Amazon is discontinuing the Amazon Care telemedicine service
Amazon is shutting down its Amazon Care telehealth service, marking a major retreat from the retail giant in its efforts to break into the healthcare space.
Amazon will discontinue the service after December 31, Amazon Health Services head Neil Lindsay announced in a company email on Wednesday. The e-commerce giant decided to make the move after determining it wasn’t “the right long-term solution for our enterprise customers,” Lindsay wrote in the memo, previously reported by GeekWire.
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“This decision was not an easy one for us and only became clear after many months of careful consideration,” said Lindsay. “While our registered members loved many aspects of Amazon Care, for the large enterprise customers we are targeting, the offering is not complete enough and would not work long-term.”
Though the service will be discontinued, with the launch of Amazon Care, Amazon has gained a deeper understanding of “what it takes over the long term to provide meaningful healthcare solutions to businesses and consumers,” Lindsay wrote in the memo.
Amazon Care started in 2019 as a pilot program for employees in and around the company’s Seattle headquarters. The service offers virtual urgent care visits, as well as free telemedicine consultations and, for a fee, home visits by nurses for testing and vaccinations.
The service was several years in the making. In 2017, Amazon held a secret meeting in Seattle to learn more about patient care, which was attended by healthcare heavyweights, CNBC reported. It then hired a small group of doctors to start a pilot clinic for a few employees.
In February, the company rolled out Amazon Care’s virtual offerings nationwide for its employees and other businesses, signaling it has bigger ambitions for the service.
It’s unclear how much traction Amazon Care had gained. Last June, Babak Parviz, a vice president of Amazon Care, said Amazon had attracted several companies interested in using the service. Corporate customers include Hilton, Silicon Labs, TrueBlue and Whole Foods, the company’s upscale grocer.
Amazon is ceasing service despite CEO Andy Jassy’s pledge to break into the healthcare industry. Last month, Amazon acquired boutique primary care provider One Medical for $3.9 billion. It has also attempted to develop home medical diagnostics. And earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is bidding for home healthcare provider Signify Health.
Here’s the full memo to staff:
health service team,
We are working on an important missionary opportunity. Our vision is to make it easier for people to access the healthcare products and services they need to get and stay healthy. We know this won’t be easy or quick, but we believe it’s important.
One of the ways we’ve worked toward that vision over the past several years has been through our emergency and primary care service offering, Amazon Care. During that time, we’ve collected and listened to extensive feedback from our enterprise customers and their employees, and evolved the service to improve the experience for continuously improve customers. However, despite these efforts, we have determined that Amazon Care is not the right long-term solution for our enterprise customers and have decided that we will no longer be offering Amazon Care after December 31, 2022.
This decision was not easy for us and was only made after many months of careful consideration. While our registered members loved many aspects of Amazon Care, for the large enterprise customers we target, the offering is not complete enough and would not work long-term.
Our work building Amazon Care has deepened our understanding of what it takes over the long term to provide meaningful healthcare solutions for businesses and consumers. You’ve heard me say this before, but I believe healthcare is ripe for reinvention, and our efforts to improve the healthcare experience can have an immensely positive impact on our quality of life and health outcomes. However, none of these reasons make this decision any easier for the teams that have helped build Amazon Care or for the customers that our Care team serves.
Our priority now is to support you, no matter which path you take. Many Care employees will have opportunities to join other parts of the Health Services organization or other teams at Amazon – which we’ll be speaking to many of you about shortly – and we will also support employees who are looking for positions outside of the company.
Thank you to the Amazon Care and Care Medical teams for all your hard work over the past few years. You should be very proud of what this team has achieved in a short amount of time. I am also grateful to our members and business customers who entrust us with their care; This is not a responsibility that we take lightly. As we learn from Amazon Care, we will continue to invent, learn from our customers and industry partners, and hold ourselves to the highest standards as we continue to help reshape the future of healthcare.