Amazon has officially completed its long-awaited $3.9 billion acquisition of primary care provider One Medical. Companies like Amazon, Walmart, and CVS have slowly entered the healthcare market over the years, but this latest big deal could be a game-changer. Amazon now has the final piece of the puzzle it needs to build a solid foundation to deliver fully integrated primary care. It is the presence of physical stores nationwide. Not only has this latest incursion by the retail industry disruptor continued to fail massively at every level, it has also historically been reluctant to move to new delivery models defined by better patient outcomes. Bad news continues for the US healthcare delivery system. at low cost.
Together, Amazon and One Medical hope to bring a more patient-centered approach to people in the comfort of their own homes. Starting at less than $200 a year, patients can enjoy video chat and in-app messaging, same-day and next-day in-office and remote medical appointments, walk-in testing services, expedited prescription requests, and renewals. Consumers will also have access to One Medical’s network of more than 180 offices nationwide, giving them more options for localized retail care. Adding retail to its portfolio will allow the company to fully integrate his three pillars of pharmacy, telemedicine and now primary care into a comprehensive and engaging model.
“Customers want and deserve better,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said of the deal, adding, “Together, we’re making healthcare experiences easier and faster.” We believe we can make , more personalized and more convenient,” he added.
I’ve been writing about disruptors like Amazon for years. As we explained last July when the acquisition of Amazon-One Medical was announced, it was the first time a very powerful private company has gained a significant footprint with considerable influence in the United States. A major healthcare market. The move was not only predictable, it was revolutionary and came at a time of great need.
For decades, the fee-for-service (FFS) model, which puts the interests of healthcare providers ahead of patient outcomes, has had disastrous results. “Doing more tests, treating more, getting more medical services” certainly pays off in beautiful new hospital facilities and generous CEO salaries, but more care. , at the expense of patients navigating the maze that defines the current system. whether it is necessary And as Covid tragically revealed, people with serious underlying medical conditions have fallen helplessly through the cracks in the system. Millions of people tragically paid the final price. Additionally, closing hospital doors to profitable elective surgeries has bled many systems financially as a result of the pandemic.
Healthcare delivery will pay a heavy price for these self-inflicted mistakes for years to come. It will also continue to struggle to meet serious operational challenges, including the impact of rising staff wages and benefits, staff burnout and a massive exodus of healthcare workers from the profession. . As primary care physicians (PCPs) are increasingly marginalized, there are even more troubling signs.
One of the main reasons for the decline in primary care is declining reimbursement pressure. This prevents the PCP from doing its job properly. This includes taking the time to understand each patient’s needs and giving them the right treatment at the right time. the way. And, as I explained in my last column, this will not only discourage these medical “gatekeepers” from their once noble professions, but it will also discourage future physicians from entering the primary care field. Become.
Retailers like Amazon are responding to the dysfunction by ramping up the volume of competition even more. And CVS Health, which is looking to expand its primary care footprint, has announced plans to acquire Oak Street Health. Walmart, which currently operates 32 medical centers that offer both primary and emergency care at affordable prices, plans to nearly double that number by 2024. Homes equipped with wearable devices that allow care teams to remotely monitor patient vital signs. Their goal is to ensure seamless coordination of care. This is something that is sorely lacking in today’s fragmented system, said Dr. Rasu Shrestha of his Advocate Health, Atrium’s parent company.
Where all this chaos will ultimately lead us remains to be seen, but one thing is certain. The winds of change that began long ago continue today. According to one survey, more than 60% of Americans “imagined that most primary care services would be provided in pharmacies, retail clinics, and/or pharmacy clinics instead of going to a primary care provider (PCP).” I understand. Case. The survey also found that “at least half of Americans see potential health care savings as an incentive to think beyond just physician-certified health care providers.” And all of this makes many in the industry uneasy. According to a survey of health tech experts, more than half of respondents said Amazon will be “the biggest threat to health systems’ core business” by the end of this year.
In healthcare, like any other industry in transition, you are either a disruptor or you are being disrupted. And in the latter case, companies with the foresight and discipline will pivot to ensure they are an integral part of the new tomorrow. and are actively fighting change at almost every turn.
In 2007, a group of American Medical Association (AMA) doctors went so far as to call on the group to ban retail clinics, with one doctor saying, “There is no more pressing issue for the AMA.” said.He said that if the association did not take action, “within five years the president [at the AMA] The conference will be attended by a number of representatives from Walgreens, Walmart and other retailers. They later withdrew their positions and called for a federal investigation instead. The same group that fought the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) attempts to reform for The resistance is amazing given our circumstances today.
Change is difficult. In healthcare delivery, the reason is simple. It’s hard to let go of an FFS system that pays your bills, even if it doesn’t work. To underscore this point, our latest Population Health Survey report found that an overwhelming majority (81%) of healthcare executives believe population health is either “extremely important” or “extremely important” to their organization’s future success. important to Economic losses from transitioning to new models remain a major barrier to population health pursuits (21%), followed by uncertainty about when to transition away from current models (14%). increase. These sentiments have changed little over the years.
Traditional health care providers often lament the health of the retail industry, primarily due to concerns about the quality of care being delivered in these new settings. Bring value to healthcareAs a matter of fact, if a doctor is concerned that a patient will not receive adequate care if they are tested at LabCorp and given antibiotics at Walgreens, they may change their practice to accommodate these options. is not very attractive.
At the time of signing the deal with Amazon-One Medical, CEO Andy Jassy also said: For decades, calling a doctor, making an appointment 3-4 weeks later, driving him 15-20 minutes, parking the car, signing in, waiting at reception for a few minutes, and finally seeing a doctor. I was taken into a room and waited there. In addition, 10-15 minutes before the doctor comes, he examines for 5-10 minutes, prescribes medicine, and takes 20 minutes to drive to the pharmacy to pick it up. The process will repeat for additional evaluations and may take longer to book. ”
This is a tough picture for today’s struggling healthcare delivery system, but it shows what can be achieved when innovation is put in place to achieve better health outcomes at lower costs. HEALTHCARE DELIVERY SYSTEM Titanic’s captains are well aware of what is at stake and what needs to be done to avert total disaster. No failure is allowed, but so far the calls to the bridge are mostly ignored. And in a brave new world of disruptors and disrupted people, the disruptors are winning.
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