- Amazon announced Tuesday it had expanded its direct-to-consumer virtual care service Amazon Clinic to all 50 states and Washington, D.C., about nine months after its launch in November.
- The clinic is available 24/7 via Amazon’s website and its mobile app and connects consumers to third-party clinicians for care for common health conditions like urinary tract infections and pink eye.
- Message-based visits are now available in 34 states, while video calls are open nationwide, according to a company blog post.
Amazon has been steadily expanding its presence in healthcare over the past several years, though not all its ambitions have panned out.
Amazon Clinic launched only a few months after the company confirmed it would shut down Amazon Care, another virtual care business geared toward enterprise customers. The company’s joint venture with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway aimed at lowering healthcare costs shuttered in 2021 after just three years in operation.
But the tech and retail giant recently completed its $3.9 billion acquisition of primary care chain One Medical, and it’s been adding new features to its online pharmacy Amazon Pharmacy, like a generic drug subscription service and a tool that automatically adds manufacturer coupons for some drugs.
Last month, the tech giant also announced an Amazon Web Services tool called HealthScribe that allows providers to build applications that use speech recognition and generative artificial intelligence to document patient visits, bringing the company into the increasingly competitive space for AI-backed clinical notetaking tools.
Amazon pitches its latest virtual care venture as an “affordable and convenient” service for more than 30 common health conditions, including concerns like sinus infections, skin conditions, asthma and reproductive care.
Amazon Clinic contracts with telehealth companies Wheel, SteadyMD, Curai Health and Hello Alpha to power the service. Though expenses can vary depending on telehealth provider and treatment, message-based visits usually cost $35, while video consultations run $75.
“We’re excited to bring Amazon Clinic to even more customers, and we’re working hard to make even more conditions available for treatment in the coming months,” Nworah Ayogu, chief medical officer and general manager of Amazon Clinic, wrote in a blog post.
Amazon Clinic’s nationwide expansion was delayed after lawmakers raised concerns about patient privacy earlier this year, according to Politico.
Senators Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sent a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy asking the company how it collects and uses data from Amazon Clinic customers, after the Washington Post reported about an authorization form for “use and disclosure of protected health information.”
An Amazon spokesperson denied that there was any external reason behind the delay at the time.
On its blog post announcing the expansion, the company said it asks for a HIPAA authorization to “make things easier for customers” and ensure clinicians can “provide continuity of care.”