Amazon Care’s virtual care services are now available to employers nationwide. As the e-commerce mega-giant Amazon’s telehealth platform, the service dominates healthcare just as Amazon is dominating many other areas. Amazon started incubating its virtual care and on-demand services for its employees in Seattle in 2019.
Amazon Care’s Behavioral Services
Behavioral services offered to Amazon employees include:
- Free one-on-one counseling sessions—three sessions per person, per topic.
- Flexible modality options including in-person, phone, video, or text conversations
- Interactive self-care programs, including self-assessments and a stress resource center.
- Crisis and suicide prevention support and access to a licensed mental health clinician any time of day.
- Access to a self-paced app that offers computerized Cognitive Behavior Therapy, mindfulness resources, and personalized support for a broad range of mental health and wellness issues.
Expansion of Amazon Care to Nationwide Employers
In March 2021, Amazon healthcare expanded its services to include US-based employees of other corporations. Whole Foods and Silicon Labs are two notable employers using it for their employees. Since then, Amazon healthcare has steadily grown its footprint nationwide. Through strategic collaborations with technology giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple, Amazon Care’s services have become increasingly more appealing to employers nationwide. With more states and insurers expanding telehealth reimbursement and the industry increasing investor patronage, Amazon Care has gone national with its telemedicine services.
Today, Amazon CareAmazon Care provides both virtual care and on-demand home services. Users can consult healthcare providers quickly and conveniently through video or chat. They can also book in-person care at home or office. Amazon telehealth projects the telemedicine initiative as the “first stop” for urgent and primary care that a patient seeks from a general practitioner. Services range from infections, injuries, and illness treatment to birth control, pregnancy care, fertility, prescription requests, as well as many of the behavioral services described above.
Amazon Care offers to send a nurse practitioner for in-person treatment when virtual care fails to meet the required level of care. Users have the option to book follow-up visits and order online medicine deliveries. They can also view summaries of diagnosis, care, and treatment plans along with invoices on Amazon Care.
Prospects & Potential Market Disruption
In 20 major US cities, Amazon Care services are additionally available in-person. It has started an online pharmacy, Halo fitness trackers, and Alexa Together voice assistant to reinforce the Amazon telehealth venture. See TBHI’s article Alexa Together: Remote Patient Monitoring is Available for Older Adults for more information. The parent Amazon company continues to invest heavily in Amazon Care to expand the platform and is adding more tech-based solutions focused on its “customer first” pitch. Although Amazon Care may seem to be enjoying a meteoric rise to the top of telehealth, the company has experienced setbacks.“Haven”, the name of the joint healthcare venture between Berkshire Hathaway, JP Morgan Chase, and Amazon ended prematurely after Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase backed out of it in 2021 despite a surge in telemedicine services due to COVID.
Amazon Care & Behavioral Practitioners
By expanding nationwide, Amazon is proving that it has the potential to successfully navigate often complex and conflicting healthcare requirements imposed by state and federal healthcare requirements. How that impacts behavioral clinicians delivering care is yet to be seen. Practicing professionals can expect that the mega-giant will bring innovation to automate services and increase access to the millions of people who either don’t get enough care or don’t get care at all – but will that be enough? Time will tell.
TBHI Telehealth.org encourages clinicians to be fully aware that Amazon Care services have entered the field. If Amazon introduces innovation to better serve those in need while allowing practitioners to adhere to legal and ethical requirements, it indeed will be revolutionary. Many companies have made similar promises but have seriously fallen short. TBHI Telehealth.org will continue to post updates, as we have with other significant contenders in the past.
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