Amazon, Best Buy & more: 5 tech, retail giants' latest virtual care initiatives 

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From making telemedicine more consumer friendly to increasing access to care during the pandemic, retail and tech giants including Amazon, Google and Best Buy are ramping up their virtual care initiatives and innovating the healthcare delivery system. 

Here are six things to know about the retail and tech giant's telehealth expansions over the past month.

1. Amazon's virtual medical service Amazon Care teamed up with Intermountain Healthcare and Ascension to form a new home-based clinical care alliance named Moving Health Home. The group aims to support and update healthcare policy changes to designate the home as a site of clinical service, according to a March 3 news release.

2. Amazon on March 17 announced it will roll out Amazon Care for its employees in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., this summer, with plans to expand the offering to other employers later this year.

3. Highmark Health, the parent company of Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network, began building upon its tech partnership with Google Cloud through a new six-year collaboration with the tech giant's sister company Verily. Under the partnership, Highmark is adding Verily's digital care tools for managing chronic conditions, including congestive heart failure, to its tech-driven healthcare model Living Health.

4. Microsoft will release its first update in April for its Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, which will include new features for remote patient-monitoring and the Microsoft Teams and Epic EHR integration.

5. Humana tapped Microsoft Azure and Salesforce Health Cloud to support the pilot of its new care management program that focuses on coordinating care and providing in-home services for some Medicare Advantage members who have chronic conditions.

6. Best Buy Health teamed up with Apple to launch health and safety remote monitoring features on the Apple Watch. In a March 3 news release, Best Buy said Apple Watch users can now use the Lively app to contact and get assistance from medical emergency services.

 

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