Amazon is discontinuing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, signaling a significant retreat by the retail behemoth in its efforts to enter the health care space.
Amazon Health Services Director Neil Lindsay announced Wednesday that the service will be discontinued after December 31. Lindsay wrote in the memo that the company decided to discontinue Amazon Care because it was no longer “the right long-term solution for our enterprise customers.”
“This decision was not taken lightly and became clear only after many months of careful consideration,” Lindsay explained. “While our enrolled members have enjoyed many aspects of Amazon Care, it is not a comprehensive enough offering for the large enterprise customers we have been targeting, and it was not going to work in the long run.”
Despite the fact that the service is being phased out, Amazon gained a better understanding of “what’s required long-term to deliver meaningful health care solutions for enterprise and individual customers” through the launch of Amazon Care, according to Lindsay’s memo.
Amazon Care debuted in 2019 as a pilot program for employees near the company’s headquarters in Seattle. The service offers virtual urgent care visits, free telehealth consults, and in-home visits from nurses for testing and vaccinations for a fee.
The service had been in the works for several years. According to CNBC, Amazon held a secret meeting in Seattle in 2017 to learn more about patient care, which was attended by industry heavyweights. The company then hired a small group of doctors to launch a pilot clinic for some of its employees.
In February, Amazon Care’s virtual offerings were rolled out nationwide for its employees and other businesses, indicating that the company had higher hopes for the service.
It’s unclear how popular Amazon Care had become. Babak Parviz, a vice president working on Amazon Care, stated in June that Amazon had attracted a number of companies interested in using the service. Hilton, Silicon Labs, TrueBlue, and Amazon-owned upscale grocer Whole Foods are among its corporate clients.
Amazon is discontinuing the service despite CEO Andy Jassy’s pledge to make inroads into the health care industry. Amazon paid $3.9 billion for the boutique primary-care provider One Medical last month. It has also attempted to develop at-home medical diagnostics. Additionally, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that Amazon is bidding on home health services provider Signify Health.