The Seattle Times reports that "an Amazon telehealth outfit that started as a pilot service for Seattle-area employees and their families has quietly filed paperwork to operate in 21 more states, a signal of Amazon’s expanding ambitions for the $3.8 trillion medical sector."
Not only is it expanding the number of states where it wants to expand - the company has filed paper work in Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming - but it also reportedly is pitching other companies on using the service. Among them, Seattle-based Zillow.
And, Amazon reportedly is hiring health care practitioners, researchers and managers around the country, and plans to lobby "lawmakers to ease regulations on what kind of health services can be performed outside of a doctor’s office — potentially widening the services" it can offer.
"The service, Amazon Care, launched a year ago as an app providing on-demand chat and video consultations with medical professionals for Amazon’s then-54,000 Puget Sound employees. Users can also book in-person visits at their home or office with clinicians. Payment for the service routes through Amazon.com."
- KC's View:
Amazon has long seen health care as having enormous potential for its eliminate-the-friction approach to disrupting traditional business models. Not everything has worked out, like its partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase that it believed might be able to create a new health care model. But it continues to work on a variety of other fronts, still owns PillPack, and probably has ambitions we can only guess at.
It has been a fact of life that the pandemic has been good for Amazon, accelerating e-commerce behavior four or five years beyond expectations. It may well be that the use of telehealth services, which became common when the pandemic prevented people from visiting doctors' offices, has been accelerated as well, and that Amazon will be in the right place at the right time.