Amazon Clinic, the telehealth marketplace launched by Amazon late last year, could soon make deals with physical providers to provide downstream care that vendors on its own platform can’t supply, a top Amazon executive said Sunday at the HLTH conference.
“There are some aspects of care that are better done in person. You’re going to see us start to partner and figure out how we make sure that transition is clear. Because even if you come to us and we’re not able to treat you, we want to make sure you have an easy glide path to people that can,” said Nworah Ayogu, general manager and chief medical officer of Amazon Clinic, during a panel at the Las Vegas event.
Amazon Clinic started as a healthcare store allowing customers to choose from a network of telehealth providers and connect with a licensed physician for a message-based consultation. But over the past year, Amazon has taken the clinic nationwide, added video calls and expanded the conditions available for treatment.
“We think a lot about what other types of selection we can expand. It’s part of why we like the marketplace model so much, because it lends itself to being able to expand your offering based on the feedback you get from your customers,” Ayogu said.
Despite Amazon’s desire to expand the conditions that can be treated via Amazon Clinic, virtual care isn’t appropriate for everything, Ayogu said during the panel, which focused on nontraditional entrants in healthcare.
”You won’t see us in cancer care. You’re not going to see us doing hospice,” Ayogu said. “There are some areas and clinical lines you’re not going to see us playing in.”
An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the timeline for future partnerships, or what specific types of providers Amazon might be interested in directing run-off volume to. In a statement to Healthcare Dive, Ayogu said that Amazon Clinic already tells customers when virtual care might not be the right fit for them based on their clinical needs.
The spokesperson also noted Amazon believes “it’s important to work with others” to support customers through their care journey.
Ayogu’s comments on referring care to other providers could also signal that Amazon Clinic is considering referring patients to One Medical, the network of primary care physicians offices Amazon purchased for $3.9 billion last year.
Along with One Medical and Amazon Clinic, Amazon has prioritized building up Amazon Pharmacy, including adding new manufacturer coupons and discounts on generics to lower the cost of select medications. Despite its heft and consumer and technological know-how, the e-commerce giant has had some notable setbacks in its healthcare priorities.
Besides the death of Amazon Care, Amazon also shuttered a venture with other major corporations that aimed to lower healthcare costs in 2021.