Don’t call it a reset — it seems more of a refresh.
Amazon has the tools in place to forge a competitive tool against other platforms, over the commerce giants that are seeking a foothold, and then a whole-hearted presence, in healthcare.
It has Amazon Pay and One Click Checkout. It has buy now, pay later (BNPL), as a result of its recent deal with Affirm. Amazon Pay is already a credential for retail and entertainment, and can conceivably make the leap, in the same way, into healthcare.
Put that all together, and the healthcare “consumer” can move adroitly across the healthcare ecosystem, with an identity that streamlines everything from booking appointments to getting prescriptions delivered to the doorstep … and of course, paying for it all.
Moving Beyond Amazon Care
To that end, the recent news that Amazon has sunset its Amazon Care service, which has offered a way to connect online with doctors or nurses via chats or videos, and in-person visits to clinics, may signal a pivot toward what we might term a “delivery” model of health services.
That model would square with the consumer mindset that the company can deliver pretty much anything to our doorsteps.
After all, the company has reportedly been eyeing a bid to acquire home healthcare provider Signify Health. At the same time, the company realizes that the world has gone omnichannel, so its $3.9 billion buy of One Medical gives immediate presence in 200 locations nationwide for on-site care. The key here, of course, is membership (One Medical operates with a membership model). Amazon Prime, of course, has critical mass with about 200 million Prime members.
And through it all is an ease of use, forged by one-click checkout and Amazon Pay. In the case of the latter, as PYMNTS research has revealed, Amazon Pay has increased its “footprint” by 14% as the pandemic raged; and using buy buttons shaves the checkout time by about half, to 70 seconds.
In the meantime, the Amazon/Affirm BNPL deal is just about to lap its first anniversary.
By splitting purchases into several installments — and with nearly instantaneously checkout — as Amazon’s customers travel through their healthcare journeys, consumers may be more inclined to get the care that they need, when they need it … and stay within the eCommerce giant’s wheelhouse.
The positive ripple effects, for the company, and for consumers, would be significant. PYMNTS research earlier this year found that one-third of patients forgo medical treatments over cost and payment concerns. The most frequently cited reason for this was that they were unable to pay for their care, with 22% citing cost as their prime concern, and 40% saying cost weighed heavily in the choice.
The landscape is getting ever more intense, of course. Walmart has physical presence with more than 4,000 stores in the U.S., with natural outlets for pharmacies and clinics and bought telehealth platform MeMD in 2021 to help forge its “omnicare” model. For Amazon, moving beyond Amazon Care simply opens up a new chapter in bringing care and technologies, and of course payments, together.