Amazon is shutting down its telehealth service, Amazon Care, marking a major retreat by the retail behemoth in its efforts to break into the health care space.
Amazon will shutter the service after Dec. 31, Amazon Health Services lead Neil Lindsay announced Wednesday in a company email. The e-commerce giant decided to make the move after determining it wasn’t “the right long-term solution for our enterprise customers,” Lindsay wrote in the memo, which was previously reported by GeekWire.
“This decision wasn’t made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration,” Lindsay said. “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.”
Even though the service is ending, Amazon gained a deeper understanding of “what’s needed long-term to deliver meaningful health care solutions for enterprise and individual customers” through its rollout of Amazon Care, Lindsay wrote in the memo.
Amazon Care launched in 2019 as a pilot program for employees in and around the company’s Seattle headquarters. The service provides virtual urgent care visits, as well as free telehealth consults and in-home visits for a fee from nurses for testing and vaccinations.
The service was several years in the making. In 2017, Amazon held a secret meeting in Seattle to learn more about patient care that was attended by heavyweights from the health care industry, CNBC reported. It then hired a small group of doctors to start a pilot clinic for some employees.
In February, the company rolled out Amazon Care’s virtual offerings nationwide for its employees and other companies, signaling it had greater ambitions for the service.
It’s unclear how much traction Amazon Care had gained. Last June, Babak Parviz, a vice president working on Amazon Care, said Amazon had attracted multiple companies interested in using the service. Its corporate customers include Hilton, Silicon Labs, TrueBlue and Whole Foods, the company-owned upscale grocer.
Amazon is sunsetting the service even as CEO Andy Jassy has committed to make inroads in the health care industry. Last month, Amazon acquired boutique primary care provider One Medical for $3.9 billion. It also has sought to develop at-home medical diagnostics. And earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported Amazon is bidding for home health services provider Signify Health.
Here’s the entire memo to employees:
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.