Amazon Care Goes Nationwide; Alexa Supports Teladoc Virtual Check-Ups
Retail and cloud giant Amazon continues to make inroads into the health care space.
Last month, the company announced two key advances in its effort to expand its customer-facing health services: Amazon Care virtual appointments are now available everywhere in the United States, and Amazon Alexa-based devices now support virtual check-ups via a new partnership with Teladoc, a top provider of virtual health services.
Amazon Care Expansion
Amazon Care, launched in 2019, is an app-based service that lets users initiate virtual check-ups on-demand. The check-ups can be done via a video call, mobile chat (for non-immediate questions or follow-ups) or in-person by scheduling an at-home visit.
Until recently, Amazon Care services (both virtual and in-person) were available only in limited locations in the United States. In February, however, Amazon announced that the virtual services are now available for all U.S.-based patients. Additionally, at-home visits will expand from eight cities (Seattle, Wash.; Baltimore, Md.; Boston, Mass.; Dallas, Texas; Austin, Texas; Los Angeles, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; and Arlington, Va.) to 28 by the end of this year. The new cities will include high-population areas like San Francisco, New York City and Chicago.
"Patients are tired of a health care system that doesn't put them first," said Amazon Care director Kristen Helton in a prepared statement. "Our patient-centric service is changing that, one visit at a time. We've brought our on-demand urgent and primary care services to patients nationwide. As we grow the service, we'll continue to work with our customers to address their needs."
Teladoc Comes to Alexa
Late last month, Amazon announced a partnership with virtual health services provider Teladoc in which Amazon Alexa-based Echo devices would support Teladoc audio appointments.
The two companies touted the capability as a "voice-activated general medical virtual care" offering. Under the partnership, Echo owners can simply say, "Alexa, I want to talk to a doctor," and they'll be connected with a Teladoc service provider.
"Teladoc Health's collaboration with Amazon is yet another step in breaking down barriers to healthcare access," said Teladoc's chief product officer Donna Boyer in a prepared statement. "By introducing and integrating our virtual first care experience with Echo devices, we are providing an innovative and convenient way for users to connect with a doctor. We are meeting consumers where they are, to continue to deliver value and high-quality care to members."
Currently, support is only available for audio calls in the United States. Video support is coming, though a specific date was not provided. Support for additional regions was also not described.