Amazon announced Wednesday it will shut down its medical venture Amazon Care at the end of the year, a surprising move less than a month after the tech giant’s blockbuster announcement that it plans to acquire One Medical.
In a memo to staff, Amazon Health Services leader Neil Lindsay said that the ambitious effort to stand up a nationwide primary care service to offer employers “was not a complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers we have been targeting, and wasn’t going to work long-term.” Though the shutdown will not impact Amazon’s many other health care projects, it represents an embarrassing failure for a company that has successfully transformed numerous industries, including retail and cloud computing, showing that for its lofty goals, the company is not immune to the challenges that have stalled the health care efforts of other tech giants.
Amazon Care began in 2019 as a gambit to provide care for Amazon employees alone, but the company later began offering the service to employers, and today provides virtual services in all 50 states. Its current client list includes Hilton, Whole Foods Market, and Peloton-acquired Precor. But it struggled to find broad appeal among employers, according to the email, which was sent to employees late Wednesday afternoon and first reported by Fierce Healthcare and Geekwire.
Amazon has spent the last year and a half issuing a steady stream of announcements about Care’s expansion, most recently adding behavioral health services through a partnership with Ginger just earlier this month. In February, the company announced it would be expanding its national footprint of brick-and-mortar clinics to 20 cities within the year, after STAT reported on paperwork filed by Amazon’s care practice, Care Medical, to do business across a growing number of states.
If Amazon’s proposed acquisition of One Medical for $3.9 billion goes through, it will have another significant entry point into primary care, alongside its existing partnership with Crossover Health, which it hired in 2020 to provide primary care services to its own employees.
It also appears to have plans for other meaningful expansion into health care: Amazon is reportedly among the bidders for Signify Health, a provider of in-home health assessments, placing itself among competitors including CVS and UnitedHealth Group. The deal could end up valuing Signify at more than $8 billion.