Amazon is consistently expanding their reach, and they now have their sights set on becoming a formidable player in the health care industry. Amazon Care is currently piloting their hybrid care model, which offers subscribers an individualized blend of telemedicine services alongside home-based medical care. Thus far, this mode of care has only been piloted with Amazon employees in and around the Seattle metropolitan area. But the virtual care component became available to subscribers in all 50 states as of June 2021.
This means that employers across the nation have been taking advantage of this patient-centered program to keep their workers healthier and happier. Preliminary feedback shows that the platform and its offerings have been received well. However, the pressure is on for Amazon and their partners to bring the in-person experience to those they are already serving. As a result, they are looking to provide home-based services to an additional 16 cities by the end 2022.
While this expansion is coming on quickly, Amazon still needs to be cognizant of producing quality outcomes. Since this is yet another large telemedicine platform that came about after the COVID-19 pandemic, prospective and current patients are expecting a high level of care that cannot be found elsewhere. The rapid onslaught of digital health has opened subscribers’ eyes to the health technology that is available and how easily it can be accessed.
A major factor that Amazon must keep in mind is meeting patients where they are. People are hoping to utilize this type of care for a range of reasons: primary care, convenience, rapid COVID testing, a more fluid and personalized health care continuum, and more. So Amazon must tailor their user experience to meet those needs from the moment patients begin care with them.
Health insurers who serve members in the cities where Amazon Care is available should be prepared for potential network changes. While this may not be the case for everyone, it’s possible that subscribers will want to switch plans to ensure that services are covered or begin seeking care from another provider who is affiliated with Amazon Care. Either way, insurers should have plans in place to manage these new trends and any other changes that may result.