As Amazon waits for federal approval of its $3.9 billion One Medical acquisition, the tech giant is furthering its investment in healthcare with the launch of Amazon Clinic.
Amazon launched Amazon Clinic on Tuesday. The clinic will operate as a “virtual health storefront” offering users access to third-party telehealth providers.
Tuesday’s announcement comes on the heels of broader restructuring within the company.
Nathan Ray, a partner in consultancy West Monroe’s healthcare and life sciences practice, said Amazon’s big plans for healthcare are still unclear.
“It’s yet to be seen,” he said. “Are they just dabbling or is all of this is going to be connected into something larger?”
Ray said large tech players that rely on cloud data for profit will each attempt to fold healthcare services into businesses differently.
Multiple outlets reported Amazon is planning to trim its workforce by 10,000 as early as this week. The layoffs—which would be the largest in the tech and e-commerce giant’s history—translate to roughly 3% of its corporate workforce.
Corporate layoffs, according to The New York Times, are targeted on the company’s Alexa and retail products as well as human resources.
Amazon has been persistent in its healthcare push even after the company’s joint healthcare-specific venture with J.P. Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway disbanded last year.
The results have been mixed. One month after the July acquisition of One Medical, Amazon announced it was shutting down its Amazon Care service at the end of the year. Amazon Health Services also comprises Amazon’s diagnostics business and pharmacy service, which includes an online pharmacy it launched in 2020 that grew out of the company’s acquisition of PillPack.
“It’s clear that … they’re not giving up on healthcare,” said Nathan Ray, a partner in consultancy West Monroe’s healthcare and life sciences practice after the company purchased One Medical in July. “They’re picking their points and they’re continuing to extend their fence-line.”
HealthTap, a virtual primary care provider, and SteadyMD, a telehealth provider operating in all 50 states, have listed services in several states and conditions.
Amazon said it will treat 20 non-urgent health conditions. The conditions range from sinusitis and urinary tract infections, to acne, hair loss and birth control.
The cost of each consultation will range, but many conditions have quoted prices around $40.
After describing their condition, patients will be led to an intake questionnaire and then connected to a clinician through a messaging portal. Prescriptions can be sent to any pharmacy, including Amazon’s own online pharmacy.
The service does not accept insurance for visits, but users can choose to use FSA or HSA funds for payment. Costs of a particular consult will be shared with members beforehand, Amazon said in the blog.
The move into direct-to-consumer health comes as many companies are retreating from this space over economic concerns. Dr. Sunny Kumar, partner at GSR Ventures, said that while many direct-to-consumer companies have faced challenges in customer acquisition, Amazon won’t have the same problems.
“Amazon has a brand that everyone knows,” Kumar said. “We’ll see exactly how they implement it and how they direct patients to this service but because they have this huge base of users, they can get around this perennial issue of finding patients.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that this service would be exclusively available to Prime members.