Amazon’s Healthcare Services Implications
It seems as if there is a service out there Amazon is determined to offer. One field you would think that the online retail giant wouldn’t touch would be healthcare. But even that is getting the Amazon treatment. The company that has been offering health services to its employees is planning to expand this sector of the business to other companies. A radio show recently caught up with Luis Alvarez, the CEO of Alvarez Technology Group. Here, he talks about Amazon’s expanding healthcare services and their implications on the market.
Costs to Profits
The first item of note that Mr. Alvarez covers is Amazon’s history of turning a cost center into a profit center. Next to web hosting services — something that was a cost that they needed and managed to turn into a moneymaker with cloud hosting services — Amazon’s biggest expense as a company is healthcare. To cut those costs, Amazon started developing its own in-house healthcare technology. And now they are ready to start contracting with other companies to make that technology available. The pilot started in Washington state but they plan to expand their health services across the country this year.
Why Insurance Companies Should be Worried
With the rise of the COVID 19 pandemic, people have changed their habits. And one that seems here to stay is taking advantage of telemedicine. People don’t want to go to a building where many sick people congregate if they don’t have to. And it saves you time having to drive to the doctor and wait around the waiting room.
As they mention in the interview, these visits don’t cost any less than a traditional doctor’s visit. But what traditional insurance companies need to worry about is the closed-loop of the Amazon telemedicine app. Using Amazon services, you will see a doctor over their app and get prescriptions prescribed to you and delivered by Amazon the next day through Amazon’s pharmacy. A level of convenience and condensed service that cuts costs in the healthcare chain.
Saving time and money are huge benefits for the Amazon health services telemedicine model. But there are a few more benefits that are sure to make this popular with other companies. It expands access to healthcare for people who would otherwise not be able to make it to the doctor because of transportation or childcare struggles, or mental health struggles that prevent them from leaving the house. Mr. Alvarez makes a point that these services also hook you up with a healthcare professional within minutes. So there are not days or weeks of waiting for an appointment. A benefit that is especially important for those seeking mental health treatment.
Amazon has been running this pilot program in Washington for two years. But they plan to expand it nationwide to their employees and other companies this summer. The focus is now on telemedicine, but the company has occasionally sent doctors to do house calls when necessary. They also have a few in-house clinics run by another company at sites in five states. So it wouldn’t be surprising if they took over and expanded that portion of their health services in the future as well.
The Future is Now
Technology continues to be a driving factor in the betterment of human beings. And Amazon continues to be a leader in innovative ways to use technology. There is no reason to believe that this won’t be another home run in a string of wins for Amazon. Luis Alvarez certainly believes that it will be beneficial to both Amazon and the end-user. It will be interesting to see which companies jump on board with Amazon when they first roll the program out nationwide. Read more stories like this and learn about the benefits of technology by contacting us today.