A History Of Amazon’s Healthcare Pursuits

With the announcement that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is introducing an accelerator for healthcare startups, this is the optimal time to review how the company worked its way into the medical management space. Amazon originated as a web-based media retailer in Seattle in 1994, and founder Jeff Bezos launched the company in Europe with the addition of games and software as products in the late 90s. In 2006 AWS implemented an all-encompassing cloud computing platform was unheard-of at the time.

Jumping forward 12 years, Amazon conceived of a secret health technology-based development lab called 1492, and launched Amazon Comprehend Medical, a machine learning, cloud-centric health data extraction service. With the help of JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway, the non-profit healthcare organization Haven came into being but would later be shuttered by 2020. Circa 2019, Amazon acquired digital pharmacy PillPack and API developer Health Navigator.

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In 2020, Amazon Care formed to cover Amazon employees, and the first of twenty planned health centers broke ground in Dallas. Around the same time, Amazon launched Amazon Halo, a machine learning-based home diagnostics device to be worn on the wrist.

For the current year, Amazon Care has expanded its services to Washington state and has designs on a 50-state full rollout throughout the year. November will see the introduction of Amazon Pharmacy in the U.S. The service facilitates pharmacy transactions through its website and allows limitless free deliveries for Prime membership customers. Finally, 2021 featured AWS Healthcare Accelerator being put into motion. This four-week program hones solutions for analytics, patient engagement, virtual care, and more.