Backed by Alphabet’s GV unit (formerly Google Ventures), One Medical’s pitch includes an app, 24/7 access to on-demand telehealth services over video, and guaranteed same- or next-day appointments available through more than 125 offices. Slick YouTube videos promise “reimagined” doctors’ offices with more comfortable furniture.
The summary for this video reads: “We can’t make a trip to the doctor’s office feel like vacation, but we can make the waiting room feel more like a hotel lobby. Our design team is great at sourcing furniture and textiles that don’t look or feel clinical but still function in a clinical setting — think bleach-cleanable fabrics with soft textures, calming hues or interesting patterns.”
The sheen is less evident in some of the reports that have popped up about One Medical since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. NPR reported that in early 2021 it let ineligible people skip the line to receive the vaccine, and some patients told The Verge they were charged for vaccine shots that should’ve been free.
This latest acquisition gives Amazon yet another way into the healthcare market, which has been a focus of the company in recent years. “We think health care is high on the list of experiences that need reinvention,” senior vice president of Amazon Health Services Neil Lindsay said in a statement. “Booking an appointment, waiting weeks or even months to be seen, taking time off work, driving to a clinic, finding a parking spot, waiting in the waiting room then the exam room for what is too often a rushed few minutes with a doctor, then making another trip to a pharmacy – we see lots of opportunity to both improve the quality of the experience and give people back valuable time in their days.”
Amazon has already set up an infrastructure to take on existing giants in the healthcare market, launching Amazon Pharmacy in 2020 and recently expanding its Amazon Care telehealth program nationwide. Acquiring One Medical gives them an opening to squeeze into the primary care space as well.
One Medical CEO Amir Dan Rubin will stay on as its CEO after the deal closes and said in the deal announcement, “There is an immense opportunity to make the health care experience more accessible, affordable, and even enjoyable for patients, providers, and payers. We look forward to innovating and expanding access to quality healthcare services, together.”