Amazon Secures Future In Healthcare
Amazon has acquired One Medical, bringing 191 clinics, a telehealth system, and patient data storage bases to Amazon. One Medical is Amazon’s 3rd largest acquisition, trailing Whole Foods and MGM Studios. One Medical has been touted as “the Netflix of healthcare” and this $3.9 billion acquisition makes Amazon officially a healthcare provider. Amazon’s push into healthcare, telehealth, and retail pharmacy has taken off this year, but this acquisition is a strong-arming move putting Amazon into the actual healthcare system. According to Healthcare Dive, “Amazon now has offerings in telehealth and in-person primary care, diagnostics, pharmacy, wearables and even grocery. The company appears poised to attempt integrating medical data with apps offering recommendations for health activities and products, reducing the time and burden of doctor’s visits, delivering drugs through online pharmacy PillPack, providing nutritious food for in-need patients through Whole Foods or Amazon Fresh — with a primary care doctor linked in all the way. I think that’s huge. Does it fix everything that’s wrong with our healthcare system? No. But they didn’t set out to fix our healthcare system. They set out to make some money,” said Michael Abrams, managing partner of health consultancy Numerof & Associates.” By acquiring One Medical, Amazon also acquires their employer contracts. These employers include AirBnB and Google. Many One Medical subscribers have posted about leaving One Medical because of Amazon’s acquisition due to privacy and data concerns. Beyond wearables and online tracking, Amazon is inside many homes with Alexa devices and Ring doorbells, and of course fitness trackers. Brooke’s Take: Spokespeople for One Medical and Amazon stick to saying that HIPAA will be observed. That’s good, but HIPAA is not up to date with today’s data-sharing technology. Last year the CARE Act changed HIPAA so that if a patient chooses to use a third-party tech platform to access medical records; those records are no longer under HIPAA once they are on a 3rd party app. If a patient asks a doctor to put their medical records on a tech platform and the doctor refuses, the doctor can be sued by anyone.