Virtual doctor visits have increased during the pandemic as access to healthcare facilities became more limited, and many in-person services were forced to close.
Now, although things are starting to get back to normal, this trend is predicted to continue and Amazon is one company rolling out more telehealth services in the coming years.
After a gradual launch process that has taken place over nearly two years, the digital giant is now expanding its digital health service, Amazon Care.
This process started in 2019 as the service was introduced as a pilot program for employees in the company’s headquarters in Seattle. Since then, it has been rolled out to its own employees nationwide, as well as employees of other companies in Washington state.
What is Amazon Care?
Amazon Care works alongside clinicians at Care Medical to provide eligible employees and their families with primary care, urgent care, and preventative care.
The program offers virtual visits with healthcare professionals and telehealth consultants. It also offers in-home visits for a fee. The in-person service also provides things like measuring vital signs, giving injections, and doing blood work
According to Medicare, home health care is “usually less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as care you get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.”
Will the trend continue?
Telehealth has been growing in the last few years in a number of areas, including addiction treatment, mental health, and other areas of healthcare.
During the pandemic, telehealth services became 38 times more popular, with usage surging from April 2020 onwards.
This is due to the necessity in many cases, but also because of increased willingness from providers to use telehealth and regulatory changes that enable greater access.
Amazon plans to extend its service to more US cities and has announced that it plans to move into 20 major cities, including Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, and New York City.