Amazon + One Medical: The Next Wave for Healthcare

Woman getting a bandaid placed on her shoulder

Amazon has declared their intent to disrupt healthcare. Are you ready? 

The $3.9 billon acquisition of One Medical positions Amazon to offer comprehensive primary care both through employee benefit programs and directly to individuals. With access to 188 medical offices in 25 U.S. markets that work with more than 8,000 companies, Amazon gains a direct-to-consumer health beachhead similar to the one Whole Foods gives them in fresh groceries. In combination with the PillPack acquisition (now Amazon Pharmacy) and the broad launch of Amazon Care (a telehealth platform for their and others’ employees), Amazon’s intent to disrupt the existing healthcare industry is clear. 

Neil Lindsay, Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Health Services, told The Washington Post that “health care is in need of reinvention.” Or as my colleague and Brado co-founder Bob Cuneo says, “If you want to see the future, look for a mediocre experience.” 

So, why should others in healthcare take notice? After all, Amazon has tried and failed with Haven, and this move by no means makes Amazon America’s doctor. One Medical’s $493 million in commercial revenue last year is less than 1% of total annual private sector spending on primary care in the U.S. 

Here’s why it matters. Primary care refers to the first place you contact when something is wrong, the adviser you turn to for your family’s everyday needs. Done poorly, which it very often is, it’s a barrier and a hurdle: long waits to be seen, 15-minute drive-by appointments with a rotating cast of characters, time and money lost to commutes and parking, and so forth.  

Done well — reinvented using the Amazon playbook for simplicity, self-service and selection, and the tools and processes One Medical honed as an innovator in “concierge care” — it can be the gatekeeper and a game changer. Optimized nationwide primary care would control the revenue, profits, and effectiveness of every other part of the healthcare system. 

This potential for primary-care-based dominance is no secret. Aetna CVS Health and Optum (UnitedHealth Group) are fully in the chase to be the nation’s go-to for primary care, as are many other established and start-up players. Amazon’s entry accelerates the race.  

For our part, Brado has applied our signature blend of empathy and data across the entire spectrum of healthcare — from providers to payers to pharma to devices to innovative services and platforms — and so, we have long understood that the “family health manager” yearns for the simplicity, clarity, and service levels that this deal promises.  

Indeed, at ForeChange, the annual gathering of health system CEOs, innovators, and disruptors that Brado co-hosts with Santé Ventures and others, we have been discussing the prospect of reinvented primary care for over a decade. It began as academic speculation, but then rose like a thundercloud on the horizon…ominous, yet distant. Well, today it’s starting to rain. And the best health systems and employers have already put on umbrellas and their rain boots. They are building the competencies they need to thrive in a world of networked, unbundled care. They are focusing on the unique services and facilities that only they can operate. And they are looking to Amazon’s entry with optimism and an open hand of partnership.  

These leaders have a ready response to the question that Brado asks all of our clients facing the tsunami-like wave of new in healthcare:  


At Brado, we help brands get in front — in front of their customer’s wants, their competition, and our ever-changing world. We do it through insight-to-activation, digital-centric marketing. Every day we help healthcare brands, from startups to institutional icons, get in front. If your answer to our question gives you pause, we’re here to help.    

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