PC: TechCrunch

The retail giant is making a significant retreat in its attempts to enter the health care industry by shuttering its telemedicine programme, Amazon Care.

Amazon’s head for Amazon Health Services, Neil Lindsay, said in a corporate email on Wednesday that the programme would be discontinued after December 31. After deciding it wasn’t “the ideal long-term solution for our enterprise customers,” Lindsay wrote in the message, which was originally published by GeekWire, the e-commerce behemoth made the decision to make the change.

Lindsay stated that the choice had been carefully thought out for some months before it was decided. Although many features of Amazon Care have been well received by our enrolled members, it is not a comprehensive enough solution for the large enterprise clients we have been aiming for and wasn’t going to last in the long run.

Despite the service’s termination, Lindsay stated in the note that with the introduction of Amazon Care, the company was able to better learn “what’s needed long-term to create significant health care solutions for enterprise and individual customers.”

As a test programme for staff members in and around the company’s Seattle headquarters, Amazon Care was introduced in 2019. The service offers virtual urgent care visits, free telemedicine consultations, and in-home nurse visits for testing and immunizations for a cost.

The service took several years to develop. Experts from the healthcare sector attended a private conference that Amazon hosted in Seattle in 2017 to learn more about patient care, according to CNBC. To launch a pilot clinic for a select set of employees, it next engaged a limited group of physicians.

Amazon Care’s virtual offerings were made available to its employees and other businesses nationally in February, a move that suggested the corporation had bigger plans for the programme.

How much traction Amazon Care had was unknown. A vice president working on Amazon Care, Babak Parviz, claimed in June of last year that the company had received interest from numerous businesses. Hilton, Silicon Labs, TrueBlue, and the upmarket grocery store operated by the corporation, Whole Foods, are some of its corporate clients.

Even though CEO Andy Jassy has promised to enter the healthcare sector, Amazon is ending the service. For $3.9 billion, Amazon purchased upscale primary care company One Medical last month. Additionally, at-home medical tests have been developed. Additionally, The Wall Street Journal earlier this week claimed that Amazon is making a bid for the supplier of home health services, Signify Health.

Here is the complete employee memo:

Health Services team,
We are working on an important, missionary opportunity. Our vision is to make it easier for people to access the health care products and services they need to get and stay healthy. We know accomplishing this won’t be easy or fast, but we believe it matters.
One of the ways we’ve worked towards this vision for the past several years has been with our urgent and primary care service offering, Amazon Care. During that time, we’ve gathered and listened to extensive feedback from our enterprise customers and their employees, and evolved the service to continuously improve the experience for customers. However, despite these efforts, we’ve determined that Amazon Care isn’t the right long-term solution for our enterprise customers, and have decided that we will no longer offer Amazon Care after December 31, 2022. 
This decision wasn’t made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration. Although our enrolled members have loved many aspects of Amazon Care, it is not a complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers we have been targeting, and wasn’t going to work long-term. 
Our work building Amazon Care has deepened our understanding of what’s needed long-term to deliver meaningful health care solutions for enterprise and individual customers. You’ve heard me say it before, but I believe the health care space is ripe for reinvention, and our efforts to help improve the health care experience can have an immensely positive impact on our quality of life and health outcomes. However, none of these reasons make this decision any easier for the teams that have helped to build Amazon Care, or for the customers our Care team serves.
Our priority right now is to support you, regardless of the path you take. Many Care employees will have an opportunity to join other parts of the Health Services organization or other teams at Amazon — which we’ll be discussing with many of you shortly — and we’ll also support employees looking for roles outside of the company.
To the Amazon Care and Care Medical teams, thank you for all of your hard work over these last several years. You should be very proud of what this team has been able to accomplish in a short period of time. I am also thankful to our members and business customers for entrusting us with their care; this is not a responsibility we take lightly. As we take our learnings from Amazon Care, we will continue to invent, learn from our customers and industry partners, and hold ourselves to the highest standards as we further help reimagine the future of health care.