Amazon pilots virtual care clinic for employees

In another sign of its trek into the healthcare space, Amazon has opened a virtual care clinic for its Seattle-based employees, with in-home or in-office follow-ups. The news was first reported by CNBC.

According to Amazon, which launched a new website for Amazon Care, the new initiative “is a benefit being piloted for Amazon employees and their families in the Seattle area.” The offering provides both virtual and in-person care, for visits at home or office, care through a smartphone or device and prescriptions delivered at home.

The company stated it can offer care for urgent issues, including colds, allergies, infections and other minor injuries, as well as preventative health consults, vaccines and lab work. Amazon Care also provides sexual health services, including contraception and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing.

The virtual services include care chat, which allows users to connect with a nurse “in minutes for advice and answers on any health topic,” according to the website. Its video care service is a visit with a doctor or nurse practitioner that similarly offers advice and answers, but also diagnoses, treatment or referrals. Both services are in-app launches.

The mobile care service means a nurse can be dispatched to the employee’s home or office for in-person exams, testing or treatment. Finally, the care courier service delivers prescriptions at home or in the office.

The Amazon Care launch is just the latest healthcare initiative from the e-commerce giant. While the step is currently just for its employees in Seattle, many healthcare industry stakeholders see Amazon as a real threat in the future. Amazon’s other major step into healthcare was its joint venture with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway, which together created a new entity, Haven, focused on improving health insurance options for their combined 1 million employees.

The launch of the services from Amazon also comes just weeks after Walmart announced it was entering the primary care market with a pilot clinic  in Georgia.