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Business

Amazon Care is shutting down




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Amazon will shut down Amazon Care, the virtual and home health service it originally created for its employees, by the end of this year.

People who work at Amazon Care learned the news in a meeting Wednesday, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements.

Amazon Care is available to employees of half a dozen enterprise customers, including Hilton, Silicon Labs, Precor and Amazon-owned Whole Foods, as well as its own workforce. Workers were told the service was being shut down because those customers didn’t see the value in the service, one of the people said. Dozens of employees will lose their jobs towards the end of the year, according to the people.

Amazon spokeswoman Christina Smith confirmed the decision and shared a memo announcing it with The Washington Post.

“This decision was not made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration,” Amazon’s senior vice president of health Neil Lindsay said in an email to employees. “While our registered members have loved many aspects of Amazon Care, it’s not a complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers we’ve been targeting, and it wasn’t going to work long-term.”

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Post. Amazon first provided the letter announcing the closure to GeekWire and Fierce Healthcare.

Amazon’s healthcare ambitions sometimes clashed with healthcare best practices

The decision to close Amazon Care is a surprise given Amazon CEO Andy Jassy’s commitment to expanding Amazon’s healthcare investments. It follows Amazon’s $3.9 billion acquisition of concierge healthcare startup One Medical last month, a deal that could still face antitrust scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission.

In his 2021 letter to shareholders, Jassy cited Amazon Care as an example of “the kind of iterative innovation” that is “pervasive across every team at Amazon.”

Amazon Care is currently available virtually across the country, and was set to expand to 20 cities for home care delivered by mobile health nurses by the end of this year.

Last week, The Post reported on tensions between Amazon Care and the clinical staff the company brought in to treat patients. These medical professionals work for an independent company called Care Medical which is also going out of business. Six former employees told The Post that the two sides clashed over Amazon’s fast and frugal approach to expanding Amazon Care, which some former employees believed prioritized business over best medical practices.

Amazon wants to see you now: The tech giant buys the healthcare chain for $3.9 billion

A former Amazon Care executive told The Post at the time that Amazon would “try to do what they do in every other industry: They’re going to try to do it better than everybody else, make it cheaper, and get crazy adoption because of convenience. But healthcare is different. It’s hard.”

In response, Amazon’s Smith told The Post in an email that Amazon prioritized patient and employee safety and that “Amazon Care has evolved and improved for both patients and clinicians since our pilot program.”

In his email, Lindsay said that Amazon Care employees may be placed in other jobs within Amazon and that the company will “support employees looking for roles outside of the company.”

Lindsay — an Amazon veteran who took over the firm’s new health services division in December 2021 — emphasized in his letter that Amazon remains committed to its health services.

“Our vision is to make it easier for people to access the health products and services they need to get and stay healthy. We know that achieving this will not be easy or quick, but we believe it matters,” he wrote.

This is the second major healthcare investment Amazon has discontinued. A health insurance venture called Haven that it co-created with financial firms Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase closed last year.

High-profile healthcare backed by shutters from Amazon, JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway

The company continues to operate Amazon Pharmacy, a prescription ordering and delivery service that was developed following its acquisition of Pillpack in 2018. Its cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, also has a significant presence in healthcare, where it uses machine learning to analyze healthcare for other large health organizations.

In the year since taking the helm as CEO, Jassy has sought to focus Amazon’s operations, closing some of its retail operations and slowing growth in its logistics division.



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