Amazon’s long-rumored move into healthcare took a big leap forward on Tuesday with the launch of an employee-focused health service, Amazon Care.
A spokesperson said Amazon is piloting the program to help employees get fast access to healthcare without an appointment, on their own schedules and at their preferred location, which eliminates travel and wait time.
According to the Amazon.care website, Amazon Care provides in-app video visits with medical professionals for advice, diagnoses, treatment or referrals; in-app text chat for health advice and answers; in-person treatment at home, in a designated room on the Amazon campus or in “any other location in our service area that you request for collect lab samples … onsite testing (such as strep tests), administer common vaccines or … physical examinations and prescription delivery.”
The service is currently available in zip codes that start with 98-, which is to say the state of Washington. Amazon Care works with Oasis Medical Group, which is a medical practice licensed in Washington. The site says mobile care nurses and couriers with prescription deliveries will wear Amazon Care uniforms and present an Oasis Medical badge for identification upon arrival.
Amazon employees age 18 and up, as well as their immediate family members, can request to enroll at any time provided they are enrolled in an Amazon health insurance plan and live and work within the current service locations (although the site says Amazon employees who are enrolled in Kaiser Permanente are unable to participate at this time). The site also cautions it is enrolling participants on a first-come, first-served basis.
Amazon acquired online pharmacy PillPack in 2018.
A study from analysis firm CB Insights published earlier this year named healthcare one of the industries Amazon is primed to disrupt, noting it is well-positioned to improve the sometimes painful experience of filling prescription with its extensive fulfillment network, as well as physical locations like Whole Foods. In addition, the study said Amazon could use Alexa to remind users to take medication or to diagnose health conditions.
“As Amazon continues to put its money and influence to work acquiring distribution licenses and potentially acquiring another mail-order pharmacy or two, it’s laying the foundation for an Amazon-branded fast prescription drug delivery system,” the study said.