Amazon Will Deliver Healthcare To Your Doorstep
Today’s acquisition of PillPack further solidifies Amazon’s entrance to healthcare and amplifies its focus on rising healthcare costs and the need to deliver a better healthcare experience for consumers.
Amazon already has many ways of interacting with consumers and a high level of stickiness among its customers. PillPack has tackled medication nonadherence, a key pain point in healthcare that drives cost, unnecessary hospitalizations, and even death. In the US, as many as 20% to 30% of medications are never filled, and for chronic care patients, as many as 50% do not take their medications as prescribed.[i]
What It Means
Amazon and PillPack will eliminate the need to stand in line at the pharmacy. This helps many patients overcome past barriers, such as issues with mobility or lack of transportation.
Voice is the next frontier for healthcare. Looking beyond engagement via the website and mobile, we’ve already seen the use of Alexa and other voice-enabled devices to engage with patients at home. While apps and tailored wake words are not yet HIPAA compliant, many studies have used these as ways to start protecting patient privacy.
From medication reminders to gathering data on a patient’s health, there are several options here:
- Convenient refill process. Through PillPack, Amazon would know if the patient did not refill their prescription. Alexa could reach out to the patient to confirm and order a refill, and Amazon would then deliver to the customer’s doorstep.
- Improved medication adherence. Alexa sends a reminder to the patient to take their medication. Alexa therefore knows when it’s time for a refill and automatically submits the order.
- Detected potential side effects. A patient shares information back with Alexa about how they are feeling. Alexa could share that information with an approved provider via the cloud. This could help providers detect potential side effects and enable the provider to intervene and update the patient’s prescription.
- Support for a holistic virtual care experience. We continue to see virtual care gain traction in the market. With this acquisition, you can see your provider over video chat and then receive your prescription, cough drops, and tissues hours later — no need to leave the comfort of your own couch.
Innovate now, or become irrelevant. This acquisition will disrupt the way consumers obtain their medications and has serious implications for brick-and-mortar retail pharmacies.
[i] Source: Jane E. Brody, “The Cost of Not Taking Your Medicine,” The New York Times, April 17, 2017 (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/17/well/the-cost-of-not-taking-your-medicine.html)