Industry News

Amazon attracting multiple companies to telehealth service

Amazon Care has signed several companies to its telehealth service, an executive said during a Wall Street Journal event on Wednesday, as the consumer giant continues with plans to roll out the service to all 50 states by this summer.

Speaking at the WSJ Tech Health event, Amazon VP Babak Parviz said that “we’ve had quite a bit of interest from other companies in using this service,” according to CNBC.

“We are planning to expand the digital component of this in the next few months to every state in the U.S.,” said Parviz. “We’ll also make it available to other company employees, besides Amazon, to use this, should they choose to sign up and use the service.

“The plan is to expand the service nationwide,” he said.

WHY IT MATTERS

Amazon made waves across the telehealth industry when it confirmed earlier this year that it planned to expand its app-based care services nationwide.

Described by Parviz as a “hybrid” service, users in Washington state, as well as those in Baltimore and D.C., can access in-person aspects of care for follow-up needs such as blood draws.

“It has an entry point, which is an app, on someone’s phone,” he said.

Parviz said that the company is planning to make the so-called full service available in other regions “as fast as we can.”

The interview follows reports that Amazon is also in talks to launch an at-home testing service, after an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars toward COVID-19 testing for employees.

“We decided to be additive to the healthcare system, not subtractive, and build our own test facilities,” Parviz said about the COVID-19 testing initiative.

Parviz said that the initiative went from idea to execution in a matter of weeks.

“This is from a company that never actually built a test facility, or anything remotely resembling that,” he said.

THE LARGER TREND

Amazon isn’t the only major retailer getting into the telehealth game.

Just this week, Walmart signaled its own plans to expand virtual services, filing to do business in more than a dozen states.

Although the reinstatement of federal restrictions on telehealth may stymie the breakneck pace of growth, some experts say that deep-pocketed companies have the resources to weather any state-by-state complexities.

ON THE RECORD

“Amazon Care is a healthcare service that is ‘cyber physical’ – it’s hybrid. It’s part digital, part physical,” said Parviz.

“It’s quite different from anything we’ve had in the past,” he added.

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: kjercich@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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