Amazon Reportedly Exploring At-Home Health Testing

Details are beginning to emerge about the latest rumored home health endeavor from Seattle-based technology giant and online retailer Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN).

In line with its ongoing focus on the home setting, Amazon has reportedly considered entering the health diagnostics space by acquiring venture-backed startup Confer Health, which develops hardware for at-home medical testing. CNBC first broke the news, citing a person familiar with Amazon’s plans.

Founded in 2015 and based in Boston, Confer Health offers clinical-grade testing at home, allowing consumers to review results in minutes instead of days or hours. Confer Health’s development pipeline includes tests for cold, flu and other infectious disease, as well as fertility tests.

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Despite Amazon’s interest, talks to acquire Confer Health apparently fell apart around the time Amazon made the decision to acquire online pharmacy company PillPack, according to CNBC.

Led by Social Capital, Confer Health has raised $9.5 million overall since launching.

Amazon’s acquisition of Confer Health would have fallen under a “medical diagnostics project that was being actively explored over the summer,” CNBC reported. That project was rumored to be led by an Amazon employee who joined the company after previously working for Google.

The report regarding Amazon’s interest in the home health diagnostics space comes roughly eight months after rumors surfaced that the company was working on an in-home robot,
codenamed “Veta.”

Additionally, in July, Amazon was rumored to be working with two health systems and startup Xealth on plans to launch a pilot program focused on easing patients’ transitions between hospital and home.

Amazon, which recently raised its company-wide minimum wage to $15 an hour, is largely seen as the biggest potential health care disruptor, followed by other technology powerhouses such as Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOGL).

Amazon’s technology products and supply chain innovations could be a boon to established home health and private duty companies by supporting an ongoing shift toward home-based care and services, but Amazon-related disruption could also force providers to be nimble in a rapidly evolving and increasingly competitive landscape.

If Amazon did decide to enter the health diagnostics space, it would have to go head-to-head with well-established testing companies such as EverlyWell, Quest and LabCorp.

Written by Robert Holly

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