Amazon adds video consultations to its virtual clinic

Amazon is adding video visits to doctors in the US to a virtual clinic it launched last year.

24-hour shifts can be obtained through the Amazon website or app, the major retailer said Tuesday. There, they can compare prices and response times before choosing a remote healthcare provider among several options.

The clinic, which does not accept health insurance, began its services a year ago, focusing on text message consultations, which are still available in 34 states of the Union.

Amazon says the clinic offers treatment for about thirty common conditions.

Virtual health, or telemedicine, has seen a boom in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It remains a convenient tool for routine examinations or the treatment of relatively minor problems such as urinary tract infections or acute conjunctivitis.

Amazon says its virtual clinics will also treat erectile dysfunction.

The company’s chief medical officer, Dr. Nvorah Ayogu, said in a blog post that the clinic is committed to removing barriers to address “everyday health concerns.”

“As a doctor, I have seen first hand that patients want to be healthy, but they don’t have the time, tools or resources to effectively treat,” Ayogu wrote.

Amazon said messaging consultations cost an average of $35, while video-conferencing meetings cost $75.

It’s cheaper than in-person appointments, which often top $100 for patients without health insurance or high-deductible coverage.

While virtual appointments may provide greater access, some physicians fear that this will lead to fragmentation of care and make it difficult to track medical records. This can happen if the patient has a general practitioner who is unaware of a virtual appointment with another specialist.

In addition to virtual care, Amazon sells prescription drugs through its Amazon Pharmacy business and has expanded into patient care.

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