Amazon continues its journey into the healthcare industry with a new telemedicine platform; aptly named Amazon Clinic.
The service comes just four months after the tech giant announced it intended to buy the healthcare company One Medical for $3.9 billion. Thanks to this partnership Amazon Clinic (opens in a new tab) will offer digital health services and direct access to company doctors for 23 “common conditions” including allergies, hair loss and migraines.
The Amazon Clinic is not intended to replace your primary care physician or treat more serious conditions. The purpose of the platform is to help people with ailments that require private care, but can be easily resolved over the Internet. For more complex scenarios, clinicians will advise you to seek personal care.
The announcement stated that only 32 states will have access to Amazon Care, but there are plans to expand to all 50. The 18 states that do not have Amazon Care include Arizona, Delaware, Mississippi, New York and West Virginia.
How it’s working
For help, first go to Amazon Clinic Homepage (opens in a new tab) and choose something like “seasonal allergy”, for example. From there, you select the state you live in (assuming the service is available to you) and select an online clinic. You answer a few questions about what you’re going through, information is checked, and a clinician will get back to you within a few hours. There is no subscription fee to use the Amazon Clinic website, but you have to pay the clinicians themselves.
The service does not support insurance; although you can pay through an FSA (Flexible Spending Account) or HSA (Health Savings Account). Also, the charges you will incur do not include the cost of medication; it’s extra. As announced, Amazon plans to accept insurance in the future.
All consultations take place “through a secure news-based portal, giving [you] flexibility in sending messages [your] clinician” whenever you want. There are no video calls or live chats. From the portal, the healthcare provider will send you a “personalized treatment plan … containing all necessary prescriptions …”, which can be filled at your local pharmacy. You won’t be forced to use it Amazon Pharmacy (opens in a new tab) but using it is certainly an option.
Amazon Clinic also offers prescription renewals, although the selection is more limited. It only covers five types of prescriptions, including asthma and high blood pressure medications. But the process is still the same: answer a few questions and you’ll get an answer a few hours later.
We asked Amazon if there are plans for global expansion and if video calls will be supported. This story will be updated if we get a response.
A changing landscape
The first question that will probably come to everyone’s mind is “is this platform safe?” The company says Amazon Clinic will “comply with HIPAA and all other applicable laws and regulations” to keep user data safe. Also, this isn’t Amazon’s first healthcare rodeo.
before that Amazon Care has helped businesses provide health benefits to its employees. however this the service will be disabled until December 31 (opens in a new tab) because it was too limited in scope for the company. It will be interesting to see how influential Amazon Clinic will be. Offering fast virtual health services can help with personal care by reducing the burden and ensuring short waiting times.
If you are interested in other types of remote care, be sure to read TechRadar’s list best telemedicine software for 2022.