Amazon partners with City of Hope for employee cancer support services

City of Hope
Specialists at City of Hope, a National Institutes of Health-designated comprehensive cancer center, will work with Amazon’s health plans to support the care of patients with the most complex cancers, officials said. (matthewstringer/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Los Angeles-based City of Hope is partnering with Amazon to offer enhanced cancer support services to the online retail giant's employees in the U.S.

Announced Tuesday, the partnership will open up access to resources at the cancer research and treatment center such as its precision oncology program. The services will also include a dedicated phone line staffed by oncology nurses as well as specialized support for complex cancers and diagnosis and treatment plan review.

“Amazon proudly employs more than 275,000 people across the U.S., and we strive to offer Amazonians and their families access to benefits that make a meaningful impact on their lives,” said Dene Sparrman, director of global benefits at Amazon, in a statement. “We believe that it’s critical to provide our employees with a comprehensive cancer care program—from real-time support to second opinions and treatment planning.” 

Officials said the goals of the program are to improve quality of life and health outcomes, reduce unnecessary expenses and get people living with cancer back to their lives and their work.  

RELATED: Amazon launches pilot of virtual employee medical service Amazon Care

It's yet another example of how Amazon is seeking to disrupt the healthcare market and curb employee health costs.

Amazon has been rapidly expanding its reach in the healthcare space, most notably in 2018 with its acquisition of online pharmacy PillPack. The tech company also sparked rampant speculation when it teamed up with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway on a healthcare venture they've dubbed Haven

Last month, Amazon began piloting a new virtual health service benefit for employees and their families in the Seattle region. 

Calling it Amazon Care, the tech giant said the service combines "the best of both virtual and in-person care" by offering virtual visits, in-person primary care visits at patients' homes or offices and prescription delivery. Officials said Amazon Care provides a mobile app to allow employees to access virtual and in-person healthcare services from its partner, Washington-based Oasis Medical Group. Earlier this year, Amazon began partnering with numerous healthcare organizations, including several companies in California as well as the U.K.'s National Health Service, to let consumers and employees use Alexa for healthcare purposes.

Recently, it has reportedly been making efforts to create "fitness tracking" earbuds that will be able to measure distance run, calories burned and pace of running.