- Amazon is in talks with digital prescription platform Xealth and at least two hospital systems to launch a pilot that would have doctors prescribe products to patients before they're discharged, with the retail giant or other ecommerce companies handling fulfillment, according to a report from CNBC. Prime members would be eligible for discounts.
- The pilot could launch in as soon as a few months. According to CNBC, Xealth is managing the project. Neither Amazon nor Xealth would comment when reached by Healthcare Dive.
- Amazon has been preparing for its foray into the healthcare industry through its employee health cost endeavor with Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan as well as the Amazon Business entrance into the medical supply chain sector.
Earlier this year, Amazon’s rumored plan to distribute pharmaceuticals to hospitals through its business platform was said to have been stalled. This potential pilot and the company's recent acquisition of online pharmacy PillPack, a company that focuses on delivering pre-sorted medicines to people who manage multiple daily medications, suggest the company has found a few new angles into the healthcare delivery market.
Amazon's multi-pronged rush into the sector has industry players sweating and making their own moves. Last month, CVS announced a new delivery initiative that it says will establish it as the first national drugstore chain to offer pharmacy and front store delivery from 9,800 locations across the nation, with deliveries arriving as quickly as the following day.
While most attention on Amazon's healthcare activity has been focused on its project with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway, the Atul Gawande-led business that will aim to tackle rising costs of care, the company's foray into the medical supply chain sector by way of its B2B purchasing venture Amazon Business should not be overlooked. Healthcare is one of three verticals the purchasing arm has ramped up in the last year, and the venture has already made hundreds of thousands of medical products available.
Chris Holt, global healthcare leader at Amazon, told Healthcare Dive in a recent interview that getting physicians to use its platform to buy the medical products they use every day is "a big part of what we're trying to do."
According to the company, healthcare customers using Amazon Business are already seeing big savings on labor costs by way of its licensing platform, which greenlights purchases of restricted and regulated medical devices once physicians go through a single credential verification process.