Healthcare IT News
Amazon in talks to launch at-home medical testing service, says Insider
By: Kat Jercich
Amazon is reportedly weighing the launch of a service offering at-home medical tests, signaling yet another foray into healthcare from the technology giant.
According to reporting from Insider, Amazon is considering launching an at-home COVID-19-testing kit in June, and potentially ones for respiratory and sexually transmitted infections.
"Amazon's long-term goal is to expand into other areas, such as clinical genomics, and launch a third-party marketplace that sells medical tests from other companies," reported Insider's Eugene Kim.
Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.
WHY IT MATTERS
As Insider reported, the 300-person team behind the initiative is being referred to as "Amazon Diagnostics" internally.
Amazon had already invested hundreds of millions of dollars toward COVID-19 testing for employees, and aimed at building capacity for 50,000 tests a day. It also gained Food and Drug Administration authorization for its at-home COVID-19 tests in March.
Sources told Insider that a diagnostics project could help it capitalize on such investments in the longer term.
Amazon's first COVID-19 testing kit could make its debut on Prime Day, with June 21 as a tentative start date.
As far as Amazon Diagnostics, sources outlined several long-term plans, such as a third-party marketplace for home and genomic testing.
At the same time, sources said the plans are still in discussion – and could get scrapped altogether.
THE LARGER TREND
Amazon has made a number of efforts to elbow its way into the healthcare industry, some more successful than others. Its much-ballyhooed Haven partnership with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire-Hathaway disbanded this year, ending speculation on how the initiative might disrupt the healthcare landscape.
Still, the company has kept experimenting, launching a slew of health-focused Alexa features and a digital pharmacy.
And, of course, there's Amazon Care – the company's telehealth project that will soon deliver app-based services to all 50 states.
ON THE RECORD
"Amazon decided early on during the pandemic that COVID-19 testing would be a critical tool to ensure the health and safety of front-line employees," a spokesperson told Insider.
"Since then, we have been working closely with the FDA to build and enable large scale testing capacity using a state-of-the-art lab we built from scratch – creating new testing capacity at no cost to the healthcare system. We continue to innovate to support the safety of our employees, their families, and the communities where they live," the spokesperson continued.