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Amazon, Xealth, Two Hospitals To Test Medical Supply Project

Amazon is in talks with Xealth, and potentially two more hospital networks, to take part in a test project that would enable doctors to recommend bundles of medical products to patients while they are still in the hospital.

CNBC reported the products would be delivered to the patient’s home once they are released from the hospital. The pilot could start in the next few months with the goal to give patients discounted access to medical supplies via Amazon Prime. Patients who don’t have a Prime membership or don’t want to use Amazon’s eCommerce platform can still be part of the test with other eCommerce companies, reported CNBC. People familiar with the matter told CNBC that Xealth is leading the project while Amazon is mainly providing guidance on how the bundles should be set up on reseller accounts.

There have also been discussions about how patients may be able to access discounts from their health insurance of health savings accounts for some items, noted the report. The hospitals taking part in the program include Providence Health & Services and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). The two hospitals are investors in Xealth.

This past spring, Amazon, in its efforts to disrupt the healthcare market, built a team to focus on making Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant more useful in the healthcare field. According to an internal document obtained by CNBC, the division is called “health & wellness,” includes over a dozen people and is being led by Rachel Jiang, who has spent the last five years at Amazon in various roles, including advertising and video.

Sources say that a key task of the team will be working through regulations and data privacy requirements laid out by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). The group is focusing on areas like diabetes management, care for mothers and infants, and aging. Other key members include Missy Krasner, who joined Amazon last year after leading industry initiatives at Box and Google, and Larry Ockene, a 10-year veteran engineer at Amazon. Yvonne Chou, who has worked at Amazon for eight years across Prime, fashion and retail is one of the three managers under Jiang.

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