If you looked at any sort of healthcare news last week it was pretty hard to miss what might end up being the biggest digital health story of the year: Amazon agreed to acquire primary care provider One Medical for $3.9B.
Should the acquisition close, it will be Amazon’s third largest of all time behind Whole Foods ($13.7B) and MGM Studios ($8.5B), and the first since the company appointed Andy Jassy as its chief executive.
One Medical is a membership-based primary care provider that offers virtual care as well as in-person visits. It operates 188 US locations across a dozen markets, boasts over 750k members, and works with more than 8k employers to offer its services as a benefit.
- The company ended Q1 2022 with a net revenue of $254.1M and a hefty loss of $90.9M due in part to its significant customer acquisition costs. Hypothetically, these expenses could be cut down by steering Amazon’s ~160M US Prime subscribers towards One Medical’s services.
- The acquisition also helps alleviate the scaling challenges of building a brick-and-mortar presence and staffing clinics in a tight labor market, while giving Amazon access to One Medical’s existing payor and health system relationships.
Amazon’s quickly growing list of healthcare moves ranges from launching Amazon Pharmacy on the back of its 2018 acquisition of PillPack to the nationwide rollout of its Amazon Care employer telehealth program earlier this year.
- Some of Amazon’s initiatives have seen more success than others, and its ill-fated Haven partnership with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathway came to a sooner-than-hoped-for ending last February.
- That said, Amazon has never had significant in-person resources to bolster its care delivery, and its One Medical acquisition is a strong acknowledgement that Amazon views the future of healthcare as hybrid.
Although we’ll have to wait and see where Amazon’s healthcare ambitions go from here, owning the primary care “front door” to the healthcare system gives Amazon a way to disrupt the industry using the same customer-first playbook that made it an e-commerce giant in the first place.
As for what comes next, analysts were quick to speculate on everything from Amazon health plans to specialty care, but the acquisition itself might also prompt other retailers like CVS and Walgreens to ramp up their own primary care services. Amazon’s laser-focus on the customer experience reshaped how long millions of consumers were willing to wait for packages and caused its competition to either catch up or get left behind, and picking up a primary care provider seems to suggest that healthcare might be in for a similar shakeup.