Some of Amazon’s (Nasdaq: AMZN) secretive actions in the health care space have been revealed, after its vice president spoke about meeting with AARP for technology collaborations for seniors, CNBC reported Wednesday.
This news comes as home health providers have been closely watching the retail giant, which has been making forays into health care and specifically seems positioned to bring more products and services into people’s homes.
The meetings have been taking place since 2015 “to discuss potential collaborations and share research,” along with exploring the possibility of technology specifically for aging populations, CNBC reported.
The latest news comes after Amazon has made bold moves into the health care arena. In January, the retail giant announced it was forming a new, independent company with Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A., BRK.B) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) to tackle health care insurance for its employees.
Amazon’s vice president of special projects, Babak Parviz, spoke about Amazon’s plans to develop technologies for aging populations at an event last month, CNBC reported.
While CNBC’s report did not mention specific technology developments, AARP has already taken on Amazon’s voice technology, Alexa, by adding its own skill to read news briefs to AARP’s readers, CNBC reported. AARP has also vocalized that it is determined to find technology solutions to ease the caregiver shortage and workforce challenges in the home.
“AARP is a nonprofit that advocates strongly on behalf of people age 50-plus,” the AARP executive team said in a statement to Home Health Care News. “As part of our mission to be everyday innovators in aging, we meet regularly with other innovators that may be able to improve the lives of older Americans. Too often, the needs of this growing population are overlooked or unmet in the marketplace, and we seek to spark new solutions.”
Within the in-home care space, some providers have launched pilot studies to see how voice technology like Alexa can boost patient outcomes and lower overall health care costs.
Furthermore, Amazon has been dropping clues that it is more interested in the home care space—the company added the former COO of home care startup Hometeam, Christine Henninggaard, to its team in August 2017.
Another Amazon employee within the company’s “general and non-acute health care division” registered to attend the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) annual conference late last year.
Amazon had not responded to inquiries from Home Health Care News as of press time.
Written by Amy Baxter