Amazon’s ongoing campaign into the multibillion dollar healthcare industry entered its newest phase today with the announcement of Amazon Clinic, the company’s own telehealth service. Per an official statement posted this morning, Amazon Clinic is already available in 32 states, and can connect consumers with medical professionals via a secure, message-based virtual care portal to facilitate treatment for over 20 common conditions and needs such as acne, asthma, dandruff, urinary tract infections, seasonal allergies, as well as birth control.
To utilize the service, customers choose from a list of issues, then select a preferred provider before completing an intake survey. They are then directly connected with a telehealth official via a private messaging service. Afterwards, Amazon Clinic can have any necessary prescriptions called in to patients’ pharmacy of choice, or through the Amazon Pharmacy program first launched in November 2020. Pharmacy costs will be determined and paid through customers’ existing healthcare plans. A quick survey of initial available telehealth options range between $30 and $42, excluding any additional prescription payments.
To get started, customers select their condition, then choose their preferred provider from a list of licensed and qualified telehealth providers. Next, they complete a short intake questionnaire. Customers and clinicians then directly connect through a secure message-based portal, giving customers the flexibility to message their clinician when it’s most convenient for them—anytime, anywhere. After the message-based consultation, the clinician will send a personalized treatment plan via the portal, including any necessary prescriptions to the customer’s preferred pharmacy.
Unlike certain other aspects of its business model, Amazon has repeatedly made clear that it hopes healthcare will become a major component in its ever-widening expansion into consumers’ daily lives—from smart home systems, to entertainment, to even banking and finances. In 2018, Amazon acquired the online pharmacy startup, PillPack, ahead of the launch of Amazon Pharmacy, a service that allows consumers to buy over-the-counter and some prescription medications. The following year saw a limited test launch of its initial telehealth incarnation, Amazon Care, for its Seattle employees, while Amazon entered into a multibillion dollar deal with primary care provider, One Medical, earlier this year. If approved by the FTC, could soon see the retailer establishing brick-and-mortar healthcare locations.
Recent news regarding the sunsetting of Amazon Care led some to believe the company was reevaluating its medical industry aspirations, but today’s launch of Clinic could indicate more of a recalibration than hesitancy.