Amazon has launched Amazon Clinic, a message-based online healthcare service that offers treatments for over 20 “common health conditions” such as allergies, dandruff, hair loss, birth control, erectile dysfunction, and acne.
Amazon Clinic requires customers to select the condition they require treatment for and then choose a preferred provider from an available list of licensed telehealth providers. After completing an intake questionnaire, customers can connect with clinicians for a consultation via a secure message-based portal. A personalized treatment plan will then be provided via the portal alongside any necessary prescriptions, which can be filled at any pharmacy of the customer’s choosing — including Amazon Pharmacy.
Consultations include up to two weeks of ongoing follow-up messages between customers and clinicians, and prices will be available upfront. These prices are set by the telehealth providers, though Amazon claims that “In many cases, the cost of care is equivalent or less than the average copay.” Amazon Clinic currently doesn’t accept insurance but notes that the service is FSA and HSA eligible, and that customers may be able to use their insurance for medications prescribed through Amazon Clinic.
Birth control is available through the service alongside treatment for common conditions such as erectile dysfunction, UTIs, sinusitis, and yeast infections. The Clinic also provides additional treatments for pre-diagnosed conditions such as eczema and genital herpes, and can be used to renew existing medication prescriptions for conditions like migraines, asthma, and high blood pressure. The virtual clinic will operate alongside the retail giant’s own Amazon Pharmacy service and primary care tech provider One Medical, which is in the process of being acquired by Amazon for approximately $3.9 billion. Amazon Clinic will initially operate in 32 states across the US, with plans to expand in the coming months.
Amazon’s original telehealth service, Amazon Care, with be shut down on December 31st
Amazon accidentally leaked today’s news by publishing (and then swiftly removing) a YouTube video on Tuesday last week containing details about the Amazon Clinic program. This also isn’t Amazon’s first foray into virtual healthcare, having launched its original telehealth service Amazon Care back in 2019. That service, which will be shut down on December 31st, started as an exclusive offering for Amazon employees and then expanded to service employees of external companies. “It is not a complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers we have been targeting, and wasn’t going to work long-term,” said Amazon senior vice president of health Neil Lindsay at the time as reason for the shutdown.
We’ll have to wait and see if Amazon Clinic is a complete enough solution, though better accessibility to treatments for common ailments, especially on the scale that Amazon is capable of providing, could have benefits outside of those using the service. Treating common conditions at home through the use of virtual healthcare offered by Amazon and others could lessen the burden on traditional in-person healthcare services, leading to shorter waiting times to diagnose and treat other, more serious ailments.