No, Amazon Isn’t Coming for Your Medical Data
Amazon recently announced it would seek to acquire boutique health care service provider One Medical. Rather than considering the consumer benefits that may accompany such a transaction, the usual crowd of anti-Amazon, antitrust hipsters rushed to attack this as a problematic entry into yet another industry. These critiques were echoed by some privacy advocates who voiced concerns about Amazon acquiring health data in the transaction.
These critics almost always claim the sky is falling when Amazon makes a move. But just like their prior false exhortations, with a calm and rational examination of this proposed transaction, it’s clear these concerns are misplaced. In fact, the privacy concerns with this latest acquisition are already addressed by existing law, and the transaction shows that markets remain competitive in ways that benefit consumers.
One Medical is a subscription-based and data-driven primary care service that currently has a small footprint in the health care sector. With consumer-approved access to health data from products like Fitbits and Apple Watches, One Medical is able to learn the preferences, habits, and special circumstances its patients have. This allows for more individualized care, paired with the shorter wait times and the easier booking process that comes with a subscription model compared to the traditional health care system. A large company like Amazon would be able to help expand those services and incorporate them into the highly competitive landscape. The likely result is more people would have access to an innovative and much-needed form of primary care.
This is not the first time Amazon has ventured into the health care industry. While its purchase of a pharmaceutical fulfillment service in 2018 has been relatively successful, it recently shut down Haven Healthcare, its health insurance joint venture with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway. Far from acting like a monopolist, this continued attempt to reinvent and expand into different industries illustrates that Amazon cannot merely rest on
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