What Amazon's 200 million subscribers may see next in healthcare

Amazon is the leading retailer with the most subscribed members in the U.S., which will be a valuable resource as the company digs deeper into healthcare.

Amazon has more than 200 million Prime subscribers, according to a shareholders letter from CEO Andy Jassy, which could be parlayed into its healthcare business in the future. Amazon has its own online pharmacy and announced plans to purchase One Medical, a virtual and in-person primary care platform with direct employer contracts, earlier this year. The $3.9 billion deal could bring around 700,000 patients into the company's healthcare offerings.

The company could bundle Prime membership with One Medical enrollment, including access to virtual care. Other retailers, including Apple and Walmart, offer healthcare subscriptions along with their core products and memberships.

Amazon is also in the running to purchase Signify Health, a home health and technology platform valued at more than $5 billion. Along with the membership and care delivery expertise, Amazon gleans valuable data from each healthcare purchase. The tech giant is a master at using consumer data to curate a great experience and keep patients returning for more.

With a critical mass of healthcare lives covered, Amazon could dig deeper into the payer space as well, wrote Robert Pearl, MD, former CEO of the Permanente Group, in Forbes.

"At 5 million members, Amazon could turn One Medical from a loss leader (currently bleeding $240 million per year) into a profit center. At 10 million members, Amazon could add specialists to One Medical's current primary care only model to bolster both care coordination and operational efficiency. At 50 million members, Amazon could become the nation's No. 1 insurer and healthcare system, capable of demanding lower costs from every player, including doctors, hospitals and drugmakers," Dr. Pearl wrote.

Beyond retail, Amazon Web Services is partnering with health systems across the country to transition EHRs to the cloud and could further support healthcare operations and delivery.

Amazon also has a healthcare data lake offering companies a complete view of individual and patient population healthcare data in a HIPAA-compliant format. Users can engage SageMaker machine learning models and Quick Sight analytics for making predictions, and extract meaning from unstructured data. Health systems and life sciences companies have used the information for operations and care delivery, and Amazon could fold this information into its larger healthcare offerings in the future.

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