Amazon in the US has launched Amazon Care, its virtual health clinic for employees (including their dependents) working at the corporate headquarters in Seattle. The app provides virtual consultations, the scheduling of follow-up appointments, as well as deliveries of prescription drugs.
As an aging population and pressures on the middle class create demand for affordable healthcare in the US, the move must be seen as part of a wider healthcare push from Amazon, with potential to disrupt the business models of retailers and suppliers in the healthcare space. In 2018, Amazon acquired US-based online pharmacy Pillpack, followed by its acquisition of telemedicine startup Health Navigator in October 2019, as well as pushes into the private label space.
Healthcare brands must watch Amazon’s initiative, as a successful pilot of Amazon Care could result in a wider roll-out of an affordable service to further corporate clients or end consumers. As the retailer’s co-operation program with British health service NHS demonstrates, brands should also prepare for a future where smart speakers will develop into a major customer touchpoint in healthcare, with data-driven recommendations – including private generic drug lines – influencing purchase decisions.
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