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  • Lloyd Price

Why is Amazon failing in Healthcare?


Exec Summary:


Amazon has been failing in healthcare for a lot of reasons, the main ones being:

  • The healthcare industry is complex and regulated. Amazon is used to operating in a more straightforward environment, such as e-commerce. The healthcare industry is full of regulations, and it can be difficult for Amazon to navigate these regulations.

  • Amazon has not been able to build relationships with healthcare providers. Healthcare providers are notoriously difficult to work with, and Amazon has not been able to build strong relationships with them. This has made it difficult for Amazon to get its products and services into the hands of patients.

  • Amazon's products and services have not been well-received by patients. Amazon's healthcare products and services have not been as well-received by patients as its other products and services. This is likely due to the fact that healthcare is a personal and emotional topic, and patients are not as likely to trust Amazon with their healthcare needs.

  • Amazon's focus on scale. Amazon is a company that is used to operating at scale. In healthcare, however, scale is not always the most important factor. In some cases, it is more important to have a deep understanding of the local market and the needs of patients.

  • Amazon's lack of experience in healthcare. Amazon is a relatively new entrant to the healthcare industry. It does not have the same level of experience as some of its competitors, such as UnitedHealth Group and CVS Health.

  • The changing landscape of healthcare. The healthcare industry is constantly changing. This can make it difficult for Amazon to keep up with the latest trends and regulations.

Amazon has spent many years and billions of dollars on healthcare projects with varying degrees of success, some of them have been a big success and others a big failure.


The key areas where Amazon has been involved:

  1. Amazon Care: Amazon launched Amazon Care, a virtual healthcare service for its employees, in 2019. The service provides employees with access to telehealth consultations, in-person follow-ups, and prescription deliveries.

  2. PillPack: In 2018, Amazon acquired PillPack, an online pharmacy that specializes in delivering medications to customers' homes. This acquisition aimed to enhance Amazon's presence in the pharmaceutical space.

  3. Alexa in Healthcare: Amazon has been working on integrating its voice assistant, Alexa, into healthcare settings. Alexa can provide health information, schedule appointments, and connect users to healthcare providers through voice commands.

  4. AWS in Healthcare: Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing division of Amazon, has been offering various solutions for healthcare organizations, including data storage, analytics, machine learning, and telehealth platforms.

  5. Health-related Devices: Amazon has developed and marketed several health-related devices, such as the Amazon Halo wearable, which tracks various health metrics, and the Echo Loop smart ring, which can monitor user activity and wellness.


Amazon's 3 big failed Healthcare projects


Wearable Devices, TeleHealth and Affordable Care are the 3 big projects where Amazon has failed to gain traction and closed down in the last few years.



Amazon Halo


Amazon Halo is a health and wellness wearable device developed by Amazon. It was announced in August 2020 and aims to provide users with insights into their overall health and well-being.

The Amazon Halo consists of a wristband that tracks various metrics, including activity, sleep patterns, heart rate, body temperature, and even tone of voice analysis. It uses a combination of sensors and machine learning algorithms to provide personalized health recommendations and insights based on the collected data.

One unique feature of Amazon Halo is the Tone feature, which analyzes the user's voice to provide insights into their emotional state and communication style. It can detect emotions like happiness, sadness, and stress, and offers suggestions for improving communication.

While the Amazon Halo has some innovative features, it has also faced criticism and concerns regarding privacy and data security. The device collects a significant amount of personal health data, which raises privacy concerns among users. Amazon has made efforts to address these concerns by implementing strong data protection measures and giving users control over their data.

It's worth noting that my knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021, and there may have been updates or changes to the Amazon Halo since then. For the most up-to-date information on the device and any potential developments or issues, I recommend referring to official Amazon sources or recent news articles.




Amazon Care


Amazon Care is a healthcare service provided by Amazon for its employees. It was initially launched in 2019 as a pilot program for employees in the Seattle area and expanded to other regions in subsequent years.

Amazon Care offers a combination of virtual and in-person healthcare services. Through the Amazon Care app, employees can access virtual consultations with healthcare providers, receive medical advice, and even have prescriptions delivered to their homes. The service also includes in-person services such as follow-up visits, preventive health screenings, and diagnostic tests, which can be arranged through the app.

The goal of Amazon Care is to provide convenient and accessible healthcare services to Amazon employees, aiming to save them time and make it easier for them to seek medical care. The service includes 24/7 access to medical professionals and is intended to address a range of non-emergency healthcare needs.

It's important to note that the information I have is based on my knowledge up until September 2021, and there may have been updates or changes to Amazon Care since then. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on the service, I recommend referring to official Amazon sources or recent news articles.



Haven – joint venture with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway


Haven was a joint venture between Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway formed in 2018 with the goal of addressing healthcare costs and improving healthcare outcomes for their employees in the United States. The initiative aimed to leverage the combined resources, expertise, and scale of the three companies to create innovative solutions for the healthcare industry.

While the specific details of Haven's plans and initiatives were not publicly disclosed, the overall objective was to develop new models and technologies to make healthcare more affordable and accessible. The venture intended to focus on areas such as insurance, primary care services, prescription drugs, and technology-driven solutions.

However, in January 2021, it was announced that Haven would be shutting down. The companies cited the challenges of aligning their individual interests and pursuing their own separate healthcare initiatives as reasons for the decision. The venture highlighted the complexity and difficulty of transforming the healthcare industry, which is subject to extensive regulations and entrenched practices.

Following the dissolution of Haven, the companies involved continued to pursue their respective healthcare initiatives independently. Amazon, for example, expanded its Amazon Care offering, while JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway explored other avenues to address healthcare costs and employee wellness.

It's important to note that my knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021, and there may have been further developments or changes since then. To get the most up-to-date information on the healthcare initiatives of Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway, I recommend referring to official company announcements or recent news articles.


Why is Amazon failing in Healthcare?


There have been challenges and obstacles faced by Amazon and other companies attempting to make significant inroads in the healthcare industry. Factors contributing to these challenges include:

  1. Complex Healthcare Ecosystem: The healthcare industry is highly complex, heavily regulated, and involves numerous stakeholders, including healthcare providers, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and government entities. Navigating this complex ecosystem and gaining traction can be challenging for any new entrant.

  2. Resistance from Incumbents: Established players in the healthcare industry may be resistant to disruption and may have their own strategies for maintaining market share. This can make it difficult for new entrants like Amazon to gain a significant foothold.

  3. Privacy and Security Concerns: Healthcare data is highly sensitive, and there are strict regulations in place to protect patient privacy. Addressing concerns around data security and privacy is crucial, and any missteps in this area can erode trust and hinder progress.

  4. Regulatory Hurdles: Healthcare regulations can vary significantly across regions and countries. Complying with these regulations while innovating and delivering new services can present significant challenges.

  5. Cultural and Behavioral Change: Transforming the healthcare industry requires not just technological advancements but also changes in cultural and behavioral norms. Encouraging adoption and acceptance of new healthcare models and technologies can be a slow and challenging process.

Finally it is not all bad news, Amazon Polly is a good example of Amazon's success in Healthcare...


Amazon has been successful in many areas of healthcare ranging from an online pharmacy, voice assistant technology, machine learning, AI and Amazon Polly.


Amazon Polly


Amazon Polly is a text-to-speech service offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). It uses advanced deep learning technologies to synthesize speech that sounds like a human voice. The service can be used to convert text into lifelike speech in over 30 languages and a variety of voices and accents.


Users can access the Amazon Polly service via API or by using one of the many integrations with AWS services such as Amazon S3, Amazon Translate, or Amazon Alexa. The service offers a range of customization options, including adjusting the speed, pitch, volume, and pronunciation of the generated speech.


Amazon Polly is commonly used for applications such as voice-enabled applications, e-learning platforms, accessibility solutions, and automated voice responses for call centers. It offers high-quality, natural-sounding speech output, making it a popular choice for a variety of use cases.


How is Amazon Polly being used in Healthcare?

  1. Patient communication: Amazon Polly can be used to generate automated voice responses for call centers, appointment reminders, and patient education materials. This can help healthcare providers reach patients in a timely and efficient manner.

  2. Accessibility: Amazon Polly can be used to create audio content that is accessible to people with visual impairments, learning disabilities, or other challenges that make reading difficult. This can include medication instructions, patient education materials, or other healthcare-related content.

  3. Language translation: Amazon Polly supports over 30 languages and a variety of voices and accents, making it a versatile option for international healthcare applications. It can be used to translate patient communication materials, medication instructions, and other healthcare-related content into multiple languages.

  4. Telemedicine: Amazon Polly can be used to create natural-sounding voice chatbots or virtual assistants to provide support to patients during telemedicine appointments. This can help healthcare providers to improve the patient experience and provide more personalized care.

Overall, Amazon Polly can help healthcare providers to improve patient communication, accessibility, and language translation capabilities. By leveraging this technology, healthcare organizations can provide a more patient-centric approach to care and improve patient outcomes.


Thoughts, comments? Tweet @lloydgprice, or email lloyd@healthcare.digital and let's start a conversation :)


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