Amazon to Acquire One Medical for $3.8 Billion
By Jared Dashevsky, MD
Amazon will acquire hybrid primary care company One Medical for $3.9B. This is one of Amazon’s largest acquisitions to date, furthering their healthcare footprint.
One Medical is a membership-based primary care platform transforming the consumer experience by putting health tech at the forefront of care. They’re essentially modernizing the healthcare experience. Their state-of-the-art facilities and patient-centered care models are attractive to consumers and employers alike. They have around 715,000 members and partner with Google and health networks. Back in 2021, One Medical acquired Medicare primary care company Iora Health, giving them access to an entirely new population of consumers.
Such a modern, tech-focused, fast-growing company in an ever-so antique, slow-moving healthcare system is what makes One Medical so attractive to Amazon. Amazon isn’t new to healthcare, though. The company has slowly been chipping away at different healthcare verticals over the years.
One Medical’s acquisition adds to Amazon’s basket of healthcare services and products, expanding its patient care abilities.
Amazon is creating a fully integrated healthcare platform. Their healthcare products and services include fitness wearables, caregiver services, pharmacy, patient care and groceries. Now, they’re deepening their patient care vertical. Amazon has the potential to transform the consumer—the patient—experience by streamlining its logistics, consumer data, technology and omnipresent footprint.
Think about it. You visit a One Medical physician. There, they aggregate health data from your Halo watch and plug the numbers into a model, which outputs the risk of heart disease or stroke. The doctor prescribes you a statin and tells you to eat more fruits and vegetables. Amazon Pharmacy will quickly ship your meds directly to your home and Amazon-owned Whole Foods will drop off fresh groceries. Weeks later, you run out of meds and tell Alexa to refill them, who then relays the message to your physician. Your physician at One Medical signs a new prescription, and the process repeats.
This is what the future of care should be: the patient is part of an integrated and frictionless process that minimizes gaps in the care journey.
While I admire the transformation of the patient care journey, I fear that Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical will exacerbate health inequities. One Medical provides this “modern” type of care for employees with health insurance and Medicare beneficiaries. The Medicaid population is left out—the ones who can benefit the most from modern health tech and frictionless processes. While One Medical’s consumer base is a minute fraction of the U.S. population, such inequities may appear as the company scales. However, One Medical’s model isn’t for everyone and that’s OK. There’s more than one way to deliver high-quality care to different types of populations.
Also, that Amazon is a trillion-dollar, profit-generating company stepping into patient care, with troves of patient data, concerns me. How will One Medical now balance scaling their consumer base vs. deepening patient-doctor relationships, one of the fundamentals of primary care? I’m unsure what One Medical’s physician turnover looks like, but preventing such turnover must be a significant part of One Medical’s objectives to establish patient-physician relationships.
What’s Next for Amazon?
Amazon could build an insurance company or health system. At that point, we’d truly be living in Amazon’s world.
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