What Does the Primary Care Shakeup in 2022 Really Mean?
The pace of change in primary care will continue to accelerate. We should not be scared by this change, but we do need to act.
// By Alan Shoebridge //
Most of us have heard the saying that things change gradually and then suddenly. Is primary care having that moment now? After years of incremental change, is true disruption from tech companies, retailers, and other nontraditional health care players finally on the cusp of bringing significant, sustainable transformation? It sure feels like it.
There are many reasons why primary care has arrived at this juncture. Let’s start with the 800-pound gorilla in the room: Amazon. The company that seems to be into just about everything in our lives is intensifying its push into providing health care.
First, Amazon broke the news in mid-July when it was reported that the company planned to acquire primary care provider One Medical in an all-cash deal worth approximately $3.9 billion. One Medical is a membership-based primary care organization that offers virtual care as well as in-person visits.
Just a few weeks later, Amazon announced its interest — along with UnitedHealth and other potential suitors — in acquiring Signify Health, which provides technology to support in-home care. Signify Health is valued at more than $5 billion.
Amazon’s interest in primary care isn’t new, but these latest developments follow up on the company’s introduction of Amazon Care (announced to shut down at the end of 2022), purchase of PillPack, the Haven partnership, and several other smaller ventures during the past five years.
Yet Amazon isn’t the only company making waves. It seems like just about every large company with a positive balance sheet is eyeing some part of the primary care space. So why is this happening now?