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Oct 01

Lucas123 writes: Like Apple and Intel, Amazon is piloting an in-house program for employees that in addition to healthcare insurance affords workers access to telemedicine and at-home visits from a contracted provider. While growing in popularity, in-house healthcare programs, which even include corporate clinics, are seen by some as an example of the growth in fragmented care or mimicking corporate care during the industrial era when factories had worksite clinics to get employees back to work faster. “[Corporate-based virtual healthcare programs, like Amazon’s] is yet one more example of fragmented care,” says Cynthia Burghard, a research director with IDC’s Health Insights. “Back in the day, manufacturers had worksite clinics to take care of workers injured on the job mostly so they could get back to work sooner. The difference with what Amazon is doing compared to what the [Deloitte] survey shows is that the Amazon offering is disconnected to other care providers rather than under the supervision of an employee’s providers.” [The Deloitte survey found that 66% of physicians said telemedicine improved patient care access and 52% said it boosted patient satisfaction.]

Vik Panda, lead of operations for French sleep company Dreem, had this to say: “The news is that Jeff Bezos’ company, and others like it, don’t need anyone’s permission to start building and paying for their own parallel healthcare systems, little by little. If Amazon replaces the existing health care system bit by bit, and employees of self-insured companies migrate to this new digital health system, do we all get to come along?” Amazon Care, Panda said, represents a wake-up call for providers, payers and employers because telehealth is not just about video chats with a doctor or wearable fitness trackers. “…It’s a new operating system for health, and big technology companies are not going to wait for everyone else to figure it out.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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