Monday, November 21, 2022

Amazon Clinic is Coming as The Everything Store Pushes into Healthcare


An interesting move in the telehealth space has been announced recently.  Amazon, which is the world's largest online retailer, has announced Amazon Clinic.

The system will operate in 32 states when it starts.  The idea is to provide "virtual care" for 20 common health conditions such as allergies, acne, and hair loss.  It will be a message based virtual telehealth service that will strive to connect doctors with patients in way that is more convenient for patients and more efficient for doctors.

The basic idea is 

  1. The patient selects the condition they need help with
  2. The patient selects a provider from a list
  3. The patient completes a short intake form questionnaire
  4. The patient is then connected to the provider through a secure message-based portal

While I am a firm believer in the doctor patient relationship, I also realize that many folks need an affordable healthcare option that is available when *they* are.  There are also folks who lack transportation or are in rural areas where a trip to the doctor could require a lengthy amount of travel.  Let's face it, as a doctor of the head and neck, I see certain situations where I could do some remote diagnosis and triage.  There are times when a doctor doesn't absolutely need to "touch" the patient to make an accurate diagnosis.  Now, the flip side is that there ARE times that a physical visit is *absolutely* necessary.  However, if it isn't needed, why make people jump through unnecessary hoops?

My personal feelings are that this is filling a definite need.  There are some "holes" in the U.S. healthcare system and filling those holes is necessary and a *good* thing.  We are seeing rapid expansion in telehealth by many companies currently.  Almost everyone has an Amazon account and if utilizing this service can help some people.  My thoughts are, let's get help to those people.

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