Three years after it began piloting a primary care service for its employees that blended telehealth and in-person medical services, Amazon plans to cease operations of its Amazon Care service.
Amazon announced Wednesday afternoon that it would end Amazon Care operations after December 31. In an email to Amazon Health Services employees, Neil Lindsay, senior vice president of Amazon Health Services, said Amazon Care wasn't a sustainable, long-term solution for its enterprise customers.
Amazon provided a copy of the email to Fierce Healthcare.
The decision only impacts Amazon Care and Care Medical teams and not Amazon's other healthcare services.
While operating Amazon Care, the company "gathered and listened to extensive feedback" from its enterprise customers and their employees and evolved the service to continuously improve the experience for customers, Lindsay wrote in the email to employees.
"However, despite these efforts, we’ve determined that Amazon Care isn’t the right long-term solution for our enterprise customers, and have decided that we will no longer offer Amazon Care after December 31, 2022," Lindsay wrote.
"This decision wasn’t made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration. Although our enrolled members have loved many aspects of Amazon Care, it is not a complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers we have been targeting, and wasn’t going to work long-term," he said.
Amazon Care was a cornerstone of the company's efforts to expand its footprint in the healthcare industry. The online retail company piloted virtual urgent care and primary care services with Amazon employees and their families in the Seattle region in 2019.
Amazon Care has since expanded rapidly with telehealth services available in all 50 states and in-person services in at least seven cities, including Dallas, D.C. and Baltimore. As part of its ambitions in healthcare, Amazon then focused on ramping up partnerships with employers and signed on other companies as clients including Silicon Labs, TrueBlue, Whole Foods Market, Precor—a Washington-based fitness equipment company that was acquired by Peloton—and Hilton.
Some industry insiders have said that Amazon Care struggled to gain a foothold with employer clients.
The company was on track to rapidly expand its hybrid care model to more than 20 additional cities in 2022, including major metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Miami, Chicago and New York City.
CEO Andy Jassy has made healthcare a priority, citing Amazon Care as an example of “iterative innovation” in his first letter to shareholders earlier this year. In July, the company announced plans to buy concierge primary care provider One Medical in a deal valued at approximately $3.9 billion.
If the One Medical deal goes through, it would significantly expand Amazon's foothold in the nearly $4 trillion healthcare market, specifically in the competitive primary care market.
One Medical markets itself as a membership-based, tech-integrated, consumer-focused primary care platform. The company operates 188 offices in 29 markets. At the end of March, One Medical had 767,000 members.
The deal also gives Amazon rapid access to the lucrative employer market as One Medical works with 8,000 companies.
The One Medical acquisition has not yet closed.
Lindsay said the company's work building Amazon Care has deepened its understanding of "what's needed long-term to deliver meaningful health care solutions for enterprise and individual customers."
"I believe the health care space is ripe for reinvention, and our efforts to help improve the health care experience can have an immensely positive impact on our quality of life and health outcomes. However, none of these reasons make this decision any easier for the teams that have helped to build Amazon Care, or for the customers our Care team serves," he wrote.
The decision to cease Amazon Care's operations will likely mean some employees will be laid off. Lindsay said in his email to employees that many Amazon Care employees will have an opportunity to join other parts of the Health Services organization or other teams at Amazon. "We'll also support employees looking for roles outside of the company," he said.