Navigating Through Turbulence: Amazon's Health Care Conundrum

Against social media controversies, and in the context of a technology-dominated world where Amazon – and other big tech giants such as Google and Apple – keep trying to expand beyond their founding pillars, Amazon’s foray into primary care through One Medical has hit a severe setback. Recent leaks revealing fundamental problems in their strategy of cheap health care have shaken the whole field and startled many about what might be in store for Amazon’s primary care initiative. This article unpacks these leaks and what they might mean for Amazon’s future in providing health care.

AMAZON'S VISION MEETS REALITY: The One Medical Controversy

Central to Amazon’s diversification strategy was the purchase of the US primary healthcare delivery platform One Medical. However, after leaked internal documents revealed that One Medical had a network of ‘multiple deadly problems’, it has been forced to ask itself some hard questions about the actual cost of thrift in healthcare. The goal was admirable, but – as recent revelations show – the implementation may have been dangerous.

AMAZON'S FRUGAL APPROACH: Cutting Corners or Cutting Costs?

Amazon’s corporate culture makes thriftiness a virtue, a means of doing more with less. But when that ethos migrates to the delicate world of medicine, the stakes are incalculably higher. The leaked documents make clear: can the medicine-makers – Amazon’s health providers – apply their mantra of maximised expenditure efficiencies to the field of health, where quality matters even more than cost-effectiveness?

The Backlash: Responding to the Crisis

The unveiling, if even half true, has surely cast a dark shadow over Amazon’s plans for healthcare. Its critics – and they are legion – have come from all sides, citing not just operational inefficiencies but also ethical and regulatory issues. The rapidly unfolding and long-term effects of the leaks are a crucial part of Amazon’s healthcare drama, a part which requires urgent reassessment of plans and safeguards.

Safeguarding Patient Health: The Road Ahead for AMAZON

To ride out the storm, Amazon will have to rethink its vision of health care, both by addressing the specific failures that have emerged and by designing robust systems that put patient safety first. Uneven though it’s been so far, the path forward could help Amazon to redefine what it means to innovate in health care – if it’s willing to learn from its mistakes.

AMAZON'S PLEDG... To know more about those health care ambitions. Its actions, not its words, will tell us whether or not its health sphere aspirations look familiar or newly reinvented.


Having begun as an online bookseller, Amazon has transformed itself into a multifaceted technology company whose operations include not only e-commerce and cloud computing but also digital streaming, and, most recently, health care. One Medical, now owned by Amazon, was viewed by many as an ambitious effort to create more equitable and efficient access to primary care. Yet, like any venture at this scale and complexity, some kinks are to be expected. Amazon’s health care experience points to ambition but also to the burdens of being in the business of providing life-altering services.

Innovation, customer (patient) satisfaction and, now, patient safety – those are Amazon’s stock values going forward. It has its work cut out from here. It will need to adapt, to correct, to refocus and reinvent its promise, to put patient care first. It has a lot of rebuilding to do if it is to restore trust and the revolutionary promise it had before. If Amazon succeeds, its foray into healthcare might well become the defining case study for those who aim to break into this highly complex area.

Jun 16, 2024
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