- Amazon has bought tech startup Health Navigator in its first major health-related acquisition since the Seattle-based retailer purchased PillPack last year, the company confirmed to Healthcare Dive.
- Health Navigator, which provides online symptom checking, clinical documentation support and triage tools to route patients to the correct site of care, will be folded into Amazon's virtual medical clinic Amazon Care.
- Amazon will report third quarter earnings after market Thursday. Its stock was up slightly premarket following the news, first reported by CNBC late Wednesday.
The buy is the e-commerce giant's second major acquisition in the healthcare industry as it looks to further solidify its presence in the market. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Amazon is already a hefty player in health IT through its cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services, which peddles seven HIPAA-eligible artificial intelligence and machine learning services. The tech-savvy company leaned into providing telehealth benefits just last month, launching a virtual care pilot for its Seattle-area employees in September.
That trial, called Amazon Care, includes telemedicine visits with a clinician, symptom checking, in-person followup visits if necessary and prescription drug delivery. The online retailer contracted with a Washington state clinic to provide medical services within the pilot, though the fold-in of Health Navigator implies Amazon wants internal control over Amazon Care's platform.
Five-year-old Health Navigator, which in the past worked primarily with telemedicine and health IT companies, was founded by David Thompson, its CEO. Thompson is also a faculty member at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University and president of a digital health consultancy, per his LinkedIn.
Though it has partnered with high-profile names like Microsoft on its health bot tech, the U.K.-based startup with 12 current employees is small fish compared to PillPack, the prescription drug delivery company snapped up by Amazon last year for $753 million.
Established players like CVS Health have not been pleased with the Amazon-PillPack combo, with the skirmish over market share boiling up in personnel acquisitions and subsidiary data agreements alike. Despite the bad blood, Amazon is investing heavily in PillPack, seeking to hire 50 more people into the unit.
The Health Navigator acquisition is likely to add fuel to speculation that telemedicine is the next healthcare sector Amazon could disrupt, though a potential commercial launch of Amazon Care to the general public is likely a ways away as the retailer wants to see how its corporate and fulfillment center employees respond to the trial before potentially scaling it out.
Wall Street expects the company to report revenue of almost $70 billion in the third quarter.