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Amazon will expand its Amazon Care on-demand healthcare offering US-wide this summer – TechCrunch

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Amazon is pleased with how its Amazon Care pilot in Seattle has gone since it announced this morning that it would expand the offering across the U.S. this summer and open it up to companies of all sizes and its employees. The Amazon Care model combines on-demand and in-person care and is meant as a solution from the search giant to address shortfalls in current offerings for employer-sponsored healthcare.

In a blog post announcing the expansion, Amazon touted the speed of access to care made possible for its employees and their families via the remote, chat, and video-based features of Amazon Care. These are facilitated via a dedicated Amazon Care app, which provides direct, live chats via a nurse or doctor. Issues that require in-person care are handled via a house call, so a medical professional is sent to your home to take care of things like administering blood tests or doing a chest exam, and prescriptions are delivered to your door as well.

Amazon

The expansion is being handled differently across both in-person and remote variants of care; remote services will be available starting this summer to Amazon’s employees, as well as other companies that sign on as customers, starting this summer. According to the company, the in-person side will be rolling out more slowly, starting with availability in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and “other cities in the coming months”.

Today, Amazon Care is expanding to serve other companies in its home state of Washington. The idea is that others will sign on to make Amazon Care part of an overall benefits package for employees. Amazon is touting as a significant strength of the service the speed advantages of testing services, including results delivery, for things including COVID-19.

The Amazon Care model has a surprisingly Amazon twist, too. The app will provide an updated ETA for when to expect your physician or medical technician. It is eerily similar to how it’s primary app treats package delivery when using the in-person care option.

While the Amazon Care pilot in Washington only launched a year and a half ago, the company has had its collective mindset on upending the corporate healthcare industry for some time now. It announced a partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan back at the beginning of 2018 to form a joint venture specifically to address the gaps it saw in the private corporate healthcare provider market.

One of the reasons Amazon and its partners gave for unpartnering was that each had made a lot of progress in addressing the problems it had faced anyway. While Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan’s work might be less obvious, Amazon referred to Amazon Care. That deep-pocketed all-star team officially disbanded at the outset of this year after doing a lot of not very much in the three years in between.

It’s not unusual for large tech companies with lots of cash on the balance sheet and a need to attract and retain top-flight talent to spin up their healthcare benefits for their workforces. For instance, Apple and Google have their on-campus wellness centers staffed by medical professionals. But Amazon’s ambitions have exceeded those of its peers, and it looks intent on making a business line out of its work to improve its employee care services. This strategy isn’t too dissimilar from what happened with AWS, by the way.

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