Amazon is launching Amazon Care, a virtual primary care offering for its Seattle-based employees. CNBC broke the news after Amazon sent information about the program to its employees and launched a website, amazon.care, laying out the details of the offering.
"To help Amazon employees get excellent medical advice and help whenever it’s needed, we’re piloting a new program for employees and their dependents — Amazon Care," the company wrote in the email, as obtained by CNBC. "The benefit is currently in pilot form for a population of employees in the Greater Seattle area and we’re looking forward to helping build and scale the benefit to meet the needs of more employees in the months and years ahead."
WHAT'S THE IMPACT
Amazon Care will include telemedicine, online chat with a nurse, medication delivery and app-enabled house calls to the employee's office or home. Amazon is not employing any doctors; instead, the company is contracting with a local clinic called Oasis Medical Group. Also, the offering is not 24/7, though it does have extended hours, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. It is not being offered or recommended for emergency care.
The news comes after more than a year of 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. A key question is whether this will remain a service for Amazon employees only, or if the company is planning to eventually offer it as a direct-to-consumer healthcare product in its own right.
THE LARGER TREND
Amazon is following in the footsteps of Apple, which quietly launched its own employee clinic network called AC Wellness in early 2018.
If Amazon Care is going to be offered more broadly eventually, it could connect with several other Amazon entreés into healthcare, such as the company's PillPack acquisition or Haven, its much-ballyhooed JV with Berkshire-Hathaway and JP Morgan.