This morning, following a leaked video last week, Amazon officially announced plans to capture healthcare consumers through development of an asynchronous telehealth offering, ‘Amazon Clinic.’ The platform, which is described as “a message-based virtual care service that connects customers with affordable virtual care options” will offer care for roughly 20 common health conditions including allergies, acne, and hair loss.
According to Advisory Board—who reported on a video that was published and quickly deleted on the company’s Youtube account, prior to the formal announcement—detailed plans for “telehealth services” that are “offered by third-party healthcare provider groups.” With this new offering, patients will be asked to fill out an online questionnaire about their symptoms, and a clinician will then review, provide a diagnosis, and prescribe necessary medications.
“Amazon’s decision to expand into asynchronous telehealth is just another monumental example of the effectiveness of this type of technology in today’s consumer-led landscape,” said Steve Giannini, CEO at Bright.md. “Consumers crave on-demand, simple, and effective means of getting their needs met—which Amazon certainly knows how to do, and do it well. However, this poses yet another threat to health systems that are grappling with reduced revenue, workforce shortages, and customer retention. It really hasn’t been more clear—for health systems to compete against these big players, they need to accelerate adoption of asynchronous telehealth to fuel a hybrid care model, not only to help address today’s challenges but also as a vital investment for the future.”
There’s no more denying the value of asynchronous care
For us at Bright.md, there’s little surprise in Amazon employing asynchronous telehealth as its next move to engage healthcare consumers; our solution has already proven the value of asynchronous care for patients and providers. As we eye a virtual-first future for care delivery, asynchronous telehealth has a critical role to play in addressing healthcare’s top challenges, like workforce shortages, care access, patient attraction and retention, clinician burnout, and more.
Amazon’s recent acquisition of One Medical, for instance, along with its shift away from Amazon Care, confirms its development of “telehealth 2.0”—where asynchronous care both solves capacity challenges and integrates into existing workflows, instead of a synchronous approach alone. In fact, that’s one of the biggest lessons the healthcare industry has learned over the last few years. Although the pandemic accelerated critical investments in digital health tools, virtual care solutions need to do more than just replicate the in-person care experience—they need to substantially transform care delivery by solving healthcare’s largest root problems.
“Looking ahead, we would expect other health care and technology giants to respond with their own partnerships or acquisitions in this asynchronous space,” wrote Ty Aderhold and John League of Advisory Board. “Digital health offers organizations a chance to compete at the entry points of health care in new and different ways. Hybrid primary care models, asynchronous telehealth for urgent care, and even virtual-first plans are allowing organizations a chance to reach consumers they would not traditionally reach at an earlier point in their care journey.”
What health system executives should consider about Amazon’s new plans
As for health system executives, what is there to glean from the latest news about Amazon? At Bright.md, we know this is an indication of where Amazon and other large, direct-to-consumer entrants are heading, which should accelerate health systems’ plans for the same: virtual-first care delivery that subsequently lowers costs, reduces fragmentation, and improves overall outcomes.
Over the last eight years, Bright.md has cemented its position as the leader in asynchronous telehealth by delivering these results and more at scale. Bright.md’s solution is built on continuous learning, development, and improvement using feedback from hundreds of thousands of patients who’ve been treated asynchronously with our product, along with ongoing partnership with clinical leaders and digital health experts at leading health systems. In turn, this feedback shapes how we ask patients questions and how data is shared with providers, enabling them to treat patients as efficiently as possible.
Unlike other virtual care platforms, Bright.md includes proprietary clinical content for all conditions we help treat, which make up more than 50 percent of all primary and urgent care visits. With our platform, a patient doesn’t get just a “stock” interview; instead, our interview flow mimics the history-taking conversation that usually happens in a face-to-face interaction between a patient and provider. Every patient path is unique and dynamic, based on how they answer questions.
And because we’ve been building and refining our clinical content for more than eight years—which is constantly improving and growing as we work with our Clinical Advisory Board—we’ve built a clinical content engine that can’t be replicated.
How asynchronous telehealth delivers value in today’s climate
A solution like Bright.md also helps today’s health systems stay competitive against other direct-to-consumer offerings. As consumer preferences continue to shift towards more on-demand, personalized care options, health systems need to both keep and attract low-acuity patients to stay competitive and to capture downstream revenue.
Asynchronous telehealth has been proven to drive patient volumes and provide value for organizations by making it easy for low-acuity patients to find, access, and receive virtual care. In fact, 23 percent of Bright.md patient users said they would have found care outside of their health system if they didn’t have access to our solution—proving how a platform like Bright.md helps deter patient losses to other care venues and capture downstream revenue.
As Amazon and others continue to redefine telehealth in today’s consumer-led landscape, health systems and other healthcare delivery organizations can’t afford to stand still. It’s never been more clear: asynchronous telehealth will power the future of healthcare delivery while addressing top concerns like staffing, access, patient retention, and workflow efficiency.
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