Amazon employees and their families living in Seattle will now have access to tech-enabled Amazon Care, CNBC first reported. This comes roughly five months after the news emerged that the company was planning this rollout.
Like many services on the market, the tech giant will be offering face-to-face and virtual care options.
Patients will be able to access care through multiple channels including texting, video chat and a mobile care clinic, where a nurse will come to the patient’s home or office. The service will also allow patients to get their medications deliver via a “Care Courier” at their home or office.
According to the website, the services can address everyday health, urgent care, sexual health, travel consultations and general health questions. So far, the plan’s care team is made up of doctors, nurse practioners and registered nurses.
The company specified that the service won’t impact a patient’s relationship with their current doctor and it won’t impact their health insurance eligibility or enrollment.
Amazon Care is delivered through Oasis Medical’s services. The service is subsidized by Amazon for employees and their dependents. The texting service is free for members; however, there is a fee for the video care and mobile care.
WHY IT MATTERS
It’s no secret that big tech has been interested in the health space and has the resources to make it happen. Amazon’s been closely watched after it announced in 2018 a major collaboration with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to build an independent, nonprofit healthcare company with the goal of increasing user satisfaction and reducing costs. However, there are still a lot of unknowns about what this joint venture, named Haven, will look like or mean for healthcare.
Over the last few years, there have also been many rumors that Amazon was considering its own clinic for employees, and the industry has already seen plenty of speculation about what the move might mean.
Amazon is also looking to the pharmacy space. In 2018, it announced that it was acquiring virtual pharmacy PillPack for $753 million. This service has since gone live and is now called PillPack by Amazon Pharmacy.
THE LARGER TREND
Amazon isn’t the only employer looking to provide more care channels for its employees. For example, Apple quietly launched its own employee clinic network called AC Wellness in early 2018.
In October Walmart announced that associates in Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin can choose to participate in a telemedicine program that provides virtual care for $4 per visit.