Amazon Care expanding in-person services this year

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Amazon Care is expanding in-person services in more than 20 new cities this year, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Miami.

In-person care is already available in Seattle, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, Washington and Arlington, Va. The hybrid service allows patients to access urgent or primary care via telehealth. If it’s available and necessary, a provider can travel to the patient’s home for follow-up care.

“Patients are tired of a healthcare system that doesn’t put them first. Our patient-centric service is changing that, one visit at a time,” Kristen Helton, director of Amazon Care, said in a statement. “We’ve brought our on-demand urgent and primary care services to patients nationwide. As we grow the service, we’ll continue to work with our customers to address their needs.”

WHY IT MATTERS

Launched in 2019 as a service for its own workers, the tech and retail giant officially announced last year it would offer Amazon Care to other employers.

This certainly isn’t Amazon’s only foray into the healthcare space. Its much-publicized joint venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase sought to improve employee health coverage, cost and access to care, but shut down after only three years

Last year, it launched Alexa Together, a subscription service that utilizes its voice assistant to help caregivers monitor and assist aging family members in their homes. That service, built on Care Hub features, was first released in November 2020. Amazon also expanded Alexa Smart Properties last year, allowing senior living communities and health systems to use Alexa at scale in their facilities. 

The company has been active in the digital pharmacy space too. It announced it would acquire PillPack in 2018, and launched its own service, Amazon Pharmacy, in 2020. 

In a panel discussion at HLTH in October, Amazon Care’s Helton said the tech giant may integrate these efforts more closely, but Amazon is more focused on customer feedback.

“Amazon Care is one effort,” she said. “Amazon Pharmacy is another … Amazon Halo. We’re all in the same space. But the way we work back from customers may mean that those points of interface may happen later in the road map. It’s hard to speculate. We’ll just stay focused on what customers are asking us to do. And when the time is right, then that’s when we make sure that those points of connection are seamless.”

THE LARGER TREND

Though Amazon is a high-profile player in virtual and hybrid care, it definitely isn’t alone. 

Carbon Health also offers virtual and in-person primary and urgent-care services. Last year it acquired diabetes-care platform Steady Health, remote patient-monitoring company Alertive Healthcare and a chain of urgent care clinics in New Jersey. It also announced a massive $350 million funding round

Other companies offering hybrid care include One Medical, which launched its own digital chronic care platform last year; Crossover Health, which scored $168 million in Series D funding in March; and Forward Health, which raised $225 million last year

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