Dec. 4, 2019
Amazon has launched its Amazon Care app into major app stores as part of its strategy to help its Seattle-area employees get more convenient and affordable healthcare, according to reporting by Christina Farr on CNBC.
Amazon Care, which CNBC uncovered this fall, has been in the works for a few years. A web site — Amazon.care — is live, and the company recently released apps that offer health advice, virtual medical visits and in-person support via a health professional who shows up at an employee’s home or office, writes Farr.
An Amazon “insider” walked Farr and her colleagues through what it’s like to use the new app.
To get started with Amazon Care, users need a Amazon corporate alias and must be based in the Seattle area. The program is not currently available to employees working in Amazon’s fulfillment centers, but may expand over time.
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Employees download the Care app and sign up with their Amazon login credentials. They’re then asked to agree to allow Amazon’s health and welfare plan “for the use and disclosure of protected health information.” That might include their employee e-mail, name, date of birth, and other similar information.
Amazon then indicates that it contracts with a third-party medical group called Oasis Medical, which is a separate legal entity from the parent company. “Neither the plan nor Oasis will receive financial or in-kind compensation or remuneration in exchange for using or disclosing the PHI (personal health information) as described above,” a disclosure form notes.
This is meant to reassure Amazon employees that their health information won’t be sold.
Amazon then guides the user to indicate whether they are the primary insurance holder or a dependent with an invitation code, and informs them that anyone over the age of 18 must have an Amazon account, indicating that Amazon Care may be linked to Amazon’s other services.
Next up, the app lets them know about all the ways they can use Amazon Care instead of an in-person clinic. Similarly to the web site, Amazon Care bills its service as “healthcare built around you,” with “no more waiting rooms.” It is also marketed as a “first stop for healthcare” for employees, who can use it for services ranging from minor colds to sexual health services, like contraception.
According to screenshots shared with CNBC, Amazon employees trying the service out get a welcome kit including a mobile phone holder and digital thermometer.
From there, they’re asked whether they would prefer a free chat with a nurse via messenger (“CareChat”) or a video chat (“VideoCare”) with a medical provider. An employee might share that they’re feeling unwell, and a provider would follow up within minutes to ask a set of questions and figure out whether the patient needs to be seen in person.
If so, a practitioner will be dispatched, and a map in the app shows their location and estimated arrival time.
Amazon employees can also set up a profile with their payment methods, care history and their dependents. Their care summary will include a potential diagnosis, with notes from the doctor and the treatment plan.