Why Amwell doesn't consider Amazon a competitor in virtual care

Despite Amazon's increasing presence in telemedicine and healthcare, Amwell is welcoming the retail giant into the space rather than seeing them as competition, according to Amwell Chairman and Co-CEO Ido Schoenberg, MD. 

During a March 25 interview with Yahoo Finance, Dr. Schoenberg shared his thoughts on Amazon's virtual care initiatives and where he sees room for collaboration.

Five quotes from Dr. Schoenberg:

1. On competition with Amazon: "We don't see Amazon as a competitor. In fact, we welcome them coming in because essentially our view is that you need a connective platform. But then you have modular components where every entity is bringing what they do best to create a total experience that is better."

2. On Amazon's exceptional consumerism experience: "When you want to have a very quick access to an acute care visit to take care of your sore throat or ask for a nurse to come to your home, I think that Amazon's ability to build a very reliable, dependable system is actually very good. And in fact, we would love to have those services use our platform to increase the reach and get to many more users."

3. On needing telemedicine beyond quick acute care visits. "However, if someone is not that fortunate and they have a heart condition, they would really go to Cleveland Clinic and not to anyone else. Or if there is an endocrinologist in Boston that they need to look, I'll go to Mass General. My child is sick, I'll go to Boston [Children's Hospital] and on and on."

4. On Amwell's "plumber" approach. "The whole approach that we have is we are plumbers. We are solving for one problem, which is connectivity in healthcare, that has become incredibly important post-COVID. Everybody is up and understanding that they need to work with everybody else. It's about the coalition."

5. On distinguishing services from Amazon. "Amazon and others should not be seen as necessarily competing unless you're trying to do exactly what they do. And there are some companies, including some telehealth companies, that that's what they do. They focus on services. They try to sell you a very affordable visit with a short wait time and a good experience. They should be incredibly concerned when someone so sophisticated as Amazon is trying to compete in that turf."


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