Mapping Amazon Care’s Next Move Based on History

April 7, 2021

 – Episode #


History reveals the next move for Amazon Care.

I read some research by Chilimark yesterday that would be spot on if Amazon Care was going direct to consumer.  Here are some of their findings.


  • Today, Amazon Care is surprisingly limited. To really dominate the space, Amazon needs to take a cue from Teladoc and other virtual care platforms offering comprehensive remote monitoring and health coaching.
  • Amazon is betting consumer experience will be enough to bring in users.
  • The telehealth bubble is popping, and that’s good. The investments and valuations driven by COVID and 2020 telehealth volume were overheated. If visit volumes really did peak last summer and continue to decline closer to our predicted baseline of ~20 percent of all visits, telehealth is going to be a tough, crowded market by this summer.


I don’t believe that retail is the model they are following.  I believe it is the model for AWS which I talk about on Today in Health IT.

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Today in health, it, the story is a short, succinct and brief analysis of Amazon care based on history. My name is bill Russell. I’m a former CIO for a 16 hospital system. And creator of this week in health, it a channel dedicated to keeping health it staff current and engaged. I provide executive coaching for health leaders around technology, and it, if you want to learn more, check out health

All right to today’s story. I’ve been a little long way to lately, especially over the last two days. So this is going to be brief. It’s mostly a rehash of some of the content I’ve done over the last couple of weeks. With some added color, I read some research from chili mark yesterday around Amazon care, and here are the key takeaways.

Today Amazon care is surprisingly limited. Initial deployments look to be remote visits and virtual primary care. These are some of the easiest pieces to scale, but offer the least value in potential impact to really dominate the space. Amazon needs to take a cue from Teladoc and other virtual care platforms, offering comprehensive, remote monitoring, and health coaching.

Second point Amazon is betting. Consumer experience will be enough to bring in users. Whatever else do you think of them? The Amazon experience is refined, simple and popular. If they bring the same ease to healthcare. They might win just through that. Third point, the tele-health bubble is popping and that’s good. The investments and valuations driven by COVID and 2020 tele-health volume were overheated.

But it was never certain when the tele-health bubble would burst. If visit volumes really did peak last summer and continue to climb closer to our predicted baseline of about 20% of all visits

tele-health it’s going to be a tough crowded market by the summer.

Vendors offering more than just remote appointments are going to be the only ones able to compete with the Amazon behemoths. I’m going to humbly disagree with this understanding that we could all be wrong quite frankly, but I want you to be prepared for what’s next. I think there’s a basis in history. There’s a lot of points in these three bullet points that I really like. I think the baseline is going to be about 20% of all visits.

That are going to be telehealth visits. And I believe this analysis would be right if Amazon were going after the consumer, if they were going direct to consumer, I think this analysis would be probably spot on. But I don’t think that’s where they’re going. So in order to help you to be prepared, let me give this to you as succinctly as I can.

The Amazon care model is the model for Amazon web services. You have to remember the history of this. They built AWS for their own purposes to scale an online retail business for two months out of the year. November and December that’s when the buying was off the charts for a online retailer, but the problem was from January to October, their data center and their compute power and , their storage.

It was pretty much dormant. They had to build out a massive capacity for two months. And then they had to figure out what to do with it the rest of the time. And so they built AWS to meet their own needs first and foremost. But after that was done, they went out and sold the excess capacity. They are in the build phase for Amazon care right now, they are building it for their own employees. And once that is complete, they will have the use case at scale and metrics to show the benefits to large multi-site organizations.

It may end there, but I doubt it. They will have something that is of great value for other corporations, a lower cost model for delivering care for a mid to large organization that leverages their technology, their logistics, and their health-related assets. This will most likely be an insurance play more than a tele-health play.

This may go direct to consumers at some point, I’m not negating that, but it will not be their first move. They are not a tele-health provider and this move should not be viewed as a tele-health move.

Their move is more like transparent. The, new venture by Glenn Toman and team that is targeting the experience and care of employees for mid to large organizations. That’s my 2 cents. What’s the, so what the, so what is consumer engagement and capturing consumers is a skill that helps us. Never had to have you just built a building and people came to you. You have to have that skill now.

We will need to learn how to go into a market, have services that act as a gateway to our health system have models which align the consumer. With the house zone for the longterm and provide an experience that will make them never want to leave. Ask yourself. This question. It’s a simple question. If you didn’t have to, would you still go to your current caregiver? I would.

I would choose an experience where I could text my doctor and someone would respond to me. A place where my physician would be engaged in my health while I am healthy. Answer my health questions, monitor my vitals through my digital tools and provide me insights, a health experience that gave me and my family access to the best doctors. If I really needed them. If I had a serious issue.

Think the leading academic medical centers , for heart and cancer care, if that need ever arises.

Those who are listening to the consumers are building that health experience right now because that’s what we want. And that’s what a majority of employers are looking for as well. That’s all for today. If you know someone that might benefit from our channel, please forward them a note. They can subscribe on our website this week, or wherever you listen to podcasts, apple, Google, overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, you get the picture. We are everywhere. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders.

VMware Hill-Rom 📍 Starbridge advisors, McAfee and Aruba networks. Thanks for listening. That’s all for now.