For more than a decade, One Medical has served as my primary healthcare provider. Two of my favourite features are the clinic’s proximity to the Bay Area and the ability to schedule a physical examination or a referral to a specialist on the same day.
One Medical knows a lot about me. Aside from monitoring blood pressure and resting heart rate, I use the app to check lab results and renew prescriptions as needed. As a member, it runs me $199 a year.
However, I hadn’t considered the possibility that Amazon might acquire One Medical in the future.
In the near future, the same company that sends me dozens of packages weekly, recommends books and movies on my Kindle and smart TV, gives my kids the weather forecast when they ask Alexa, and gives me Prime discounts at Whole Foods will provide me with medical services and take control of the portals that contain my most private and sensitive data.
There are a lot of people who woke up on Thursday morning with this deeply troubling thought after hearing that Amazon had agreed to buy One Medical for $3.9 billion. A day earlier, CNBC reported that Amazon was paying a 77% premium to where the primary care company was valued at $18 per share.
It was after a generally positive experience with One Medical that I decided to cancel my membership today “a member took to Twitter to express their thoughts. When it comes to my medical information, I believe Amazon has my best interests at heart.
There Is A Strong Link Between Legal Frameworks And Customer Confidence
Based in San Francisco, One Medical has clinical services available in 16 U.S. markets, according to its website, which states that it was founded in 2007. Last year, the company’s database contained 736,000 members.
My fears were not allayed by Amazon’s acquisition announcement. Customers of One Medical were not comforted by the lack of a conference call to discuss the acquisition. Before the deal can be closed, it must be approved by the appropriate authorities.
The minimum level of assurance required by HIPAA regulations, which govern how the company can use protected health information (PHI), has been met according to Amazon’s response to an inquiry for this story. Here, you’ll find your medical history, test results, and other information that can be used to identify you.
One Medical customers’ personal health information, as mandated by law. Will never be shared outside of One Medical for marketing purposes of other Amazon products or services without the customer’s express permission. “In an email, a spokesperson for Amazon state this. HIPAA Protected Health Information (PHI) of One Medical customers will be handle. Separately from other Amazon businesses if the deal goes through.
One Medical is suppos to have a secure silo in which to store all of the information it has about me. My health data will not be combin with Amazon’s profile of my family and me, including our shopping habits, travel preferences. And the shows we watch together on the weekends.
To achieve its stated goal of “dramatically improving the healthcare experience over the next several years”. Amazon Health Services head Neil Lindsay says that the company must work hard to persuade the public. And likely politicians alike that its intentions are pure.
In the past year, Amazon’s advertising business generated over $31 billion in revenue and increased by 58%, according to Forbes. As the cost to compete for consumers’ attention rises, companies are spending more money to advertise their products on Amazon’s properties.
With a 13 percent share of the US online advertising market. Amazon is only behind Google and Facebook, according to Insider Intelligence.
“I don’t think there is anything Amazon could do to make people trust the company with their healthcare information”. Said Caitlin Seeley George, the campaign director of the advocacy group Fight for the Future.
Email from Seeley George after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade stated that the issue of health privacy is of particular importance. A recent change in the law has made some reproductive health decisions potentially illegal.
Demand for emergency contraceptive pills soared following the Supreme Court’s decision, and as a result. Amazon has already restricted the number of pills it sells. Abortion clinic visitors’ location history will also be delete as quickly as possible by Google.
Reproductive healthcare decisions can be criminalis in the post-Roe era. And “pushing forward into healthcare raises some serious red flags,” Seeley George said.
Huffington Post writer Seeley George wonders if an app for fertility or mental health could be develope by Amazon. Which could then be use to “create assumptions about an individual that could be utilise against them.”
Things like activity levels and sleep patterns can already be track using Amazon’s Halo wearable device.
Not Their First Time At A Rodeo
In the world of technology, cynics are likely to be mock. The current state of health care is dismal. Billing is notoriously difficult, and medical care is exorbitantly expensive because of the outdated and non-communicative systems.”
By 2020, Amazon’s staff will have grown from 1.3 million to over 1.6 million. And the company has been looking for ways to improve health care for its employees. To address the system’s shortcomings and inefficiencies, Amazon has stepped in.
After purchasing online pharmacy PillPack for $750 million in 2018. Amazon launched its own pharmacy service, Amazon Pharmacy, in March 2019. As a pilot program for some of its employees in 2019. Amazon Care made significant investments in the telehealth service, which is now available to other employers.
According to Lux Capital partner and health-tech investor Deena Shakir, “This is not Amazon’s first rodeo in healthcare.”
Shakir wrote in an email that Amazon was “aware of how to handle HIPAA. Considerations and has experience across multiple products” with this. In her blog post, she wrote that a deal like this “should encourage additional collaboration. Between larger companies and major health tech players.”
An investment in the Carbon Health company, which provides primary. And urgent care in 16 states, is one of Shakir’s many holdings. One Medical target a more affluent demographic with its 1.1 million patients. But this company caters to less well-off one.
A Carbon Health CEO tells me that Amazon’s use of the information is severely restricte. When compare to other major tech companies like Facebook and Google. He believes Amazon has a respectable level of consumer trust.
On the other hand, Bali can appreciate the anxiety. Additional personal data, such as Social Security numbers. Driver’s licence numbers and insurance card information are store by medical care providers in their systems. Doctors and nurses are much more likely to receive personal information from patients than other service providers.
Even though strict regulations govern how this data can be use. Customers may reasonably wonder what would happen if a company like Amazon broke the rules.
A major flaw is that there aren’t strong technical methods for enforcing data access “In an interview, Bali said. When asked if patients should be concerned, he responded, “It’s a personal decision.”
In general, the people of Bali are optimistic about Amazon’s entry into the retail market. When Amazon announces its arrival in an establish market, existing players are force into action, Bali said.
He claimed that Amazon had recently purchased the company PillPack. There is no doubt that Walgreens. And Walmart were motivate to improve their digital offerings by entering the pharmacy market, even though Amazon has struggled. One Medical’s merger could lead to better primary care products and services in the future.
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