On Wednesday, Amazon confirmed it would be shutting down Amazon Carse and Care Medical are at the heart of its employer-sponsored hybrid primary and urgent care business. The business dates back to 2019, when the e-commerce giant decided to start offering virtual clinics to its own employees 24/7.Later, Amazon expanded face-to-face and Telehealth Platform for Employers and workers in all 50 states.
ironnically, Haven also closed Three years after its establishment. Recall that Haven, a joint venture between Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway, should herald a new era of technology and innovation to manage runaway health care costs for employees. For the trio, this failure could be a humiliation — who, apart from all the good talk and publicity press releases, would have known healthcare could be so complicated? Channeling a confused Trump here…
For Amazon, shutting down its healthcare service is a second failure. Less than six months ago, the doctors who lead Care Medical’s business also praised Amazon for being “customer-first” and a refuge for weary doctors. Admitting failure now is a lesson. This should be a clear cautionary tale for all the tech brethren eager to push technology into an inefficient, fragmented, and much-needed rescue industry.You can’t compromise the quality of your healthcare As the Washington Post so brilliantly reported on Amazon Care, Meet the faster, better, cheaper business philosophy.
But does the closure of Amazon Care and Care Medical mean anything other than a second, perhaps even bigger, public shaming after the Haven saga? Has it fundamentally changed the Seattle company’s ambitions in healthcare, its desire for a piece of the pie, its ability to lead change, its chances of success?
Before we get started, let’s delve into the details of the news.
The death knell for Amazon Care and Nursing Care will be sounded on December 31, after which those businesses will cease to exist, according to a memo sent by Amazon Health Services senior vice president Neil Lindsay to the company’s health services team. An Amazon spokesperson shared the memo with MedCity News. Essentially, Amazon’s employer customers determine that the business has no long-term future. To quell what is bound to cause panic among the affected employee base, Lindsay added that many Amazon Nursing and Nursing Medical employees will find work in the company’s health services business.
It’s unclear how many people work for Amazon Care or Care Medical, although a LinkedIn search for the latter entity was linked to the profiles of 94 employees. A spokeswoman who shared Lindsay’s communications with employees did not respond to additional questions about employee numbers.
It’s unclear how many customers Amazon Nursing and Nursing Care has — Whole Foods Market (an Amazon subsidiary), Precor, Silicon Labs, TrueBlue and Hilton — beyond those publicly reported by MedCity News and others. The Lindsay memo seemed to imply the obvious—Amazon Care never really got traction, so Amazon considered it optional.
A healthcare corporate venture capitalist has praised Amazon’s “rational decision” in its decision to shut down Amazon Care and Care Medical.
“I like the way Amazon has been trying to break into the employer health market — first with Haven, then Care, and now One Medical,” said Michael Yang, managing director of OMERS Ventures, an Ontario municipal employee pension plan venture capital sector. , in the email.
retailer is sWaiting for a penny – $3.9 billion –Acquisition of One Medical, although the deal has not yet closed. Young noted that the San Francisco company “has a much larger footprint in the employer market” than Amazon Care.
In other words, the fact that Amazon admits defeat and moves on isn’t a big deal, and it won’t change the company’s growing ambitions in healthcare. So does failure even matter?
“Well, healthcare is hard, so we should expect failure, but if anything, their ambitions are only going to get bigger,” Yang said of Amazon. “It doesn’t matter if they keep Care running or shut it down. What matters is One Medical and whatever else they’re after.”
Another healthcare industry player and thought leader agrees.
“[Amazon] There was a Skunk Works before (Amazon Nursing and Nursing Medical) and [it] Basically getting a clinical operation at scale, with proper clinical and regulatory controls (One Medical),” said Sachin Jain, CEO of SCAN Health Plan, a Medicare Advantage plan. So, that’s probably just a fancy way of saying that they are Merge Amazon Care into One Medical,” [Note that the One Medical acquisition is not complete yet.]
In other words, “they’re fighting for the win and realizing that building it organically isn’t going to cut it,” Yang declared, adding that he wouldn’t bet against Amazon despite the setback.
There’s a similar sentiment even after the much-touted safe haven’s run-down: You can’t take Amazon out of the equation, you can’t bet on it. But selling healthcare services is not like selling books or any other consumer product, and faster, better, and cheaper may not all translate into good results.
“I don’t know much about the Amazon Care story, but there is a broader trend in our industry to replace specialists with GPs, doctors with nurse practitioners, nurse practitioners with registered nurses, and registered nurses with community health workers ,” Jain pointed out. “Unless your clinical DNA is very strong, a lot of organizations make a lot of mistakes, you know, it’s not, it’s not clear where the DNA is going to come from, you know, inside Amazon.”
Maybe that’s why Amazon didn’t stop buying One Medical altogether.It is reported that this is also One of the bidders for Signify Health That’s a $6.6 billion value care company. Dallas-based Signify Health is powering home health services, the next big opportunity in healthcare. Also based at Signify Health is another company called Caravan, which supports responsible care organizations.In fact, Caravan has more than 200 health systems and 100 federally qualified health centers in its client base, with more than 10,000 primary care providers, collectively managing more than 500,000 patients, according to February Medical City News article.
If Amazon succeeds in acquiring Signify Health, it will gain another complex healthcare conundrum, as well as primary care and pharmacy businesses. But acquiring a new company is no guarantee of success.Amazon Pharmacy, which was reportedly created after acquiring PillPack, appears to have much less traction Fundamentally reform the prescription drug market. Still, Amazon is trying to build a continuum of care, with customers dabbing in the middle. Only time will tell if its efforts in healthcare can increase its revenue while also improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs.
“Building a continuum is easier in press releases than in real life,” Jain declared. “I think the question is, how do you actually make one plus one equal three?
Publicizing corporate efforts through breathless press releases is in the DNA of all businesses, and Amazon is no exception. But given the two major failures, Amazon’s marketers should perhaps rethink their messaging.
about to close Amazon Care’s LinkedIn Page Unabashedly declares that the business is “making health care easy for all.”
Healthcare has no easy buttons. period.
[Editor’s Note: Author owns stock in Amazon]
Photo: DragonImages, Getty Images