Yes, Virginia, there is an Amazon Clinic, after all; stripped down, non-face-to-face consults for common conditions

On the move while Care is shutting down and OneMedical is not yet onboard as awaiting Federal approvals, Amazon Clinic’s premature leak generated press for the service’s formal debut on Tuesday. The leak was remarkably accurate [TTA 11 Nov] in describing it for the New York Minute it was up. According to their introductory blog, Amazon Clinic will operate in 32 US states (not specified, but a quick check indicates it’s not available in Alaska and New Hampshire). It provides message-based virtual care for more than 20 common health conditions, such as allergies, acne, eczema, UTIs, and hair loss. (The website lists conditions covered and prescription renewals for previously diagnosed conditions such as asthma, hypothyroidism, high cholesterol, and migraine.)

What it is: a stripped-down, questionnaire-driven provider referral platform, enabling a non-face-to-face telehealth consult or prescription renewal. It’s not clear from available information whether the messaging is synchronous, asynchronous (delayed), or a combination of both. This certainly sounds less ambitious than the home-based delivery/enterprise membership model of Amazon Care. How Clinic works:

  • Select your condition
  • Pick your preferred provider from a list of licensed and qualified telehealth providers. Costs and if available in your state are disclosed in the selection process.
  • Complete intake questionnaire
  • Connect with clinician through a secure message-based portal
  • After the message-based consultation, the clinician sends a personalized treatment plan via the portal, including any necessary prescriptions to the customer’s preferred pharmacy including Amazon Pharmacy. Here, costs may be covered by insurance.

As Care was, payment is upfront as Amazon doesn’t accept insurance. The cost of consultations will vary by provider and condition but tend to be in the $40 – 50 range. This includes ongoing follow-up messages with the clinician for up to two weeks after the initial consultation. Some conditions, such as rosacea, require a prior diagnosis.

In addition, the services provided are available only to those aged 18-64, which strikes this Editor as discriminatory for those 65 and over who can well pay cash and might prefer a ‘visit lite’.

No mention of whether those laid off at Amazon Care or through the rest of Amazon (10,000 announced) can apply for jobs with this new service; it sounds largely referral, highly automated, manageable, and not requiring heavy oversight. The last can be a problem all its own. TechCrunch, Mobihealthnews, CNBC

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