Is Amazon really expanding, when its ultimate goal is to control roughly all areas of our lives? Well, Amazon has now partnered with a company for online psychic counseling services called Ginger. The insider did not report the financial details of the merger, and neither Amazon nor Ginger provided a media release about it.
This new move certainly demonstrates a trend of expansion in the fields of activity of the international company which began as an online bookstore. In fact, the giant from Seattle is taking the first step in a specific field of medicine mental health after it already provides a remote health program in other fields of medicine, called Amazon Care.
The company plans to add the field of mental health to its product basket in Amazon Care - within the framework of which patients are offered personal care that includes remote interventions on behalf of professionals, including doctors. Now, thanks to the agreement with Ginger, this array of service providers will also include psychologists and psychiatrists. The service is expected to start operating next year.
Recently Amazon agreed to purchase iRobot - the company behind the famous smart robot vacuum cleaner Roomba - for an amount of about 1.7 billion dollars, in what seems like an effort to expand its control and foothold in the smart home field, in which it is also already quite dominant.
But if we go back to specializing in health - Amazon Care was first launched in 2019 as a remote and non-remote support service for Amazon employees in Seattle. Today it is already available to American companies in 50 US states, and these allow their employees to use the service.
It all started in 2018 when the e-commerce giant began expanding into another field in US medicine and shook up the prescription drug industry with the purchase of the Boston-based online pharmacy service, PillPack, in a deal worth a billion dollars. The years passed. Amazon launched its remote health service mentioned above, and also launched its own pharmacy in 2020. It also has plans to integrate its voice assistant, Alexa, into hospitals. But it did not stop its attempts to "conquer" more corners and sections in the health sector - when in July the company owned by Jeff Bezos announced that it had purchased One Medical, an American clinic chain, for 3.9 billion dollars. This is one of the three biggest deals Amazon has ever made.
One Medical is a private boutique clinic chain that provides hybrid services, both physically and remotely, to its clients across the US.
"We want to be one of the companies that help dramatically improve the health experience," said Amazon's senior vice president of health services, Neil Lindsay, explaining the motivations for the purchase. According to him, "Together with One Medical's technology-driven, people-centered approach to healthcare, we believe we can and will help more people get better care, when and how they need it. We look forward to fulfilling this long-term mission." Lindsey added and clarified that in Amazon's eyes, the health sector is placed "high on the list of experiences that need reinvention".
Ginger is a digital mental health platform that gives people 24/7 access to coaches and therapists who help them deal with "simple" adversity and depression. Primary care providers on the platform may respond to some minor issues, such as mild anxiety, the explanation purchased on-site. In case of more serious problems, it was reported, that patients are referred to professional care that will meet their needs.
The partnership with Ginger is actually the latest step taken by Amazon as part of its expansion into the health industry. On the dedicated page on the Amazon Care website, the company stated when addressing business customers: "The mental state of your employees is important," and then clarified: Amazon Care places behavioral health at the top of your workplace priorities." The company further explains that "Our main providers treat a variety of problems common behavioral health" for the organization's employees, and explains that "we also connected to Ginger - the on-demand mental health platform - as an optional add-on to Amazon Care." Amazon clarified that Ginger is a service available nationwide, connecting employees with trainers for behavioral health, licensed therapists, and psychiatrists, and then listed a host of benefits inherent in it, according to her.