How Amazon's One Medical deal changed hospitals

Health system digital leaders told Becker's that Amazon's $3.9 billion deal for One Medical, which was completed one year ago this month, has already "changed the landscape" of healthcare and altered the way hospitals do business.

Amazon acquired the hybrid primary care company in February 2023, furthering its bid to disrupt healthcare by giving it more than 200 clinics and a mature virtual care platform. The tech giant has since launched One Medical for Prime — offering Amazon Prime members unlimited virtual visits for $9 a month — and integrated its new healthcare company with Amazon Pharmacy.

"From the outside, it seems to be going well," Nigam Shah, PhD, chief data scientist at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Stanford Health Care, told Becker's. "Amazon seems to be integrating the acquisitions into their overall vision, creating a unified offering across Prime, pharmacy and primary care that is a compelling partner to health systems focusing on specialty care."

One Medical, which provides subscription-based primary care, has upped its specialty referral agreements with health systems since it was bought by Amazon, to 19. Dr. Shah said "creating a complementary, unified offering is key to forming successful partnerships with health systems."

One of those partners, University of Miami Health System, experienced a boost in its local One Medical membership enrollment around the time of the acquisition, said Roy Weiss, MD, PhD, chief medical officer of ambulatory services for UHealth.

Dr. Weiss said One Medical for Prime, by elevating virtual care access, can reduce in-person wait times and enhance convenience. "This accelerated approach to healthcare not only benefits our patients and their families but also contributes to a healthier South Florida community," he said. "We're excited to witness how our affiliation with One Medical may lead to opportunities to further utilize Amazon's resources to enhance our services."

Another partner, Columbus-based Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said it's too early to tell whether the new Prime offering has increased enrollment for One Medical patients in that market. "We should probably have a better sense of the impact in a few months," said Ryan Haley, senior director of ambulatory services for OSU Wexner.

In February, Amazon cut a few hundred jobs from its healthcare businesses, including One Medical, but health system executives were split on its broader implications for the industry. One Medical's longtime CEO also departed in August and was replaced by another former hospital C-suite member.

Beyond the effects on health systems, some leaders are paying attention to the One Medical deal's broader influence on the sector as a whole. Amazon's CEO recently said it had the potential to fix the "nutty" U.S. healthcare industry.

"As Amazon continues to bundle One Medical together with Prime and other use cases, I think you will see this service continue to grow and utilization go up," said Aaron Miri, chief digital and information officer of Jacksonville, Fla.-based Baptist Health. "My hope for underserved parts of the country — particularly rural America — is that Amazon helps address this urgent access-to-care need with their care offerings."

Still, Amazon's new One Medical initiatives — think $9 a month for unlimited virtual care — have hospital leaders paying attention.

"Amazon's acquisition of One Medical has most assuredly changed the landscape of primary care," said Richard Zane, MD, chief innovation officer of Aurora, Colo.-based UCHealth. "The implications for payers and health systems are yet to be determined but potentially quite disruptive depending on if Amazon delves into the health plan business and how they handle specialty and procedural referrals from One Medical."

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