With Amazon acquiring One Medical, the Tech Giants are making clear their intentions to evolve the medical UI industry.
Amazon’s first move into the medical industry began in 2019 when they began providing telehealth services for their Seattle employees as a pilot version of Amazon Care. This offered primary care in the form of telemedicine checkups, at-home or in-office doctor’s visits and prescription deliveries. All this running slickly through a single app, as can be expected from Amazon. The service was predominantly telemedical in that it prioritised online consultation through real-time texts and calls for diagnosis and only more complicated cases would be escalated towards in-person connection.
The service saw success as we tackled COVID through 2020. With growth throughout the US that saw it available in all 50 states for Amazon employees as well as employees of other businesses that paid for the subscription. With their impressive infrastructure and logistical solutions already in place, Amazon were in the perfect place to modernise the relatively tech-lacking industry. However, the venture recently met an abrupt end as their division’s closure was announced this year. By the end of September 2022, all in-person services had ceased and the rest of the service will wind up by the end of December.
Though this seemed like the end of a short lived move for Amazon, we can now see it was simply a break in a longer term plan after their acquisition of One Medical; an established, membership based medical app. They are already a big player in the industry with over a quarter of a million members, each usually paying $199 annually. Their infrastructure will add to Amazon’s already impressive array with 188 more offices. The downfall of Amazon Care seemed to be the returning demand for in-person care post-COVID and this acquisition will provide more opportunity to meet customer needs.
This is just another industry that Amazon has plunged itself into. Its economies of scale allow for penetrative pricing, rock bottom costs and a huge customer base. With its overwhelming prominence in e-commerce having physical stores tacked on to it in the form of Amazon Fresh following the acquisition of Whole Foods Market; forming an oligopolistic look in the streaming market with both Prime Video and Twitch; and other emerging markets being controlled by the likes of Amazon Robotics, Amazon Alexa and Audible to name just a few, the story of this Tech Giant is one to keep watching.
We do not know the defined plans of Amazon and One Medical in terms of dates and subscription offerings but they will become apparent soon. The end of Amazon Care seemed to be a rare failure of one of Bezos’s plans. However, as CEO of Rezilient Health Danish Nagda said, “This is not Big Tech failing – this is Big Tech evolving”.