Amazon launches virtual healthcare clinic in U.S. for common ailments
Amazon Inc. announced on Tuesday that it is introducing Amazon Clinic, a new virtual healthcare service for its users, which would provide treatments for more than 20 “common health issues.”
The new virtual care clinic enables a clinician to review symptoms and recommend therapy without requiring a video visit or live conversation. Acne, dandruff, allergies, eczema, and other illnesses fall under the category of health issues.
The debut of Clinic comes after Amazon’s $3.9 billion purchase of primary healthcare provider One Medical in July, which the corporation did in order to increase its presence in the healthcare sector. Following the company’s purchase of the prescription-by-mail service PillPack in 2018 for $753 million, Amazon Pharmacy was also introduced in 2020.
“We believe that improving both the occasional and ongoing engagement experience is necessary to making care dramatically better,” the company said in the announcement. “We also believe that customers should have the agency to choose what works best for them.”
Customers can choose from a list of certified telehealth providers after choosing the condition they want to chat with a physician about on Amazon Clinic. They next complete a brief question about their symptoms and general health. From there, customers are connected to the clinician who guides them through the consultation using a messaging service that protects their privacy.
Customers of the clinic can fill their prescriptions at any drugstore, including Amazon Pharmacy, if a medication is prescribed. According to Amazon, the cost of the consultation includes two weeks of follow-up messages between the patient and doctor.
Despite not currently accepting insurance, Amazon Clinic claims that the cost of care is on par with or less than the typical copay. Amazon clarified that patients will be able to see how much a consultation will cost up-front when they seek treatment and that these pricing are established by the doctors and not the corporation.
By visiting the page for the ailment and treatment they are interested in, customers can also compare prices. The cost of any prescription medication, however, is not covered by the visit’s fee.
While there are plans to eventually expand the business, the service will initially be made available in 32 states across the U.S.
This is not Amazon’s first venture into virtual healthcare. In order to offer video telehealth and in-home doctor visits to its own employees, it created Amazon Care in 2019 and then expanded it into a nationwide service in February. However, Amazon Care has met an untimely demise and will now be discontinued by the end of the year.