Amazon has launched an online chat service to provide customers with advice on common health woes.
The retail giant’s new ‘virtual care service’ gives users access to ‘affordable’ medical help ‘when and how they need it’, whether that’s at home, at the shops or on the go.
Amazon Clinic, described as a ‘virtual health storefront’, will connect people with doctors to get advice and prescriptions for more than 20 common health conditions, such as allergies, acne and hair loss.
It will initially be rolled out in 32 states with plans to launch in more locations within months.
‘Sometimes you just need a quick interaction with a clinician for a common health concern that can be easily addressed virtually,’ it said.
The US online retail giant said its new ‘virtual care service’ will give users access to an ‘affordable’ medical help ‘when and how they need it’, whether that’s at home, at the shops or on the go
The clinic, described as a ‘virtual health storefront’, will connect people with doctors to get advice and prescriptions for more than 20 common health conditions, such as allergies, acne and hair loss
As well as providing treatment advice for conditions such as cold sores, eczema and genital herpes, Amazon Clinic will also renew prescriptions for asthma, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
Amazon shared an example of a conversation on its ‘virtual care service’, with a customer selecting what they need help with and messaging a clinician for advice and a prescription
What conditions will Amazon Clinic treat?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Men’s hair loss
Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Amazon added: ‘We believe that improving both the occasional and ongoing engagement experience is necessary to making care dramatically better.
‘We also believe that customers should have the agency to choose what works best for them.’
Amazon has not shared the cost of the service, saying it will vary depending on which doctor patients choose.
However, the retailer said the price will include follow-up messages with a clinician for up to two weeks after they first connect.
Patients need an Amazon account to access the service, which found on the Amazon Clinic homepage.
Users select their condition from a list of 23, such as acne, migraines or sinusitis.
They will then choose their ‘preferred provider’ from a list of qualified healthcare providers and fill out a short questionnaire.
Customers can then message directly with a medic through a ‘secure messaged-based portal’ whenever is convenient for them.
After the clinician has assessed their condition, they will send over a ‘personalized treatment plan’, along with any necessary prescriptions to the patient’s pharmacy.
Amazon Clinic doesn’t yet directly accept insurance, with customers having to select a pharmacy to provide any prescribed treatment.
However, users may be able to use their insurance to pay for their prescription.
Amazon noted that virtual care ‘isn’t right for every problem’ and customers will be told ‘upfront’ if this is the case.
The website said: ‘Amazon Clinic is a convenient virtual care option that offers up-front pricing, and treatment within hours, instead of days — helping customers achieve better health.’
New York, Pennsylvania and Texas are among the states that the service will be available in.
But Amazon hopes to expand to additional locations ‘over the coming months’.
As well as providing treatment advice on conditions such as cold sores, eczema and genital herpes, Amazon Clinic will also renew prescriptions for asthma, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The tech giant already operates Amazon Pharmacy, which offers medication, free delivery and 24/7 on-call pharmacists.
It has also entered a deal to buy One Medical, which provides primary care in clinics and through an app.
Amazon announced in August that it was closing the doors on its previous health venture, Amazon Care, which aimed to connect patients with a clinician online ’24/7, 365 days a year’.
It also offered in-person services in certain cities.
Where will Amazon Clinic be rolled out?
District of Columbia