Attention Amazon users, at the end of this year, the North American company will shut down a virtual service that it had developed in 2019. The decision is surprising because in February of this year, it confirmed that it would expand the said service.
They’re referring to the hybrid virtual home care service it’s been developing for years, a surprising move that underscores the challenges it faces as it transitions into the healthcare field.
The service, called Amazon Care, will end on December 31, according to an email from Neil Lindsay, senior vice president of Amazon Health Services.
Amazon Care was launched in 2019 for Amazon State employees of Washington state in Seattle, who served as test users before the company made it available last year to all of its workers in all 50 states.
The service connects nearly patients with doctors and nurses who can provide treatment 24 hours a day. It does not have physical locations, but it does provide in-person services for flu vaccinations and testing in many cities, including Seattle and Washington, DC.
Amazon’s decision to pull the Amazon Care plug is even more surprising given that the company said in February of this year that it plans to expand Personal Care to an additional 20 cities. Last summer, Amazon also began offering the service to private employers across the country.
AMAZON, closing this service in the US
In the email sent to employees, Lindsay wrote that Amazon listened to employer feedback and worked to improve Amazon Care.
“However, despite these efforts, we have determined that Amazon Care is not an appropriate long-term solution for our enterprise customers,” Lindsay wrote.
He added that AmazonCare “is not a comprehensive enough offering for the large enterprise customers we were targeting, and it won’t work in the long run.” An Amazon spokesperson declined to say how many people will lose their jobs due to the Amazon Care shutdown.
AmazonCare isn’t the company’s first failed healthcare effort. The tech and retail giant was also part of a short-term collaboration with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway to improve healthcare costs. The three giants formed a separate company called Haven to focus on improving care and expense management, but it was dissolved last year.
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