Amazon employees are getting healthcare through a new app — And it's a glimpse of the future of medicine.
Employees are always interested in the benefits they get by becoming a part of one organization. Health care may easily be at the top of the list of these benefits. When it comes to health care, it’s always interesting to observe big players and see what innovations they bring into the healthcare system. A few days ago, Amazon decided to take charge in this field.
Amazon launched a new health care system for its employees - Amazon Care. This service is currently available for employees based in Seattle. It was followed by the launch of the Amazon Care app on the Apple Store and Google Play. Let’s see what Amazon Care is all about and how it works.
More Convenient And Affordable Health Care
Amazon’s decision to introduce a new way of health care is driven by the efforts to make healthcare more affordable and convenient for its employees. At the center of the well-planned strategy, we have an Amazon Care app made accessible by both Android and iPhone users.
The decision to step up the healthcare system is a result of years-long strategy Amazon has been carefully developing. The new healthcare system is rooted in the new website platform - Amazon.care. The platform is now live and, together with the mobile app, it allows Amazon employees to access health care services from either their homes or offices, including:
● Health advice
● Virtual medical visits
● In-person support
Amazon is already marketing Amazon Care. Their new health services are promoted as a “healthcare built around you,” “no more waiting rooms,” and “first stop for healthcare.” The goal is to motivate employees to use the services even if they experience symptoms of minor colds, or they need help with making a healthy sexual health decision such as using contraception.
Furthermore, Amazon incentivizes employees to jump the Amazon Care train by gifting them a welcome kit that consists of a digital thermometer and mobile phone holder.
Catching Health Problems Earlier is Easier on the Budget
Primary health care has many benefits. One of them is reduced health care costs. This is why big companies such is Amazon invest in ways to introduce primary health care to employees. Emergency visits and procedures are quite costly. The primary care is there to help Amazon avoid these costs and catch health problems in their earliest stages.
On a side note, this strategy might prove excellent in attracting and retaining top talent. Telemedicine is expanding, and there is no doubt about it. But there are very few companies able and willing to brand it and accommodate it to the specific corporate needs.
Meanwhile, Amazon is not leaving anything to chance. The company has recruited clinicians, but also technical, product, and analytics staff. It appears that Amazon is planning on using the service to leverage the health data. Health data collection practices and analysis can help Amazon establish a better position in the healthcare vertical.
How Amazon Care Works
For now, Amazon Care is reserved for Amazon employees based in the Seattle area. To get started with it, employees need an Amazon corporate alias. Unfortunately, the program doesn’t include the employees working in fulfillment centers, and Amazon was not specific about when the program is going to include these employees as well.
Once employees download the Care app on their smartphones, then they can log in with the appropriate Amazon username and password. Amazon’s health and welfare plans use specific information. Before proceeding into the app, employees have to agree to allow Amazon to use protected health information.
Employees are then informed about Amazon’s contract with Oasis Medical, which is a third party medical group that Amazon works with to provide Amazon Care. The disclosure form notes clearly state the following: “Neither the plan nor Oasis will receive financial or in-kind compensation or remuneration in exchange for using or disclosing the PHI (personal health information) as described above.”
Users then have to disclose whether they are dependent-insurance-holders with an invitation code or primary insurance holders. The notice informs users that they have to have an Amazon account if they are 18 years old. The following information states that Amazon Care may be linked to other company’s services.
The app takes users through the next steps and informs them about all the ways they can use Amazon Care. At this point, users can choose their preferred way of getting a medical service. The options include a free chat with a nurse, which is enabled by a “CareChat” - messaging service. The other option is to have a video chat with a medical provider, conveniently named “VideoCare.”
Once a user selects an option, he will be able to share what causes him discomfort. In a matter of minutes, a health provider follows up with a set of questions that helps a provider assess the patient and determine whether he needs to be examined in person.
In case a user has to be examined in person, a practitioner gets sent to their location. Meanwhile, Amazon Care users can inspect the map to see the estimated arrival time. On a side note, Amazon has already published an extensive FAQ on Amazon Care and how to use it.
Amazon employees value Amazon Care with a number of positive reviews and ratings, meaning that not only the employees are happy with the service but that the service is of high quality and very convenient.
Amazon As A New Player in Highly-Competitive Telemedicine Space
Telemedicine is a very volatile and highly-competitive vertical. Established telemedicine companies worked for years to reach patients and onboard them on telemedicine platforms. If Amazon Care hits the sweet spot with Amazon employees, there is no reason for Amazon not to expand its services and offer them to millions of people already using Amazon services daily.
The recent Amazon’s investments collaborate the story of Amazon expanding Amazon Care services to consumers outside of their employees’ midsts. Amazon acquired Health Navigator - a small company specializing in patient triage.