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Amazon Shuts Down Telehealth Service

by | Sep 27, 2022 | News, Open Content

Retailer stubs a toe on its way to disrupting health care.

Continuing a pattern of recent failures by tech giants like Google and Microsoft to gain a foothold in health care, Amazon announced that it will close down its Amazon Care primary health services for employees at the end of the year.

Launched in 2019, Amazon Care was a pilot program designed to provide care to Amazon employees and their families in the Seattle region, including virtual urgent care visits and telehealth consultations, as well as fee-based in-home nurse visits for testing and vaccinations. The telehealth service expanded to all 50 states and the in-person service became available in at least seven cities.

Amazon had great ambitions for the service and last year began rolling it out to other employers, signing Silicon Labs, TrueBlue, Whole Foods Market, Precor, and Hilton as clients. The plan was to expand the model to more than 20 additional cities in 2022, including major metropolitan areas like New York City, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco. And with the July acquisition of primary care company One Medical for $3.9 billion, Amazon Care appeared positioned to make even greater inroads into the market. 

But it all changed on a dime. Company leaders concluded that the business model wasn’t working and on Aug. 24, Amazon Health Services senior vice president Neil Lindsay sent health service team employees a memo announcing that the service would be shut down on Dec. 31.

“This decision wasn’t made lightly,” Lindsay wrote. “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.” 

However, Amazon seems determined to maintain its healthcare disruption strategy. The recent acquisition of One Medical, a membership-based, tech-integrated, consumer-focused primary care platform with 188 offices in 29 markets expands Amazon’s access to the lucrative employer market. In addition to having nearly 800,000 members, One Medical works with 8,000 companies. Amazon was also reported to be bidding for home health services provider Signify Health but lost out to CVS.

Learn more in the full report from the September 2022 issue of Lab Industry Report.