Amazon is trying its hand at another healthcare service.
The Seattle tech giant announced Tuesday that it’s launching “Amazon Clinic,” a new virtual care platform that uses message-based interaction to connect customers with third-party telehealth providers. The goal is to offer a convenient way to seek treatment for more than 20 common health conditions, including seasonal allergies, acne, migraines and more.
“We believe that improving both the occasional and ongoing engagement experience is necessary to making care dramatically better. We also believe that customers should have the agency to choose what works best for them,” said Dr. Nworah Ayogu, chief medical officer and general manager of Amazon Clinic, in a blog post.
The launch of Amazon Clinic comes just a few months after Amazon announced that it would stop offering its Amazon Care primary healthcare services at the end of this year after determining that it wasn’t the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. That service was a hybrid of virtual and in-home primary care and urgent care services, without brick-and-mortar clinics or physical locations. It launched in 2019 as a pilot program for employees in the Seattle area, where Amazon is headquartered. Last year it expanded to non-Amazon employees across the nation.
Clinic patients seeking help via Amazon Clinic get started on Amazon.com or in the Amazon app by selecting their condition and then choosing a preferred provider. Amazon says those providers have gone through “rigorous clinical quality and customer experience evaluations” by the company’s clinical leadership team.
After a message-based consultation the clinician will send a personalized treatment plan via the Amazon Clinic portal, which Amazon says adheres to stringent customer privacy policies and complies with HIPAA and other applicable laws and regulations.
The cost of consultations will vary, and prices are set by providers, not Amazon Clinic. It’s not clear how exactly Amazon generates revenue from Amazon Clinic.
The service will initially operate in 32 states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Amazon Clinic does not yet accept insurance. Customers can select a pharmacy for any prescription needs related to treatment. Follow-up messages will continue for up to two weeks after the initial consultation.
Amazon listed a variety of possible conditions that could be treated by Amazon Clinic: acne, asthma refills, birth control, cold sores, conjunctivitis, dandruff, eczema, erectile dysfunction, eyelash growth, genital herpes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hyperlipidemia refills, hypertension refills, hypothyroidism refills, men’s hair loss, migraines, motion sickness, rosacea, seasonal allergies, sinusitis, smoking cessation, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and yeast infections.
Amazon has invested heavily in healthcare over the past several years. The company launched its Amazon Pharmacy service in November 2020, following its $753 million acquisition of prescription-by-mail company PillPack in 2018. Ayogu was previously chief medical officer of Amazon Pharmacy.
There are a bevy of other players in the telehealth industry. Seattle telehealth startup 98point6 launched in 2015 to make connecting with a physician as “simple as sending a text or doing an online search.” The company announced in September that it is licensing its virtual care delivery platform in a deal with Tacoma, Wash.-based MultiCare Health System as it raised more than $20 million in a convertible note offering to fund expansion.