Amazon's growing presence in healthcare

Amazon is increasing its presence in the healthcare industry as it accelerates its pursuit of healthcare acquisitions, partnerships and investments.

Here is a look at Amazon's healthcare ventures. 

Amazon Web Services  

Amazon Web Services, the company's cloud storage service that stores health data for many hospitals and health systems, has its own natural language processing system that's been pre-trained "to understand and extract health data from medical text, such as prescriptions, procedures, or diagnoses," according to Amazon

The cloud arm also has inked partnerships with some of the largest health systems and EHR vendors including Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger; Sacramento, Calif.-based UC Davis Health; Boston-based Tufts Medicine and EHR giant Oracle Cerner

Pharmacy and care delivery initiatives 

Amazon has also set up initiatives to transform pharmacy, the medical supply chain, health insurance and care delivery. 

In 2018, Amazon acquired the online pharmacy company PillPack for about $1 billion. 

​​In 2019, the company launched Amazon Care, a 24-7 texting and video service app that allows people to connect with clinicians. 

The company also partnered with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to form Haven — a nonprofit health care organization designed to lower costs for the companies' employees and improve the primary care experience. 

But, Haven disbanded in 2021 after operating for three years. People close to the matter said the three founding companies executed their own projects separately with their own employees. 

Pending acquisitions 

Amazon's reach into healthcare continues as the retail giant announced plans to acquire One Medical. 

On July 21, Amazon said it would acquire virtual and in-person primary care company One Medical in a cash deal valued at $3.9 billion. 

The plan is to combine One Medical's technology and team with Amazon to offer more convenient and affordable healthcare in-person and virtually.

Shortly after its One Medical announcement, the company made headlines for allegely placing a bid for home health and technology company Signify Health. 

The news about Amazon being the second highest bidder, against UnitedHealth, who has bid more than $30 a share, is speculation, an Amazon's spokesperson told Becker's

Signify Health is currently valued at $5 billion.  

Criticisms against Amazon in healthcare

Amazon's endeavors have also faced some criticism. 

On Aug. 19, six former employees and managers of the company said Amazon's efforts to rapidly build Amazon Care caused conflicts with some medical professionals who felt the company occasionally ignored their concerns about its approach to healthcare delivery. 

A former telehealth nurse said Amazon Care asked Seattle-based clinical staff to get licensed in multiple states, resulting in clinicians practicing in so many places that they had difficulty keeping track of various state regulations.

Former staff also said Amazon decided not to wait for a "widely used medical software company" to create a custom EHR and chose to go with what one called a "bargain basement program" that complicated care delivery. 

Amazon spokesperson Christina Smith said Amazon Care has a "care coordination team and dedicated licensing team that keeps track of local regulations and supports clinicians providing care across states" in line with "common practice for providers who work in telehealth settings." 

Ms. Smith also said Amazon "uses a leading national vendor" and "follows all applicable requirements" for patients' medical records.

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars