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Amazon's Clinic's launch and misstep. However, we should look to see how they handle the consumer experience and be ready for a larger play in the future.

Transcript

Today in health, it Amazon clinics mistake and why it matters. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week health instead of channels, dedicated to keeping health it staff current and engaged. We want to thank our show sponsors who are investing in developing the next generation of health leaders.

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All right. So here's the announcement.

Amazon clinic now offers video doctor visits in all 50 states. Amazon has expanded its virtual care service for basic doctor visits nationwide. Though its messaging care service remains limited to 34 states for regulatory reasons. You can now start an Amazon clinic video doctor visit in all 50 states. Amazon expands its virtual care service, which lets patients connect with multiple tele-health provider groups.

Who each set their own rates for service? Interesting. The company says those visits will cost an average of $75. Amazon will not accept insurance for the visits, however, and there in lies. The challenge and we'll come back to that. Previously, Amazon only offered a message based version of this in 32 states that would allow you to get in touch with clinicians on its platform, using a secure portal for chatting with them about your medical issues and work out a treatment plan.

Message-based care is lowering costs, averaging $35 a session, according to Amazon. But it's only been able to add messaging in another two states. The Amazon clinic fact page says, let's go down a little bit. Amazon clinic. Can be accessed in the Amazon prime mobile app via the company's website. Patients can choose.

What they'd like to get care for pick the tele-health provider based on the price and wait time estimates. That's pretty slick. And then fill out an intake form, which includes HIPAA. Agreement to get started. Amazon, doesn't say you need Amazon prime to access any aspect of the Amazon clinic that said a membership does come with benefits, like access to the company's.

RX pass subscription. The company says it can be used for diagnosis of common conditions like cold sores, hair loss. And since the original service launched, it has added. Access to anti-aging skin care, as well as the ability to diagnose bacterial vaginosis, renew, epi pen, prescriptions, and more Teladoc, a popular tele-health service goes further with access to mental health practitioners and other specialists.

When I checked there tended to be one or two third-party telehealth providers in most states with wait times of an hour or less in most cases. , and it goes on talks a little bit. Amazon as patients using the service, assign an optional HIPAA authorization, but says, if you choose not to do so, you can still seek care through Amazon clinic. The company says it asks for permission to store personal health data. So customers won't have to fill out the same forms over and over again, even if their healthcare provider.

Where to leave Amazon clinic and that it will not sell customer health data. Well, that's, that's promising the question is whether they will use it. Themselves. Anyway, that's the announcement. Let me give you my, so what on this. That's pretty interesting. I go back to, they're not going to accept insurance.

What's the business model here. And. Quite frankly. If you have insurance, you're going to utilize your insurance because you're already paying for it. It's coming out of your paycheck. That model is known to us. We understand it. The most people when you're going to direct consumers will not pay for the services.

Most. And that is just categorically. True. , They're the business model attached to this doesn't make any sense. Yet. Now there could be things working in the background. There could be agreements with say, , you know, , employers. Where they're going to start offering this directly to employers. There could be agreements with, , I'm not sure what other agreements make sense.

I've often contended that I believe Amazon will offer an insurance product either through partnership or some other aspects. , within the next. Three years. And I think they're going to go in the pair route, not the provider route. And this is another, , piece of the scaffolding, another piece of what they need to put together in order to bring this larger vision together. I'm not sure if they have that larger vision. There's no inclination that they have that vision and this just might be another misstep. , I don't think there's going to be a significant amount of uptake on this.

I think the cost of $75. , does it make sense for instance, on my a United healthcare plan? I have. Me and all of my employees. The staff have access to telehealth visits included. And our insurance plan and all they have to do is go out onto the website. They hit that and they could see a doctor. The last time I did it.

It was I think, 10 minutes. And I was talking to a doctor that was associated with United healthcare. And given that United healthcare is the largest employer of doctors in the country. It, , you know, I I'm, I'm not too worried about that service. So I am, even though I am a. The significant user of Amazon services.

I will not be utilizing this. And I would imagine a lot of other people will not be utilizing this cause it just doesn't really make sense. And there are, , less costly options out there. I'm not sure there's been a great pickup for Teladoc. Going directly. , with this kind of service either. So why should providers care? Why am I even covering this story? Healthcare providers should care because there are some aspects of this in terms of the patient experience.

That we should be looking at. This is the one area where Amazon is, , really excelling over the healthcare providers. They've, , Let me give you an example. If you have a consumer that is not a patient yet, and they come to your site and they want to do a telehealth visit, can they do that? And the answer for 98% of all healthcare companies that I talked to is no, they can't do that. They have to become a patient first before they can do a telehealth visit.

And, and it's because of the logistics of getting them set up in the system and, , processing that through the entire system. Now, some health systems have gotten through that and you may want to look into that. If that's something you were trying to do, , create that patient experience. I think the other thing is they're going to meld information together and get a, a broader picture of the consumer. And that's something I have been talking about on the show for a while. We need a broader picture of the consumer who's coming to us and the patients we have that are coming to us, it cannot just be the clinical data that we have.

We need a broader picture of that person in order to supply health. And not just healthcare.

So even though I think this is a misstep for the Amazon clinic. Or the start of a larger vision or strategy that they're putting together. , I think there's a lot of things that providers should look at and learn from, in terms of really thinking through the consumer experience and mapping out that consumer experience and making an intentional consumer experience that has less friction and is more.

Amenable to the way we live as consumers.

Keep an eye on this one. I believe it will evolve. I believe that this will be seen as a misstep. I believe that this will be seen as a, I not as successful launch, but I think in two to three years, you're going to see this integrated back into a larger solution. And that's when we need to worry about it. Okay. So you got a couple year headstart to put something together that can compete with this. All right. That's all for today. If you know someone that might benefit from our channel, please forward them a note. They can subscribe on our website this week.

health.com. Or wherever you listen to podcasts, apple, Google, overcast, Spotify, and anything else that happens to be out there. You get the picture. We want to thank our channel sponsors. We're investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. Short test artist's eye 📍 parlance and service. Now check them out at this week. health.com/today.

Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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