Amazon is discontinuing its telehealth service, Amazon Care.

The move signifies a major retreat by the retail behemoth in its efforts to enter the healthcare space.

Amazon Health Services lead Neil Lindsay announced Wednesday, August 24 in a company email that the service will be discontinued after December 31.

The e-commerce giant decided to make the move after deciding it wasn’t “the right long-term solution for our enterprise customers.”

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Lindsay said: “This decision wasn’t made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration.

“Although our enrolled members have loved many aspects of Amazon Care, it is not a complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers we have been targeting, and wasn’t going to work long-term.” 

Amazon said the experience meant it gained a better understanding of “what is required long-term to deliver meaningful health care solutions for enterprise and individual customers” through the launch of Amazon Care.

Amazon Care debuted in 2019 as a pilot program for employees near the company’s headquarters in Seattle.

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The service offers virtual urgent care visits, free telehealth consultations, and in-home visits from nurses for testing and vaccinations for a fee.

The service had been in the works for several years.

The company held a secret meeting in Seattle in 2017 to learn more about patient care, which was attended by healthcare industry heavyweights.

The company then hired a small group of doctors to launch a pilot clinic for some of its employees.

In February, Amazon Care’s virtual offerings were rolled out nationwide for its employees and other businesses, which suggested the company had higher hopes for the service.

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Hilton, Silicon Labs, TrueBlue, and Whole Foods, the company’s upscale grocer, are among its corporate clients.

Amazon is discontinuing the service despite CEO Andy Jassy’s pledge to make inroads into the healthcare industry.

Amazon paid $3.9 billion for the boutique primary care provider One Medical last month.

It has also attempted to develop at-home medical diagnostics.

Source: CNBC

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