Amazon plans to purchase the first care group One Medical in an almost $4 billion deal, including to the rising checklist of the tech big’s acquisitions and makes an attempt to develop its attain within the well being care trade.
“We predict well being care is excessive on the checklist of experiences that want reinvention,” Neil Lindsay, senior vice chairman of Amazon Well being Companies, mentioned in a press release final week.
One Medical is a membership-based major care observe with practically 200 places throughout the nation that additionally gives digital providers. The corporate had roughly 767,000 member sufferers as of Could.
“There may be an immense alternative to make the well being care expertise extra accessible, inexpensive, and even satisfying for sufferers, suppliers, and payers,” Amir Dan Rubin, One Medical’s CEO, mentioned in a press release.
The deal, which regulators and One Medical’s shareholders nonetheless have to approve, marks Amazon’s largest well being care acquisition but. However Amazon’s ambitions in well being care return a number of years.
Amazon already has a foothold in well being care. One Medical provides it a better bodily presence
Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical has some similarities to its buy of Entire Meals in 2017.
“Over the previous few years, Amazon has been equally making an attempt to get into well being care largely with digital interactions,” Dr. Aaron Neinstein, a digital well being skilled who leads digital well being information implementation on the College of California, San Francisco, informed NPR.
“I believe this means their related want as Entire Meals to have a bodily place the place they’ll have a well being care interplay with their sufferers or clients that is obtainable in most main American cities,” Neinstein mentioned.
That is solely the newest of the corporate’s well being care ventures.
Amazon acquired the web pharmacy firm PillPack for $753 million in 2018 and launched Amazon Pharmacy in 2020 as a prescription and supply service.
The corporate partnered with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to type Haven — a nonprofit well being care group designed to decrease prices for the businesses’ workers and enhance the first care expertise. However Haven dissolved in 2021 after working for under three years.
The corporate is not new to telehealth both. Amazon Care, a 24-7 texting and video service app for folks to attach with clinicians, started in 2019 with Amazon workers. It shaped right into a nationwide program earlier this yr.
The corporate additionally owns Amazon Internet Companies, a large cloud storage service that shops well being information for a lot of hospitals and well being programs. The service has its personal pure language processing system that is been pre-trained “to grasp and extract well being information from medical textual content, comparable to prescriptions, procedures, or diagnoses,” in line with its web site. (Amazon Internet Companies is amongst NPR’s funders.)
Add health trackers, Alexa voice assistants and a plethora of well being and wellness merchandise obtainable for buy and supply — Amazon has already taken a deep dive into this world.
The following step may very well be integration of the varied ventures
Justin Sullivan/Getty Pictures
Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical, along with its different ventures in well being care, raises questions on whether or not the tech big might finally provide a streamline of those providers all on one platform.
“The query is, as you form of put all of those items collectively, might they create a way more handy, holistic well being care expertise for folks?” Neinstein mentioned. “What Amazon has turn out to be identified for is that they actually perceive as a client what you need and tips on how to get it to you actually simply.”
Dr. Matthew Sakumoto, a clinician and digital well being skilled primarily based in San Francisco, mentioned there’s potential, however it is going to be tough to combine throughout Amazon’s vast swath of well being care providers.
“I believe it’ll be robust. I believe even at the moment these items exist in silos sort of inside Amazon’s ecosystem, but when they’ll pull it collectively, I believe it might probably provide a really holistic expertise that we have actually been lacking in U.S. well being care,” he mentioned.
Privateness advocates have additionally raised considerations about how Amazon’s latest acquisition can go away one’s retail purchases, groceries and streaming content material underneath the identical umbrella as their well being care, although some digital well being trade specialists suppose the deal will not change a lot, for now.
“I believe it opens numerous attention-grabbing questions as to sort of the place are the ethics and the authorized items of that shifting ahead. However up to now, the well being privateness legal guidelines, I believe, will present a reasonably good firewall for now,” Sakumoto mentioned.