Over the last decade, Amazon has time and again proven that it can and will disrupt every industry it steps foot into. While the company takes its time to enter the industry, its vision is always very ambitious.
And it now looks like the healthcare industry is about to disrupt.
The company has now made a few early strides in the $3.5 trillion sectors. Here are some of the highlights:
- The tech giant partnered with Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan for an employer health initiative.
- It acquired internet pharmacy start-up PillPack last summer.
- It looked at medical diagnostics, specifically at-home testing.
- It filed a patent for its Alexa voice assistant to pick up on a cold or a cough.
- It introduced more health care related products in its online marketplace.
- It announced a product to mine patient medical records.
- It launched its own employee health clinic.
A CNBC report illustrated the following infographic to illustrate how they could possibly make a breakthrough in the industry:
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon starts out in health by providing things like over-the-counter medicines, and then moves into making the experience easier for managing your health,” said Tom Robinson, a San Francisco-based partner at Oliver Wyman, who consults with health and life sciences companies.
Robinson said that it’s possible for Amazon’s Alexa to become a “front door” of sorts for health care. If it can provide virtual care, including diagnostic testing and pharmacy, it could become a “closed loop” system. “It wouldn’t be able to deal with all problems,” Robinson points out, “as some can only be managed in person. But it could do a lot for basic ailments, preventative care and potentially even to help people with chronic medical conditions.”
While Amazon hasn’t laid out any plan or strategy or made any clear steps in that direction, analysts predict that the company could offer a list of super cheap generic medications.