USA – Amazon Care plans to expand in-person and digital healthcare services to more than 20 new cities in the USA by 2022, joining major investments in outpatient healthcare made by retail rivals Walgreens and CVS Health.
“Amazon Care’s virtual health services are now available nationwide—and in-person services will be rolled out in more than 20 new cities this year,” the company said.
“The expansion comes as we continue to invest in growing our clinical care team and our in-person care services to bring convenient, quality care to more customers across the US.”
Amazon stated that new virtual services such as nurse home visits will be available “throughout 2022” and are already available in Seattle, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Va.
“In 2022, we plan to bring in-person care services to more than 20 additional cities, including major metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, and New York City,” the company said.
Amazon Care is the latest attempt by Big Tech to break into the US$4.1 trillion healthcare industry. Amazon is entering an extremely competitive market with the product, competing against both traditional telehealth vendors and other new entrants.
This includes health insurers, who are increasingly developing their own virtual-first primary care programs in an attempt to reduce costs.
UnitedHealth, CVS Health’s Aetna, and Cigna, for example, all offer virtual primary care plans to employers, while Teladoc made its own virtual primary care pilot available to commercial health plans, employers, and other benefit sponsors nationwide late last year.
Amazon Care is divided into two parts: urgent and primary care telehealth with a nurse or doctor via an app, and in-person care with prescription delivery to the patient’s home.
The move comes as Walgreens is already investing US$5.2 billion in VillageMD, a doctor practice owner and developer of physician-staffed clinics.
CVS also announced in December that it will acquire more physician practices as part of its diversified strategy to grow its primary care business.
Walmart has also been expanding its healthcare services in select U.S. markets.
Amazon did not disclose the cost of the latest expansion of its healthcare services, which were first offered three years ago in markets where the company has a large number of employees.
Amazon Care began as a pilot program in Washington state in September 2019, offering free telehealth consults and in-home visits for a fee to Amazon employees and their families before expanding the program to employees and outside companies nationwide in the summer of 2021.
Amazon Care offers a wide range of urgent and primary care services, such as COVID-19 and flu testing, injury treatment, annual vaccinations, and family planning services.
If a patient’s medical needs cannot be met via video, Amazon Care sends a nurse practitioner (a member of its nascent “Care Medical” network) to their home for additional care.
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