Amazon’s healthcare business lands deal with Hilton as key customer

USA – Amazon.com Inc has agreed to sell virtual medical services to Hilton in the United States, securing a high-profile customer for its fledgling healthcare division.

The company, however, refused to reveal the financial terms of its deal with the hotel chain.

Amazon Care, the world’s largest online retailer’s on-demand health offering that allows users to message or video-chat with clinicians and receive home visits in some cities

The online retailing giant is attempting to alleviate pain points in healthcare. Members can use this new program to video chat with a doctor for minor healthcare needs or to have a nurse visit their home or office for basic testing. The company has been looking to sign up employers.

This new system aims to make healthcare more user-friendly. That represents a significant shift in an industry that has traditionally prioritized the needs of healthcare providers over the needs of the customer.

In 2019, Amazon piloted the service for its employees in Seattle, and this summer it began marketing Care to other businesses nationwide.

PillPack, a consumer prescription delivery model, and various data storage and analytics efforts are extensions of their current business.

The agreement with Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc, is Amazon Care’s first hospitality client and only its second disclosed client after fitness equipment maker Precor. It demonstrates how the company is using a tried-and-true playbook to disrupt the healthcare industry.

Just as Amazon built data centers to meet its e-commerce needs and later sold access to this infrastructure in what became its cloud-computing business, the company is now looking to market a healthcare service it created first for the benefit of its employees.

Kristen Helton, director of Amazon Care, said at the Total Health conference that the Hilton deal was “a great step forward for the business to show we can provide care nationwide to their team members.”

As of December 31, 2020, Hilton employed approximately 141,000 people worldwide. Amazon Care will be available to all of its employees in the United States who are enrolled in a corporate health plan beginning next year.

This entails virtual meetings with clinicians from Care Medical, a company dedicated to serving Amazon Care customers.

Amazon also provides house calls in Seattle and the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area, with plans to expand to Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Boston.

Employers’ pandemic safety concerns, as well as recruiting needs during a labor shortage, according to Helton, have contributed to demand.

Attracting and retaining talent is so critical for businesses right now,” she said

Hilton covers workers’ access to care as well as a portion of their visit expenses. Text chats through Amazon Care will be free for hotel employees.

Similarly, provider video or home visits will incur a small fee. Artificial intelligence (AI) will also play a larger role in the future.

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