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janbb's avatar

What do you think about Amazon getting into the health field?

Asked by janbb (63038points) 1 month ago

I haven’t read any articles yet but I’ve seen ads on tv for getting your prescriptions filled by Amazon. Last week I saw one in which you can consult with a “heath care provider” through Amazon medical. This seems like a very Big Brothery development to me and a gross invasion of privacy.

Here’s a link to their offer:

Have you heard of this and what is your take on it?

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25 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Another step towards the megacorp-run dystopia hitherto only dreamt of in near and post apocalyptic fiction.

hat's avatar

Complete dystopian late capitalist fiction material. But any corporate, private power involvement in healthcare is immoral and completely unjustifiable. Everyone in the US should be humiliated and taking up arms to demand a healthcare system rather than the nightmare we have. The lack of a healthcare system is enough justification for a bloody revolution.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Didn’t they try something similar a couple years ago, which failed?

It might have been drugs (only) as opposed to full scale health care, so I could be wrong.

I think there are at least 3–4 bits of information to learn before it gets dismissed outright:

1) do they accept Medicare and other insurances? Or is this purely pay as you go. If they do Pay as you go, they have cut their potential customer based by 90%. If they accept insurances, how are they better than my current provider?

2) Does HIPAA keep my medical records out of Amazon’s hands? Or is Amazon getting their fingers in my medical records?

3) Who are their doctors? Are the normal practices with an affiliation to Amazon, or are they Amazom employees?

4) Quality of the doctors (related to above) are these bottom-of-the-barrel doctors who couldn’t get a job anywhere else? Or are the board certified people and experts?

5) What are their hospital affiliations? Can they refer me to local hospitals, or are there hangups there?

Lots of unanswered questions.

This may be legit, but maybe not. Need information.

flutherother's avatar

There are enough drug pushers in America as it is without Amazon getting involved.

gondwanalon's avatar

My healthcare professionals at Virginia Mason Franciscan Medical Center offers far more than Amazon healthcare. I have advice and expert care from two cardiologists, a family practice doctor and Urgent Care at my fingertips.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know anything about it, but it’s not necessarily a terrible idea for Express Scripts to have some competition and I assume it would compete with them.

I hope the DOJ does something to stop this path towards pushing consumers to use through the mail prescription filling. It’s annoying and squeezing out competition. In my opinion Express Scripts functions like a monopoly even though there are still other ways to fill prescriptions. Maybe it’s more like we have an oligopoly, but Express Scripts still has pressure on the chain drug stores.

I don’t quite understand why it’s Big Brothery more than it already is. The drug store chains have all of your info too.

I am strongly in favor of telemed so I guess that’s like Amazon care? Not exclusive care done online, but as an option when needed.

LuckyGuy's avatar

It worries me. Why? Because everything Amazon has done, they’ve done well.
And here’s my proof: Even though I detest Bezos, his hoarding wealth, killing competition, monolithic data collection, etc. I still use Amazon when I am looking to buy something. I feel dirty doing it but I still do. I hate myself a little bit for doing it. (I just used it to buy a pesticide I couldn’t get at Lowes or Home Depot.)
Also the service is so transparent. There is price info from different suppliers with promised delivery dates. Orders are tracked and updated every step of the way, some with overnight delivery, even 2 hour delivery, Customer reviews, even though many are fake, help with product decisions. I wished there were customer reviews and results summaries when I was looking for a surgeon to remove my rotten prostate.
I even enjoy going into one of the “treasure stores” that buy pallets of Amazon returns and sell the products for close to nothing. (If you are not familiar with the concept, All the stuff is tossed in bin. The price per item changes downward every day and works down. $7, $5, $3, $2, $1. After that the store is closed for one day, all bins are restocked with new pallet loads and the cycle repeats.)

I wonder how they’ll handle drug returns.
~Will they use the same Treasure stores? I’d go there for sure! Maybe I can find a returned prostate. :-)

SnipSnip's avatar

Just say no.

Forever_Free's avatar

Heard about this a year ago as this would be in competition with my current firm.
Customer Care and service is key in this field. The real money maker for this is in becoming a Pharmacy Benefits Manager.
While it looks like it makes sense with minimum cost for some unknown Dr on a tele-health session is not quality medical care. I doubt Health Insurance companies would consider this In-Network. The money side is in the medication that they will be driving. I am fearful of this motivation to prescribe drugs as their goal. They then will funnel you to get your prescribed medication through Amazon.
Great concept for their business model and leveraging their delivery capability.
I however believe it will be harmful for peoples health and creating issues in what the US has for amazing Healthcare as compared to the rest of the world.
Healthcare is such an important thing in having local personal care.

jca2's avatar

I think for those of us who live near and have access to great medical care, we may not use the services but for those who don’t live near or have access to great medical care (for example in very poor regions or in remote areas like parts of Alaska, Idaho, etc.), they may embrace it. I agree with someone above who stated that Amazon is very efficient at what it does. I also find Amazon customer service has always been accomodating when I have a problem, so I think they will tweak this service until they get it right.

Demosthenes's avatar

Personally I think GoFundMe and Kickstarter should get into the healthcare business. Crowdfunding is how Americans pay their medical bills these days. :)

Caravanfan's avatar

How much do they pay?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I would like to try after It comes to Canada.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Anyone with a lick of sense wants healthcare costs and red tape reduced. This will not help. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a capitalist at heart, but there are certain things that should be out of scope like infrastructure and health care. Amazon is approaching monopoly status and it’s time to bust them up.

Caravanfan's avatar

I looked into it. It’s not the medical apocalypse. It just gives you access to another clinic if you want it.

janbb's avatar

@Caravanfan I guess for me a lot of my reservations have to do with the idea of Amazon having even more encroachments into my privacy. Why are they doing this if not to have more access to info so that they can sell you more stuff?

I realize that I don’t have to participate and won’t but I do see it as a further step into corporate ownership of health care. That’s my opinion.

Caravanfan's avatar

@janbb Exactly so. You don’t need to participate. And they are not “owning” health care. They are providing access to urgent care and primary care clinics. I honestly don’t see it as a big deal.

janbb's avatar

^^ I guess we differ then because I see how they have vastly weakened retail in my and many other areas already and I fear that that could happen with personalized healthcare. But of course, I could be wrong. Time will tell and I’ll leave it there.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb So, do you worry Amazon in the market will diminish quality of care? I’m just asking based on your retail comparison. Previously, you stated concern for privacy.

janbb's avatar

I’m concerned about both.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb Generally, I err on the side of access to care and more reasonably priced competition, but I can understand your concern. Most efforts to maintain the status quo of traditional doctor visits and patients having to visit a doctor so the doctor has control and can bill bother me. In our system of course I want a doctor to be able to make money, but it’s abused. Finally, we can access our test results easily and even order some of our own tests, but those of us on prescription medication are held like hostages having to pay for medical visits. Once a year isn’t very unreasonable, but many doctors require more when really not necessary.

Mostly, I want video services to be available.

janbb's avatar

I want universal healthcare and this is not getting us closer.

Smashley's avatar

I’m not against the idea, but the practice will have to be closely monitored. Amazon is generally a do it first, pays the damages later, kind of company, which in health care, of course, means unnecessary injuries and death, however, people die from inefficiency too.

I find New York health care to be excellent. It is affordable or free, available, and comprehensive, even in rural areas, especially compared to where I used to live in Canada, so I’m not aching for a disruptor at this point, but I know there are 49 other health care systems out there that might. Competition is good, but so is regulation.

JLeslie's avatar

I want universal healthcare too. I want socialized care, I go further than universal. Right now we don’t have that.

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