Amazon is shutting down its telehealth service, Amazon Care, marking a major retreat by the retail behemoth in its efforts to break into the health care space.
Amazon will shutter the service after Dec. 31, Amazon Health Services lead Neil Lindsay announced Wednesday in a company email. The e-commerce giant decided to make the move after determining it wasn’t “the right long-term solution for our enterprise customers,” Lindsay wrote in the memo, which was previously reported by GeekWire.
“This decision wasn’t made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration,” Lindsay said. “Although our enrolled members have loved many aspects of Amazon Care, it is not a complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers we have been targeting, and wasn’t going to work long-term.”
Even though the service is ending, Amazon gained a deeper understanding of “what’s needed long-term to deliver meaningful health care solutions for enterprise and individual customers” through its rollout of Amazon Care, Lindsay wrote in the memo.
Amazon Care launched in 2019 as a pilot program for employees in and around the company’s Seattle headquarters. The service provides virtual urgent care visits, as well as free telehealth consults and in-home visits for a fee from nurses for testing and vaccinations.
The service was several years in the making. In 2017, Amazon held a secret meeting in Seattle to learn more about patient care that was attended by heavyweights from the health care industry, CNBC reported. It then hired a small group of doctors to start a pilot clinic for some employees.
In February, the company rolled out Amazon Care’s virtual offerings nationwide for its employees and other companies, signaling it had greater ambitions for the service.
It’s unclear how much traction Amazon Care had gained. Last June, Babak Parviz, a vice president working on Amazon Care, said Amazon had attracted multiple companies interested in using the service. Its corporate customers include Hilton, Silicon Labs, TrueBlue and Whole Foods, the company-owned upscale grocer.
Amazon is sunsetting the service even as CEO Andy Jassy has committed to make inroads in the health care industry. Last month, Amazon acquired boutique primary care provider One Medical for $3.9 billion. It also has sought to develop at-home medical diagnostics. And earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported Amazon is bidding for home health services provider Signify Health.