Yesterday, CNBC reporter, Christina Farr, reported that Amazon has purchased digital health startup, Health Navigator. As Christina notes, this group will be joining the Amazon Care group that Amazon formed and launched last month. For today’s update, I thought it would make sense to write about this acquisition and how it relates to the broader picture starting to form around Amazon’s healthcare developments.
Initially, Amazon Care is being piloted for Amazon employees and their families in the Seattle area. According to the Amazon.care website, the service provides virtual services, such as in-app video visits with a doctor or nurse, and the ability to text a nurse on any health topic. In addition, if it’s determined that the patient needs follow-up care, a registered nurse can be scheduled to visit the patient in their own home, and offer services such as immunization or strep throat detection.
SCOOP: Amazon Care has made its first acquisition. And Amazon has made its second in health after PillPack.
It's a company called Health Navigator, which is known for symptom-checking and triage. It's a signal that Amazon Care could scale. https://t.co/a3W3lLdENt @Techmeme
— Christina Farr (@chrissyfarr) October 23, 2019
According to Health Navigator’s website, the service is described as:
“A one-of-a-kind, digital, diagnostic system, that improves the eHealth experience by providing accurate and efficient symptom checking. Health care professionals will also appreciate Health Navigator’s ability to improve workflow for telemedicine encounters and triage call centers.”
So, better symptom-detection and triaging, which could help Amazon Care to scale.
As Christina Farr reported last month, Amazon Care patients will also be able to receive their medications through Amazon Care. This is where the PillPack acquisition from June 2018 starts to factor into the equation, as Amazon is capable of owning the Rx fulfillment and delivery aspect for Amazon Care patients through PillPack. After the PillPack acquisition, Amazon CEO of Worldwide Consumer (#2 in command), Jeff Wilke, issued a statement to CNBC stating (emphasis mine):
“PillPack is meaningfully improving its customers’ lives, and we want to help them continue making it easy for people to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier. We’re excited to see what we can do together on behalf of customers over time.”
Our fleet is Electrifying! Thrilled to announce the order of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles – the largest order of electric delivery vehicles ever. Look out for the new vans starting in 2021. pic.twitter.com/y5qYpuy2WP
— Dave Clark (@davehclark) September 19, 2019
At some point down the line, we might look back at these early moves by Amazon as the formative steps toward a broad healthcare offering, which might be offered through Amazon Prime or a new tier, such as Amazon Prime+. Amazon continues to add more pieces to its healthcare puzzle, and it’s conceivable that as Amazon increasingly reduces its delivery times, you’d be able to see a physician through Amazon Care’s virtual network, be prescribed medication, and have it delivered to you that same day through Amazon’s existing fulfillment network or one of the 100,000 electric delivery vans that will be hitting the road in 2021.
Let’s take it one step further and imagine a scenario where Amazon’s upcoming hearable, Echo Buds, are eventually outfitted with PPG sensors, which are now miniature enough to embed into something as small as an earbud. Combine biometric monitoring devices and the longitudinal data that can be derived from them with Alexa and we very well may see the, “Nurse Siri,” scenario I’ve written about, actually come from Amazon with a “Nurse Alexa.”
-Thanks for Reading-
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