Amazon Makes Another Big Bet on Primary Care with One Medical Buyout

Amazon Makes Another Big Bet on Primary Care with One Medical Buyout. A white building with a One Medical sign on it.

Amazon apparently is just getting started in disrupting primary care. With the recent news that it is acquiring One Medical’s parent company 1Life Healthcare Inc. and its direct-to-consumer primary care network for an estimated $3.9 billion including debt, Amazon will greatly expand its reach with consumers.

One Medical operates 188 concierge medical offices in 25 U.S. markets with more than 767,000 members. Customers pay a subscription fee for access to its physicians and 24/7 digital health services. One Medical also provides care to more than 8,000 companies’ employees. Once the One Medical deal closes, it will become the e-commerce behemoth’s third-largest acquisition behind its purchase of organic grocer Whole Foods and film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bloomberg reports.

Amazon rates health care high on the list of consumer experiences that need reinvention, noted Neil Lindsay, senior vice president of health care services, in announcing the acquisition. In short, the company believes there is a better way to improve the quality and experience of seeing a physician. Amazon wants to maximize a patient’s experience by:

  • Shortening the time it takes to book an appointment and be seen by a doctor.
  • Reducing or eliminating travel to a physician’s office.
  • Cutting in-office wait times to see a doctor.
  • Eliminating the often-rushed experience with caregivers and the need to travel to a pharmacy for prescribed medications.

Despite Amazon’s enthusiasm to bring about change in the primary care experience, some analysts see the One Medical buyout as less than a certain success. For starters, primary care remains one of the least profitable areas of health care. In addition, One Medical has focused on fee-for-service medical care and has not had much history with alternative payment models. The company, which went public in 2020, also reported a net loss of nearly $91 million on revenue of $254 million in the first quarter.

The next big question will be how Amazon plans to integrate One Medical with its other health care units.

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