… The Amazon River is over 4,000 miles long; during the wet season portions of it widen to 130 miles …

Amazon: Preparing To Flood The Healthcare Industry

John G. Baresky

Amazon’s current of online commerce flows year-round…

Amazon has healthcare on its mind and in its warehouses…

By searching further, it’s easy to see Amazon is widening and lengthening its reach into healthcare. You will find an impressive lineup of products for advanced home healthcare needs. As you continue to search, you will find a large group of products clearly meant for medical practice. The lineup is diverse in selection, complexity and price. Amazon carries catheters, speculums, infusion pumps, syringe pumps, IV bags, infusion tubing, luer lock components and other disposables, sutures, oximeters, oxygen concentrators, forceps, medical carts, real hospital beds (some over $9,000), autoclaves, scalpel blades and more –plus a wide range of laboratory supplies.

There are additional, more telling indications Amazon is taking more than a casual tour of healthcare. Their cloud unit, Amazon Web Services, is already working with companies involved with genomics, life sciences and healthcare providers/insurers. Amazon is expanding their staff working in the healthcare space. Their career portal has openings posted for a variety of healthcare sector-focused positions. Some are technical and steered towards healthcare industry cloud computing roles; others are aligned with healthcare B2B or B2C responsibilities.

Amazon has what it takes to stay afloat in healthcare…

Amazon is a company raised on successfully exploring and settling in new markets –sectors where naysayers stated they had no business going into. Moving on from books, CDs and DVDs, they carry goods used by consumers throughout their homes covering the kitchen, living room, bedroom, backyard, garages –and assertively moving out from the confines of the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. They are well established in B2B commerce with office supplies, industrial supplies and other product categories; it’s easy to see why medical practices, hospital systems and other healthcare entities would look more to Amazon as a supplier. Plus, the companies Amazon markets products for have great confidence in their ability to consistently deliver. At competitive prices, Amazon’s infrastructure routinely transports products into dense metropolitan markets and rural locations –key experience and resources to possess in a high service, increasingly cost-sensitive healthcare marketplace.

Healthcare is a highly regulated industry which is a barrier or at least a bottleneck for some companies seeking to do business in it. Based on Amazon’s existing selection of products and business models, they have breached that issue. They are deeply experienced in successfully operating through litigation and rule-heavy business channels such as interstate commerce, importation, vendor contracts, licensing deals and others. As they venture further into healthcare, the red tape gets denser but they can be expected to manage through it to successfully reach customers.

Amazon’s Advantages as a healthcare “newcomer”…

The threat of Amazon puts Distributors, Wholesalers, Group Purchasing Organizations at risk…

With a new and different perspective, Amazon can formulate its own unique approach to healthcare provider organizations. They aren’t so deeply ensnared in legacy business arrangements and operational processes with healthcare organization customers. Perhaps it “rewrites the book” on healthcare contracting, making it easier, faster and streamlined for senior-level decision makers across finance, legal, purchasing and other units in healthcare provider organizations to do business with them versus GPOs and traditional trade channel arrangements.

Maybe Amazon takes this a step further and makes it substantially easier for healthcare product manufacturers to work with them as well. Another possible arrangement is between GPOs and Amazon — and managed care plans may be another consideration. The healthcare industry has already undergone significant change due to healthcare reform. It’s possible the timing is right for a new, pivotal entrant; one that is known for embracing customer needs while simplifying and accelerating the buying process!

A variety of courses into numerous healthcare sectors can be charted in Amazon’s commercial strategies…

With B2B/healthcare providers, they can pick and choose specific sectors to engage based on existing, standard setups or perhaps specialized buying arrangements. With highly fragmented but rapidly consolidating healthcare channels such as behavioral health, assisted living, long term care and surgical center chains, they can encapsulate multiple existing buyers into one. This is great for Amazon and for healthcare provider entities looking to maximize economic efficiency via mergers and acquisitions.

Hospitals/healthcare systems are a larger, consolidating sector Amazon may choose to merely funnel more products into via conventional business arrangements or develop more innovative ones. If manufacturers and/or customers determine Amazon’s business arrangements are more convenient and economical, the conventional healthcare trade entities and GPOs will feel the pressure to compete.

Incumbent healthcare trade entities, including wholesalers, distributors and medical suppliers, coupled with GPOs, can definitely leverage their existing positions against Amazon based on rebate deals and chargeback contracts with customers and suppliers –especially those with pharma. For some healthcare product manufacturers seeking market access and leverage against trade partners and GPOs, Amazon’s ventures into healthcare offer great opportunities for them. Amazon competing against AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal, Henry Schein, McKesson and Owens & Minor seems far-fetched — but so does a large scale bookseller successfully getting into cloud-based web services, global enterprise, air freight logistics, groceries and consumer electronics (to name a few!).

The appeal of Amazon and the lure of healthcare…

Amazon shares many of the healthcare industry’s characteristics of growth and change plus key attributes such as being customer-driven, innovative and quality-focused. These are core prerequisites for success in the healthcare marketplace. There’s a great possibility consumer, clinicians and healthcare provider organizations can look forward to, and competitors will dread, another Amazon business unit yet to be named…Amazon Prime Care… Amazon Prime Health…Amazon Prime Medical…………

Thank you for reading this story

About me

Hi, my name is John Baresky ( pronounced “ buh — ress — key “) and I have over 25 years of experience in healthcare.

Throughout my career, I have been writing about healthcare while developing and sharing important information with physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other clinicians plus consumers, patients, healthcare business professionals, investors and other stakeholders.​​

Healthcare is a vast industry. I organize its clinical, business, academic, technical and consumer topics into precise messages and stories that are easily understood and immediately useful. The content I write resonates across audiences with objective accuracy and clarity.

Visit my website and connect with me via LinkedIn and Twitter


Healthcare Medical Pharmaceutical Directory

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Pivotal elements include digital marketing, SEO, content development, content marketing, product launch, brand and product management, sales enablement and market access strategy.

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John G. Baresky


John G. Baresky Healthcare Marketing Guy

Authentic, fact-based healthcare content marketing writing for medical, business, academic, patient and consumer audiences https://www.BareSkyMarketing.com/

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