Amazon launches message-based virtual healthcare clinic for common ailments

Amazon launches message-based virtual healthcare clinic for common ailments

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Amazon Inc. said today it’s launching a new virtual healthcare option for its customers called Amazon Clinic that will offer treatments for more than 20 “common health conditions.”

The new virtual care clinic does not require a video visit or live chat and allows a clinician to review symptoms and prescribe treatment. Categories of health conditions include acne, dandruff, allergies, eczema and more.

The launch of Clinic follows Amazon’s July deal to buy the primary healthcare provider One Medical for $3.9 billion, which the company acquired to expand its footprint in the healthcare industry. Amazon Pharmacy was also launched in 2020 after the company acquired the prescription-by-mail service PillPack in 2018 for $753 million.

“We believe that improving both the occasional and ongoing engagement experience is necessary to making care dramatically better,” the company said in the announcement. “We also believe that customers should have the agency to choose what works best for them.”

To get started with Amazon Clinic, customers simply select the condition they want to speak to a clinician about and then select from a list of qualified telehealth providers. They then fill out a short survey of their symptoms and health information. From there they are connected through a privacy-protected messaging system to the clinician who walks them through the consultation.

If a medicine is prescribed, clinic customers can fill their prescriptions at any pharmacy, including Amazon Pharmacy. Amazon said that two weeks of follow-up messages between the patient and clinician are included with the cost of the consultation.

Although Amazon Clinic does not accept insurance at this time, Amazon said that the care is equivalent to or less than the average copay. Amazon explained that these prices are set by the providers and not the company and that patients will be able to see how much a consultation will cost up-front when they seek treatment.

Customers can also compare prices by visiting the page for the condition and the treatment they’re interested in. However, the cost of the medication that may be prescribed is not included in the visit.

The service will be initially available across 32 states in the U.S., with plans to expand the operation in the future.

This isn’t Amazon’s first virtual healthcare project. It launched Amazon Care in 2019 in order to provide video telehealth and in-home doctor visits to its own employees, and eventually expanded it into a nationwide service in February. However, Amazon Care has come to an ill-fated end and is now planned to be shuttered by the end of the year.

Image: Amazon

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