The giant online retailer with its 1.7 trillion dollar net worth and its newly appointed CEO Andy Jassy is all set to enter the Health Care industry.
While it is not the first time that Amazon has tried to enter this industry, it is only in the year 2019 that the company announced the launch of ‘Amazon Care’ which aims to provide around-the-clock medical service to all its employees.
This article covers three key aspects which are Amazon’s unique position, Global health care and Amazon Care.
Amazon’s Unique Position
According to its official website, the company claims that one of its key principles is ‘Customer Obsession’ rather than competition however this does not discount the fact that it currently occupies a unique position in the market.
The company has already transformed lifestyles by having a number of services for customers across age groups.
With Prime Video and its 18 million subscribers and ‘Alexa’ as its virtual personal assistant, which allows for customers to connect home devices, set alarms and listen to music on Amazon music, Amazon has preexisting technologies to enter in the market space of Health Care.
Another Advantage that the company has over its other competitors is the variety of data it has accumulated about its customers.
By recording the trends in the products individuals order, their price ranges and other aspects of purchase, can also help the company estimate consumption patterns, which can further aid the process of target advertising in the Medicine industry.
According to Business Insider, an Amazon prime customer spends approximately 1300 dollars on products opposed to a traditional user who spends 700 dollars.
This points the already high consumption even of its average costumer.
Its 13 billion dollar acquisition of Whole food Supermarket in the year 2017 acts as the jewel in the company’s crown, as it can study the products consumption patterns and suggest over the counter medication, vitamins and minerals for common health problems arising with the consumption of those products.
Tapping in on the doctor appointments scheduled on its virtual assistant Alexa, can also help the company identity types of health services their customer avail.
By the study of its thorough algorithms it can also identity customers at a higher risk of a specific disease.
The site can also have health benefits and risks involved mentioned while displaying of products and have prescriptions delivered at home, without a person having to go to the doctor.
The Healthcare Industry and Amazon
According to the website of the IBEF, India’s healthcare industry will account for 372 billion dollars by the year 2022, while the US Healthcare industry stands around 3 trillion dollars.
The company can benefit from its huge brand name and trust alone, in the medical sector.
The introduction of technology in the Health Care sector has also given birth to niche markets such as cloud based services that track medical data of tests and reports, doctors on call services and E-pharmacy platforms.
Data suggests, that Amazon invested in drug store.com between 1990 and 2000 however the operations eventually failed among other factors due the web of middlemen and regulators.
The fact that Amazon is once again set to launch operations can be verified by analyzing its joint venture with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway and its acquiring of online pharmacy Pill Pack for nearly $1B.
Pill Pack will be responsible for the monitoring and dispensing of medication, and the provision of pharmacy support.
Pill Pack will also provide such services to the manufacturers and new companies in the manner of Pharmacy delivery API.
This could well integrate with Amazon’s existing distribution model.
The company also has other initiatives to expand their presence in the healthcare industry.
For example, the Halo wearable for health and wellness and the Amazon Health Lake data management product are set to do well.
According to Forbes Magazine, Sandy Carter, Vice President at AWS, announced the launch of the “Amazon Web Services (AWS) Healthcare Accelerator program,” which is “a four-week technical, business, and mentorship accelerator opportunity open to U.S.-based healthcare startups or international healthcare startups that have existing U.S. operations.”
Carter goes on to say : “The goal of the AWS Healthcare Accelerator is to cultivate and promote innovative startup solutions that achieve the Quadruple Aim of improved patient experience, improved clinician experience, better health outcomes, and lower cost of care. In seeking out compliant data-driven healthcare solutions, AWS will support public sector healthcare enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation.”
It is also interesting to note that Amazon is not the only player in the field.
Competitor Microsoft, also owns a cloud computing service Called Azure for health care management.
The Klaus 2021 decision insight report claims that “Azure offers us the safety and reliability that healthcare customers demand while maintaining the flexibility that they need to define their own path to the cloud. With Microsoft, our clients gain access to a unified programming model, identity model, security model and management model for both on-premises and cloud implementations.” (Dr. John Showalter, Javion.)
Other competitors like Google who focus on smarter AI when it comes to medicine also are serious competitors in the market.
In the year 2019, the company launched Amazon Care with the aim to provide its employees fast and top quality medical facilities.
The App has two major functions:
First is to provide ‘Virtual Care‘ where patients are connected to doctors or medical professionals through the application itself.
Second is ‘In Person Care’ where Amazon Care can dispatch a medical personnel to the residence of the patient in case of emergencies and drawing of blood etc.
It is already operational in Washington DC with the help of another company ‘Medical Care’.
The expansion of this facility to employees of other company can create a new market for Amazon.
Although Amazon has a huge risk in entering the healthcare industry, if it plays its cards right, by building the right supply chains and capturing the right consumer base, it can rise exponentially in the Health Care sector.
However, there is always fear when brands like Amazon get involved about the way data will be utilised, specifically patient data.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming years.