After going all-in on a major healthcare initiative, Amazon has decided to completely abandon it altogether.
Amazon is known for its successful e-commerce business. But, the retailer also intended to venture out into the healthcare industry. Amazon Care, an ambitious initiative to provide telehealth services to millions of America, is prematurely closing after only three years. This comes after the retailer made considerable plans to try out telehealth functions in communities nationwide.
Amazon Care was the company’s bold step forward in providing healthcare to everyone in the US. The department was eager to give a doctor, nurse, or practitioner to people 24/7, but that promise has faded. The head of Amazon Health, Neil Lindsay, sent a memo to Amazon Care staff about the department’s closure. He stated that the business model wasn’t the correct “long-term solution” for the public or the company’s best interests.
Lindsey went on about the decision to close Amazon Care, stating that the decision to halt the department wasn’t “wasn’t made lightly.” He also talked about how customers of the service were ecstatic about the on-demand care, but there were more issues Amazon needed to tackle before providing nationwide telehealth services. Though the retailer’s stock market value has experienced a reduction in the last couple of years, many believe that Amazon Care’s failure won’t stop the company from trying to enter the public health sector.
Many predicted that Amazon’s next big move would be breaking into the healthcare industry. Recently, the mega-retailer acquired One Medical, an extensive network of healthcare providers. The deal cost Amazon $3.9 billion, one of the most significant acquisitions in US health care history. Buying One Medical was an instrumental deal for Amazon Care’s success since the new telehealth service needed healthcare providers for its on-demand care. It was sensible for the e-commerce giant to buy a company with an existing network of doctors available, but since Amazon Care is going on an indefinite hiatus, it’s unclear what the retailer will do with the acquisition.
Many believe Andy Jessy, the recently appointed CEO after Jeff Bezos, is the one encouraging Amazon’s healthcare industry merger. The retailer is currently in a bidding war for the company Signify Health, a home healthcare provider. This would be the company’s fourth healthcare business transaction in the last several years if properly acquired. It shows a significant shift in Amazon’s financial motives and highlights a more straightforward path toward providing comprehensive telehealth services.
Amazon will need regulatory approval before the deal goes through with Signify Health. Lina Kahn, a substantial critic of the e-commerce giant, is one of the chairs of the Federal Trade Commission who could significantly complicate the acquisition. Though Amazon skeptics are on the FTC board, many believe the Signify Health deal will work out in the retailer’s favor. If the FTC blocks the acquisition, the company may go to court to weaken the antitrust regulators’ opposition.
Though Amazon currently has backed off its promise to provide nationwide on-demand healthcare services, it doesn’t seem like the e-commerce giant will be backing out of the health industry. After three significant acquisitions, the company is pivoting towards healthcare business ventures to elevate its financial position and transform itself into a public health necessity.