Mobile Health Topic of the Week

Amazon Care: Why you should Care

Amazon wants to disrupt healthcare. After the creation of Haven and Amazon’s acquisition of Pillpack , its next move was Amazon Care. This app promises a complete healthcare service for minor ailments, backed by Amazon’s infrastructure, a family medicine practice and Pillpack’s record delivery times. But how did this all came to be?

Amazon Cares

  • Jeff Bezos firmly believes that the healthcare currently provided to Amazon employees by the US industry is needlessly costly and inefficient.
  • To that end, Amazon founded Haven, alongside JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway (whose CEO is Warren Buffet).
  • Haven is a non-profit organisation whose aim is to use technology and data to revolutionize the healthcare of its’ founders employees.

Haven’s first offspring

  • Amazon Care appears to be the first product of the work going on inside Haven HQ.
  • It is a smartphone application that combines three previously separate services in a seamless, all-inclusive package:
    • Telehealth in the form of patient-initiated chats with nurses as well as video calls with doctors. Oasis Medical Group, a family-medicine practice in Seattle, provides the resources for this utility.
    • Home visits by Mobile Care Nurses, presumably courtesy of the same clinic.
    • Home delivery of prescribed medication by a Care Courier – Pillpack in disguise?
  • Although each component is far from innovative, the convenience of Amazon Care is unmatched. Timely and cost-effective employee healthcare will greatly benefit Amazon in the long run.
  • Finding reviews of the service outside of the official Amazon sources has not been possible – thus we don’t know about users’ real experiences.

The way forward

  • It is almost certain that Amazon will be refining the user experience based on feedback. The app’s coverage is also expected to expand beyond Seattle in the coming months.
  • The company will also definitely be monitoring the effect of this service on the health of their employees. The question is: Will they run a proper study, like Apple did with the Apple Watch?
  • We believe so, as Amazon will definitively try to offer a modified version of this app to the general public. When that happens, they’ll need all the evidence they can get.

Take home messages

  • Big tech companies (think Apple) no longer rely on the state for providing healthcare to their employees. Unless we see great restructuring in current healthcare systems, it won’t be long until Google or Apple found their own hospitals (as in Max Barry’s dystopian universe).
  • Amazon’s Care is unique in the sense that it combines three elements that satisfy all participants: low-cost, high-quality and extreme convenience.
  • We’re anxious to hear from real Care users about the experience, as well as official announcements for the next big thing coming out of Haven.

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