amazon launches telehealth service called clinic

Amazon just launched a new service called Clinic that is formally introducing the e-commerce giant into the up-and-coming telehealth space only a few months after the company announced the acquisition of One Medical.

The service will be available in 32 states within the US initially and will work as a marketplace in which users will be able to select among providers to enjoy a virtual consultation for conditions including allergies, acne, hair loss, and another 17 common affections.

This new offering comes to join other initiatives that Amazon (AMZN) is pursuing to establish a footprint in this market including the One Medical deal and the launch of Amazon Pharmacy – a platform through which consumers can conveniently buy drugs and get them delivered to their doorstep in just two days if they are Prime members.

Back in July when the company announced the acquisition of One Medical, Neil Lindsay from Amazon Health Services commented: “We think health care is high on the list of experiences that need reinvention. Booking an appointment, waiting weeks or even months to be seen, taking time off work, driving to a clinic… we see lots of opportunity to both improve the quality of the experience and give people back valuable time in their days”.

More Details About Amazon Clinic

The price for each consultation will vary from one provider to the other and Amazon will foster competition in the same way they do within their legacy e-commerce platform – they will display the price of each provider and let supply and demand self-regulate the market.

Customers will be able to browse through a list of available physicians and healthcare establishments by selecting the condition they would like to get a consultation. They will fill out a questionnaire about the illness and will then be connected by the platform with a health professional. The consultation will be messaged-based. Amazon’s service does not appear to support or offer video consultation.

The initial cost of the consultation will cover both the initial exchange and follow-ups for up to two weeks. Patients will have the opportunity to get the drugs prescribed by the physician via Amazon Pharmacy.

Even though Amazon will not support the use of insurance to pay for the consultations at the moment, it will allow holders of flexible spending and health savings accounts – also known as FSAs and HSAs – to use those facilities to make the payment.

The Amazon Clinic is being launched roughly three months after the company founded by Jeff Bezos officially shut down an internal telehealth service called Amazon Care. The service was only available to employees of the company and was considered a pilot test for a nationwide rollout.

Amazon Launches Clinic While Trimming its Headcount at Other Units

The launch of Clinic also comes at a pivotal moment for the firm as the e-commerce and cloud computing giant is reportedly laying off approximately 10,000 employees, sources told Reuters.

The number represents roughly 3% of the company’s workforce and will be concentrated in the staff that works on the company’s Alexa AI-powered voice assistants as well as in some corporate departments such as human resources.

Other companies in the tech space have already taken similar measures amid an expected slowdown in the global economy due to changes in the macroeconomic backdrop. One prominent example of this is the recently-acquired Twitter as more than half of its staff was laid off by Elon Musk shortly after he took over the reins.

In addition, Meta Platforms (META), the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, also announced last week that it will be letting go 11,000 workers – around 13% of its workforce – as the company expects a reduction in ad income.

Meta’s ambitious metaverse pivot has been responsible for a drop in the company’s profitability lately and may have also forced its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, to take action in the midst of a challenging environment.

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