revealed that a top-secret Amazon technology team was seeking ways to disrupt the health industry. Called “1492,” the group was tasked with spurring a transformation in healthcare in the same way that Columbus’s voyage altered the course of world history.
Last year, Amazon teamed up with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway on a massive joint medical venture. Frustrated with healthcare’s skyrocketing costs, the companies are looking for ways to make treatments more efficient for their employees and beyond. Dubbed Haven, the not-for-profit is working on increasing access to primary care, simplifying insurance programs, and bringing down the cost of prescription drugs.
There’s no doubt that Amazon is playing an important role in changing the course of healthcare. Telemedicine has the potential to radically reshape the contemporary health system, and convenient apps are increasing patients’ access to care.
So, how can healthcare providers keep up with these rapid changes? Having a comprehensive digital marketing strategy is key. Online advertising, search engine optimization, social media, and video marketing enable physicians and hospitals to reach potential patients on a level playing field with the tech giants. Local doctors and health systems would also do well to emphasize their personalized, compassionate approach to healthcare in order to draw a contrast with Amazon and other tech behemoths.