A new report says the proposed Amazon-One Medical deal will reshape the healthcare delivery landscape, and traditional providers will need to make changes to keep up.
A new report from Forrester Research says the Amazon-One Medical partnership could strongly impact the healthcare delivery landscape in the near future, and offer a few tips for healthcare organizations interested in keeping up.
The report says the almost $4 billion proposed purchase of primary care company One Medical by retail giant Amazon, currently being reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission, marks an important stage in the integration of fee-for-service and consumer-facing healthcare. And it places Amazon at the front of a wave of retail-based healthcare services announced or planned by Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Google, and others.
"The rise of consumerism driven by the pandemic spurred soaring demand for personalization and digital disruption in healthcare," it notes. "Today’s traditional healthcare systems struggle with poor patient experiences, long wait times, lack of transparency, and legacy technology."
Healthcare organizations are paying close attention to the Amazon-One Medical deal, as well as others in this vein, as the marketplace heats up for on-demand primary care services, which can also serve as a platform to other services such as specialty care and chronic care management. Because traditional health systems have struggled to keep up with a tech-savvy consumer population that looks for ease of use and convenience, those consumers are looking to other providers for their healthcare needs. This includes not only retail care centers but self-insured business and health plans.
Aside from not addressing the consumer's wants and needs, much of the healthcare industry still focuses on reactive, episodic services at a time when many consumers—and a good deal of healthcare innovation—is turned toward preventive or proactive care. Forward thinking providers now talk about the patient's entire healthcare journey, which not only includes treating current health issues but collaborating to improve health and wellness and reduce the chance of more serious health issues later on in life.
In addition, the pandemic has shone a spotlight on the challenges of healthcare access for underserved populations, a problem that traditional healthcare organizations have struggled to address. New care pathways and programs are focused on integrating health equity, giving underserved populations more opportunities to access services.
According to the Forrester report, the Amazon-One Medical partnership could address many of the deficiencies in the current healthcare landscape. With a consumer-centric strategy, the platform could make use of an evolving pipeline of new technologies, including pre-built collaborative filtering engine (CFE) algorithms and cloud technologies. Amazon also features an evolving ecosystem of new products and services and a solid platform to introduce third-party products and services.
"Healthcare is moving toward orchestrating long-term loyalty and longitudinal relationships," the report points out. "The more information providers can gather about a specific patient, the easier it is to deliver seamless, proactive care. This is where Amazon and One Medical have not only unlimited opportunity but also a critical responsibility. One Medical’s 767,000 members’ patient data combined with Amazon’s own robust consumer profiles and various healthcare and retail experiences put Amazon in the driver’s seat to transform the patient experience."
To compete in this new landscape, the Forrester report offers three recommendation for traditional providers:
- Highlight and adhere to transparency. Healthcare organizations have to invest in technology resources or partner with technology vendors to comply with new price and data transparency requirements—something that only about 6% of hospitals now do.
- Make interoperability "the cornerstone of the patient experience." Healthcare organizations need to either pare down the various platforms and products that keep patient data in silos and lead to incomplete medical records and subpar care. "Healthcare data interoperability is the key to creating holistic records, but it is still not commonplace for healthcare organizations," the report says. "To overcome this hurdle, technology executives must leverage vendors and partners with deep expertise in HL7 FHIR and ensure that new technology investments comply with the latest regulations promulgated by the CMS and ONC Cures Act final rules."
- Empower patient accountability through education and communication. Many patients are still confused about their healthcare journey, and they aren't taking advantage of new digital health and virtual care tools and services designed to make that journey easier. Providers need to pay more attention to talking with patients, educating them about to use these new tools and giving them the resources they need to improve the journey.
Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, Telehealth, Supply Chain and Pharma for HealthLeaders.
Retail giant Amazon has proposed to purchase primary care provider One Medical for almost $4 billion, the latest and largest move in the competitive primary care landscape.
If approved, the partnership would upend healthcare delivery with consumer-focused, tech-savvy practices that haven't been widely adopted in this space.
Traditional healthycare providers will need to adjust their strategies and integrate innovative ideas, Forrester says, to keep their patients and stay afloat.