Who's steering the ship for healthcare at Amazon?
Today in health, it we're going to take a look at what the Amazon execs are saying about their progress in healthcare. Based on an interview from the health conference. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and create, or this week health. Instead of channels and events dedicated to transform healthcare. One connection at a time. We want to thank our show sponsors who are investing in developing the next generation of health leaders. Short test artist side parlance, certified health. Notable and service. Now, check them out this week. Health. Dot com slash today. If you had a chance to share this podcast with a friend or colleague, you said as a foundation for daily or weekly discussions on the topics that are relevant to you and the industry, they can subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Alright, here we go. Let's take a look. This, this is Yahoo finance, Amazon executives. There's progress in the healthcare business. So as we know, Amazon has been pursuing healthcare for the past several years. And they have several failures to show for it. As the article says, that was at least until the pandemic hit. The global outbreak of COVID-19 was a Eureka moment for the tech and e-commerce giant, which led to a more coordinated health operation. The company is building out today. Interesting. That's according to four Amazon health, chief medical officers who gathered together for the first time ever to speak exclusively to Yahoo finance at the health conference in Las Vegas. Let's see. Let's see what they had to say today. Amazon has a more coordinated health operation than in previous years, but it's still many years away from being a major disruptor in the $4 trillion industry. The CMOs said. At least they're being more pragmatic, right? At least they're looking at it and saying, look, it's going to take more than we're not going to do it next year. We're not going to release some technology and away we go. Here we go. The story begins in 2020. When worked from home, remote patient monitoring and mailing prescriptions saw a sudden spikes in utilization and demand. It was also a time when Amazon health efforts were still new, but struggling to find direction. Dr. VIN Gupta. chief medical officer for Amazon pharmacy said the company was suddenly inundated with requests. We got approached in 2020 from every state government public school district sports team to do logistics group that told Yahoo finance. I think every is probably a little strong. We got approached in 2020 from every state government public school district sports team to do logistics. I'm sure they do their, their. They're the best at logistics that I could think of. And, you know, I think at one point I recommended that we would have been better off doing the vaccine through Amazon than we were the way we did it. Anyway. I, it goes on. It was at that moment because of the asks that kept coming in, that we felt like the world thought of us as a key stakeholder in public health for the first time we've come to embrace it. He said, The seismic shift in daily life helped Amazon see what healthcare problems it could solve with its successful last mile infrastructure. It could quickly and easily get medical devices and prescription drugs. Two patients front doors. Again, that's not, I mean, that's not rocket science and it did not take the pandemic for them to figure that out. They were well underway of buying a pharmacy's in setting the foundation for Amazon pharmacy. So getting prescription drugs to the front door was not. , pandemic driven. It may have spiked the business, but it was not pandemic driven and getting stuff. To people's homes also was not new to them before then either. I'm sorry, I'm being a little critical. Let me keep going. And with its growing cloud presence, it could find ways not just to serve doctors and health systems needs, but also their customers, the patients by offering virtual visits. , occupy going. But some of the pieces that came together included the 2018 PillPack acquisition that eventually became it was on pharmacy. Again, started in 2018. Pandemic, hit us in 2020, the leanings from Haven, the partnership with JP Morgan Berkshire Hathaway, which eventually folded. And the 2019 launch of Amazon care, delivering healthcare services for Amazon employees, which recently folded and gave way to Amazon clinic. , The company now has a growing primary care offering with both in-person and virtual care boosted by its $3.9 billion acquisition of one medical, as well as the pharmacy, which is continuously looking for ways to get medicines and health devices, to patients faster and more affordably it's entry. Entry into the space has caused concern over what level of disruption it can cause and how the broader health ecosystem might be impacted. There's this perception that we have this grand plan said Amazon chief medical officer. Sunita Mishra. I'll say that we're really stubborn on this vision, but we're really flexible on how we get there. We're not going to be able to do it alone. We know that we're going to have to partner and we're coming to this with a lot of humility.
, Let's see connecting the dots. If the company succeeds in connecting the dots. Of health needs for consumers. It could be hugely profitable for the company. But what those dots are, is still being studied. The executive said. And how much of it will be done through partnerships, which the company is now actively pursuing or from internal growth remains to be seen. Amazon could, for example, link other sides of the business together. Like AWS. Catering to physicians with AI scribes, which they already do, which could be a stepping stone to launching greater healthcare generative AI capabilities, which they already do for doctors and patients and partners are already doing that on the AWS platform. Alexa could also be utilized in a number of ways, adding a way to remotely monitor patients. I'm just going to keep going. Even Amazon's ownership of whole foods could play a role. Absolutely. The chief medical officer said in particular. Finding ways to connect patients to healthy foods that would improve health outcomes, a key driver for poor health. And some patient populations known as a social determinant of health. One medical chief medical officer. Andrew diamond said that prior to the acquisition, one medical has already, for instance, been thinking about how it might be able to influence members, dietary, or exercise habits. We just haven't been able to prioritize that because there are all these other things that we have to prioritize in a primary care business. Diamond said there's a lot of other foundational things that need to happen first. And there's only so many things that we can do simultaneously. He added it doesn't have to be everybody right now. We couldn't handle everybody right now. Anyway, we've got to grow thoughtfully. And just like it did in retail, the company won't disrupt healthcare overnight said Amazon clinic, chief medical officer. Wow. No, Warrah IOU. We're trying to make things that should be easy, easier, or not reinventing the wheel. What we're saying is if you smooth out the edge, the wheel will roll a little faster. Or if you pave the road in front of it, the wheel will roll on the road a little better. He said, Well, prior to reading this article, I was, , probably more bullish on Amazon's, , trajectory. I am after reading this article, I am not bullish on Amazon's trajectory at all. I'm not sure they know what they're doing. They are looking at incrementalism. I don't think that's their play in the space. I like the idea of partnerships for them. I'm not sure. I like the one medical acquisition. I thought it was going to give them a foothold to really do some things. , it also gave them a model, which I think is necessary for them to be successful in healthcare. Which is essentially the Amazon prime model. I wrote an article a while back, Amazon prime. , should be their model for healthcare and essentially getting P it's setting it up as an insurance. , product and having people in prime, , increase the amount of money they're putting in prime and actually receiving healthcare. They could do that through, , partnerships for, , let's see, for high acuity care, they could do it through partnerships. For a remote monitoring and those kinds of things, they could do it. Through one medical, , which is not nearly large enough and loses so much money. That I'm not even sure. The model really works. They have to get, , I mean, look, if the models are losing millions at its current, , framework scaling it. Is not the answer. This whole idea of scale it to success is not the answer. , I believe you have to look at the model. Make it make sense? And the only way to do that is to look at healthcare holistically. They have to get that first dollar that's where Amazon prime comes in, call it Amazon prime insurance, call it, call it whatever you want to call it. They have to get into the insurance game. Once they get into the insurance game, then the whole foods makes sense.
Then the one medical makes sense. Then the Amazon pharmacy makes sense. It all makes sense. And if they're going to do incrementalism, it should be around logistics. Logistics is their claim to fame. They should look at logistic. Just six for all of healthcare and where they can leverage their logistics to be a healthcare player. , I don't know. I don't think it's rocket science and. , I think by the way, I do think it's a bold play. I do think it will require some losses to get into it. And, , I think this incrementalism that I'm hearing from these chief medical officers is not the play at all. And I don't know, I used to think we'd have to worry about Amazon. It sounds like they're floundering. And can't find their way and can't find any focus. So if Jeff Bezos is listening to this, or if someone who knows him can forward this to him. , there is a plan for them to be really successful in healthcare. And it starts by getting that first dollar of care, which essentially. Is being, , an insurance carrier and taking on risk. So that's the way to do it. I don't know what that does to their other businesses. I would have to look at it from a business standpoint and a risk standpoint, but at the end of the day, , You know, they. A company of this magnitude is one of the few that's going to be able to compete with a United healthcare. All right. That's all for today. If somebody from Amazon wants to call and chat about this by all means, give me a call. You know where to find me. That's all for today. Don't forget to share this podcast with a friend or colleague. Keep the conversation going. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. Short test artist, site parlance, certified health, notable and 📍 service now. I check them out at this week. health.com/today. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.