Just when retailers thought online e-commerce giant Amazon couldn’t get any bigger, they’ve made a significant and strategic pivot that is on pace to revolutionize how consumers approach healthcare. Quietly for the past two years, Amazon has been recruiting a talented team of the world’s brightest minds to help them launch a series of new services and product lines, all designed to make getting medications, checking in on loved ones, and managing your health both more convenient and affordable. Health and wellness providers will need to take note and adapt, or risk being left behind. Because, as Amazon continues to forge stronger corporate relationships with global companies like State Farm,1 JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway,2 the days of traditional healthcare are quickly numbered. Here are the top three things you need to know now to make sure you can position your company to compete in the new Amazon healthcare landscape.
Faster delivery service
Amazon is known for having extremely fast (and cheap) delivery options. It’s a safe bet that they’ll take this signature competitive edge right into the healthcare marketplace. From offering on-demand prescription refills ordered through Alexa, to partnering with local hospitals to send medical care items straight to a patient’s home immediately upon discharge,3 to leveraging unmanned drones for near-instant delivery times, Amazon will raise the bar on what it means to get what you want, exactly when you want it. To stay ahead of the curve, health and wellness providers will need to look for innovative ways to get their products or services to their patients faster and with unwavering quality.
Greater ease of use
With smart, voice-activated technology like Amazon Alexa ushering in a new level of convenience, how users are able to get the care they need is going to change. A recent September 2018 partnership between Amazon and Aiva,4 a startup specializing in producing smart speakers to connect patients with healthcare providers, will make appointment scheduling and refill requests possible through Alexa. In addition, Amazon has just filed a new patent that enables Alexa to detect when a user is sick and sell certain medications based on their illness. Patients will soon come to expect instant scheduling options and the ability to get the medication or assistance they need without ever stepping foot into a doctor’s office. Finding ways to make scheduling and medication requests easy, perhaps through an online app or even through text, may be a way for health and wellness providers to meet patients’ need for convenience.
More at-home healthcare options
Health consumerism has been on the rise for the past decade. As patients look for ways to manage their own health, diagnose illnesses, and find all-natural ways to treat themselves, it will be more important than ever for healthcare providers to allow “do it at home” medical care options. Because that is exactly what Amazon has its sights set on: offering a host of low-cost, at-home consumer-focused medical devices, including blood pressure cuffs and glucose monitors. In fact, through a December 2018 partnership with Omron Healthcare,5 Alexa will even be able to take a user’s blood pressure and notify physicians if levels are outside of the normal range. Whether it is through mobile apps or a suite of at-home devices, health and wellness companies would be smart to start positioning themselves now to compete.
As Amazon continues to push ahead with its health-related initiatives, now is the time for health and wellness providers to start carving out their own competitive advantages. In a world, where patients are becoming increasingly used to on-demand medical treatment, companies will need to find innovative ways to remain competitive.