Amazon Clinic is expanding to all 50 states, including nationwide telehealth services to offer access to clinicians through its website and mobile app.
The online retail giant unveiled Amazon Clinic back in November as a virtual medical clinic to provide care for 35 common health concerns like urinary tract infection, pink eye, and acid reflux. Launched as a message-based virtual consultation service, Amazon Clinic connects consumers with licensed clinicians who can diagnose, treat and prescribe medication for a range of common health and lifestyle conditions.
The service was available in 34 states and has now been expanded nationwide and to Washington, D.C., along with the addition of video visits with providers on Amazon.com and the mobile app, the company announced in a blog post on Tuesday.
Amazon Clinic is currently cash pay and does not yet accept insurance, the company said.
Nworah Ayogu, M.D., chief medical officer and general manager at Amazon Clinic, said the virtual health services help customers get the care and medications they need in the way that is most convenient for them.
"As a doctor, I’ve seen firsthand that patients want to be healthy but lack the time, tools, or resources to effectively manage their care. Amazon provides multiple health services to provide the choice, convenience, and continuity of care customers need when it comes to their health. Amazon Clinic removes barriers by helping customers treat their everyday health concerns wherever they are, at any time of day. And, they can see the cost before they start the visit," Ayogu wrote in the blog post.
The expanded service had been anticipated but was reportedly delayed due to lawmakers' concerns about the company's privacy practices, Politico reported back in June. Senators Peter Welch, D-Vermont, and Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts sent a letter to Amazon executives inquiring about patient health data privacy and expressed concerns that the platform’s new healthcare service is putting users’ private health data at risk, Politico reported, citing an email source.
An Amazon spokesperson denied that there was any “delay as a result of an external inquiry.”
Amazon Clinic partners with third-party telehealth providers including SteadyMD and Wheel to provide virtual consultation services.
As part of its partnership with Amazon, health tech startup Wheel will now be offering video visits to Amazon Clinic customers, tapping into its nationwide network of board-certified physicians and nurse practitioners.
In a separate blog post, For the first time, Wheel co-founder and CEO Michelle Davey said healthcare customers will now see the Wheel brand front and center in Amazon Clinic’s marketplace. "While we’re still a white-labeled B2B service, Amazon’s marketplace provides us with the opportunity to provide customers with insight into why some of the biggest and most innovative brands — including Amazon — choose to work with Wheel. Our nationwide network of board-certified physicians and nurse practitioners have years of experience in primary care, family medicine, and internal medicine. They also bring significant experience delivering care virtually along with a relentless commitment to providing the highest-quality experience," Davey wrote.
Consumers can access Amazon Clinic via the Amazon website or Amazon mobile app to compare response times and prices from multiple telehealth provider groups, complete an intake form, and connect with their chosen provider, Ayogu wrote. Depending on the state in which they are located, customers can connect via messaging or video call—without an appointment or insurance.
Depending on the recommended treatment plan, consumers also can get prescriptions for medications and can fill their prescriptions at Amazon Pharmacy with free shipping or at any other pharmacy of their choice, Ayogu said.
Many startups including Ro, Hims & Hers and Thirty Madison offer similar virtual care services to provide birth control and treat conditions like hair loss, skin conditions and sexual health. As Amazon broadens its footprint in direct-to-consumer healthcare services, it will likely put pressure on other digital health players.
Amazon’s business model is to eliminate the friction in transactions like ordering online that is common elsewhere, noted Michael Abrams, managing partner of Numerof & Associates, in an interview last year.
"In its effort to carve out a place for itself in healthcare, it is sticking with that same general model. Make it easy for the customer to get what they want," Abrams told Fierce Healthcare.
Amazon's healthcare strategy continues to evolve as it pushes further into providing medical services. A year ago, the online retailer announced it would shutter its hybrid health service Amazon Care at the end of the year. The company piloted Amazon Care, which offered virtual urgent care and primary care services for employees and their families, in the Seattle region in 2019. Amazon Care then expanded rapidly with telehealth services available in all 50 states and in-person services in major metro areas.
The company also expanded into pharmacy services when it bought online pharmacy PillPack in 2018 and then later launched it as Amazon Pharmacy.
The company then launched Amazon Clinic in November, making a splash at the HLTH 2022 conference.
Amazon also is making a big bet on primary care with its $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical, a deal that closed in February. With One Medical, Amazon gains 188 brick-and-mortar medical clinics in 29 markets. One Medical markets itself as membership-based, tech-integrated, consumer-focused primary care platform, and the company currently has 815,000 members.