Amazon is getting its first steps in providing healthcare services, and announced on Wednesday that it will provide its Amazon Care telemedicine program to employers across the country.

Currently, the company’s employees in Washington state can use Amazon Care, the app can actually connect users with doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses, who can provide services and treatment over the phone 24 hours a day. In the Seattle area, it also provides on-site services, such as pharmacy delivery and nurses, who can perform blood tests and provide similar services.

On Wednesday, the technology giant announced that it would immediately expand the service to employers in Washington who are interested in purchasing the service for their employees. By summer, Amazon Care will expand nationwide to all Amazon employees and private employers across the country who want to join.

In Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia markets, Amazon is building a second headquarters that will house more than 25,000 workers. Amazon services will include face-to-face services currently limited to Seattle.

“Providing it to other employers is a big step,” Amazon Service Director Kristen Helton said in a telephone interview. “This is a service that other visionary employers provide opportunities to help bring high-quality care, convenience and peace of mind.”

Amazon launched this service for its employees in Washington State 18 months ago. Hamilton said that users give high ratings, and business customers are asking if they can purchase the service for their own employees.

Hamilton said the product is intended as a supplement or additional benefit to existing insurance provided by employers.

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During the pandemic, consumer demand for telemedicine and virtual medicine has surged. Stephen Morgan, a professor of medicine at Virginia Tech and chief medical information officer at the Carilion Clinic in southwestern Virginia, said that virtual visits have increased from approximately 100 per month before the pandemic to approximately every day in a two-week period. 800 times.

He said that research shows that telemedicine can provide quality comparable to traditional in-person consultations, while also providing services to people who may not be able to access these services or need to travel long distances.

But he said that it is vital that providers establish checks and balances to ensure that quality is not affected.

He said: “The worry is that anyone who wants to conduct telemedicine (including Amazon) puts these checks and balances in place.”

Helton said that when users log in to the Amazon Care app, the system will ask them several questions that can be used to classify calls and route them to nurses, nurse practitioners or doctors as needed. She said it usually takes 60 seconds or less to connect to a health professional.

Medical staff are provided by Care Medical, which is the exclusive contractor in cooperation with Amazon.

Hamilton said that although Amazon has launched programs in health areas such as pharmacies and Amazon wristbands that can measure vital statistics, Amazon Care will be the first time the tech giant has tried to provide health care beyond its workforce. service.

Many employers and insurance companies have begun to play a more direct role in providing care directly to the people they cover, rather than waiting for payment when they come in. They expanded the use of telemedicine before the pandemic, and large employers are increasing or expanding the number of clinics. Or a nearby work location.

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Ensuring quick access to care can help patients stay healthy and work properly. It can also prevent the disease from getting worse and make its treatment more expensive. Over the years, employers have been trying to gain more control over the cost of health care, and health care costs have always grown faster than wages and inflation.


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