What is Amazon’s new approach in the healthcare field? Amazon’s recent $3.9 billion investment in One Medical, the subject of CI’s May 2022 Health System Monitor Report, was shockingly followed by the dissolvement of Amazon’s in-house healthcare platform, Amazon Care. One Medical, the subscription-based primary care company, will provide an expansive network of offices and employer clients to the e-commerce giant. Amazon has been pursuing the healthcare industry since 2018 but has so far failed to break through. The firm’s purchase of One Medical may signify primary care facilities and employer clients as the next steps in Big Tech’s infiltration of healthcare, while also highlighting the challenges that led to the termination of Amazon Care.

Amazon’s journey into the healthcare space

Over the past few years, large tech firms have entered the healthcare realm. Companies such as Apple and Google have rolled out health tools and services for their clients. Amazon has been exploring new approaches to the healthcare industry since 2018, which Senior Vice President Neil Lindsay stated was due to the immediate reinvention needed in the field. Amazon’s first step into healthcare was its launch of Amazon Comprehend, a cloud-based service that acquires health data from medical text using machine learning. In June 2018, Amazon bought PillPack, an online pharmacy, followed by Health Navigator in 2019, a digital healthcare software company. Most recently in 2020, Amazon launched Amazon Care, which granted in-person and virtual medical care for the company’s employees.

Amazon Care initially functioned primarily through virtual care; however, a medical professional would be sent to the home if a virtual setting could not meet the patient’s needs. In February 2022, Amazon Care broadened its coverage and introduced at-home care in eight cities. Amazon’s goal to expand in-office coverage failed, which catalyzed the disbanding of Amazon Care. Partially due to the lack of in-person care centers, Amazon has acknowledged that Amazon Care was not comprehensive enough to cater to its expansive clientele. Furthermore, corporate consumers did not see the value in Amazon Care as a service for their employees, seeing that it was not more unique or innovative compared to its competitors.

However, Amazon believes that through Amazon Care’s shortcomings, it has learned what it takes to create long-term successful health care solutions. Citi analysts argue that getting rid of Amazon Care is not the end of Amazon’s healthcare infrastructure, rather it is “more just like the beginning.” Amazon states that the closure of Amazon Care will not affect One Medical. Keeping both Amazon Care and One Medical functioning separately would have been duplicative. Integrating the two would have been difficult and expensive. Third-party healthcare services, such as One Medical, allow Amazon to acquire the company’s physical resources, but also their experience and knowledge of the healthcare industry.

This image shows Amazon's care service offerings per their marketing materials
Amazon Care Service Modalities

Amazon, having faced difficulties entering the employer market with Amazon Care, will gain access to One Medical’s 188 medical offices in 29 markets. As of March 2022, One Medical is the largest independent practice in the United States with 767,000 members. Through buying One Medical, Amazon is overcoming its lack of corporate clientele that ultimately led to the demise of Amazon Care, showcasing Amazon’s new approach to healthcare.

This screenshot from One Medical's site shows their current in-person locations across the US
One Medical Office Locations

One Medical’s digital customer experience

CI’s May 2022 Health System Monitor Report evaluated the member experience of One Medical. The key findings of the report highlight One Medical’s simplicity, including its minimal wait times and effective presentation of health data and care plans. The One Medical offices were described as quick, efficient, clean and chic. One Medical initiates an abundance of communication with its members through automated and manual messages. One Medical members can choose between a monthly or annual subscription to access basic prescriptions, lab work, vaccinations and care plans. However, subscription limitations exist for members in need of specialist care. Below, a One Medical subscriber discusses the convenience and cleanliness of their experience:

“I know that they have of course their own offices, but also their own urgent cares, which I think is really convenient. The office that we went to was super convenient for me. It was really close by. It was very clean. There was no one else in the waiting room. I barely had to wait. So that was really nice. I think those are the benefits. At the office we went to, they said they do like everything there. If I needed a gynecology appointment, they had a range of healthcare experiences.”

This screenshot from One Medical's website shows the firm's Murray Hill location in New York City
One Medical Murray Hill Location

A few factors in the One Medical experience did fall short of user expectations, according to the subscribers we spoke to. The One Medical location visited lacked unique technology to set it apart from its competitors. Other Health System Monitor Reports spotlight firms with concierge services, such as Forward Health, that provide noteworthy technology and health data that One Medical lacks.

“I think what stands out to me the most is the chair that I was sitting on; it was almost like a dentist chair. … It also seemed very clean, which is always a good thing in a doctor’s office, but nothing else stood out. The chair was kind of the only thing.” – Current One Medical Patient

One Medical provides a well-organized, aesthetically pleasing desktop and mobile experience. It offers key capabilities such as prescription renewing, messaging and appointment scheduling. The mobile experience mimics the member site’s functionality and modern branding.

This screenshot shows the homepage of One Medical's member site
One Medical Member Site Homepage

Amazon’s purchase of One Medical allows Amazon to expand its office footprint for in-person care and employer clients, both of which Amazon Care lacked. Due to the closing of Amazon Care, One Medical is now Amazon’s sole foothold in the healthcare industry. As large e-commerce giants enter the healthcare realm, the failure of Amazon Care and Amazon’s pursuit of One Medical serves as an example of how to learn, grow and acquire value in the healthcare industry.

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