Amazon (AMZN) has relentlessly pursued its healthcare business over the past few years, but its efforts have been met with failures.
At least that was the case until the pandemic hit.
The Covid-19 pandemic was a new moment for the technology and e-commerce giant, which led to the more tailored healthcare operations it is currently building.
That’s according to four Amazon Health chief medical officers who met for the first time to speak exclusively to Yahoo Finance at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas this week. Here’s what they had to say:
Are you still a disruptor?
The technology and e-commerce giant now has a more tailored health management than before, but says it is still years away from becoming a major disruptor in the $4 trillion industry. CMOs said.
The story begins in 2020, when there was a sudden surge in usage and demand for telecommuting, remote patient monitoring, mail-order prescriptions, and more. Amazon’s health efforts were still new, but the company was struggling to find direction.
Dr. Vin Gupta, Amazon Pharmacy’s chief medical officer, said the company was suddenly inundated with requests.
“In 2020, we were approached by every state government, public school district, and sports team for logistics,” Gupta told Yahoo Finance.
“The questions kept coming in, and in that moment, we felt like for the first time the world was thinking of us as key stakeholders in public health…We were like, we’re going to embrace that. “It has become,” he said.
The upheaval in daily life has shown us what medical problems Amazon can solve. The success of last-mile infrastructure has allowed us to quickly and easily get medical equipment and prescription drugs to patients’ doorsteps.
And as the cloud’s presence grows, you may find a way to serve not only the needs of your physicians and health systems, but also your patients by offering virtual visits.
Among the pieces that came together is the 2018 acquisition of PillPack, which eventually became Amazon Pharmacy. What we learned from Haven, the partnerships with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway were eventually dissolved. And in 2019, Amazon Care was launched to provide healthcare services to Amazon employees, but the service was recently discontinued and replaced by Amazon Clinic.
Now, with the $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical, the company is expanding its primary care offerings with both in-person and virtual care, as well as pharmacies, which are helping to get medicines and medical devices to patients faster and faster. I’m still trying to find a way. At an affordable price.
This entry into space has raised concerns about how much disruption it could cause and what impact it would have on the broader health ecosystem.
“We recognize that we have this grand plan,” Amazon’s chief medical officer Sunita Mishra said. “We are very adamant about this vision, but we are confident that we will get there. “We’re very flexible about how we do it.” “We approach this with humility, knowing we cannot do it alone and must work together with our partners,” she said.
connect the dots
If the company succeeds in “connecting the dots” of consumers’ health needs, there could be significant benefits for the company. But what those points are is still being studied, the executives said.
It remains to be seen how much of that will come through the partnerships the company is currently actively pursuing, or through internal growth.
For example, Amazon could align other aspects of its business, such as AWS using AI scribes to serve doctors, which would launch better healthcare-generated AI capabilities for patients. It may be a stepping stone for you.
Even Amazon’s ownership of Whole Foods could have an impact, the chief medical officers said. In particular, the sale of food products that may help improve patient outcomes.
One Medical, for example, was already doing that before the acquisition, said Andrew Diamond, One Medical’s chief medical officer. We’re thinking about how that can impact members’ eating and exercise habits.
“In the primary care business, we haven’t been able to prioritize that because we have so many other priorities to prioritize,” Diamond said. “There are still a lot of basic things we need to do first, but there is only so much we can do at the same time.
He added: “It doesn’t have to be everyone right now. We couldn’t accommodate everyone right now anyway. We have to grow thoughtfully.”
And just like in retail, the company won’t disrupt health care overnight, said Nwora Ayogu, Amazon Clinic’s chief medical officer.
“We’re trying to make something that should be easy easier. We’re not reinventing the wheel. What we’re saying is, if we smooth this edge, “If you make it spin a little bit faster, or if you pave the road in front of it, that means the wheels will spin a little bit better on the road,” he said.
Anjalee Khemlani is a senior health reporter at Yahoo Finance, covering all areas of pharmaceuticals, insurance, care services, digital health, PBMs, and health policy and politics.Follow Anjali Twitter @AnjKhem.
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