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How Amazon Might Win in Telehealth

By Taylor Carmichael - Jun 27, 2021 at 6:00AM

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Amazon has a trick up its sleeve that might allow it to jump ahead of Teladoc Health.

Amazon (AMZN -0.99%) is the front-runner of internet retail, and now the company is making noises about using the internet to improve healthcare for people. Teladoc Health (TDOC 3.50%) has been providing virtual healthcare for a while, so it has a massive head start and first-mover advantage. But Amazon has a few surprises up its sleeve that might help it win market share.

In this Motley Fool Live video, recorded on June 18, Corinne Cardina, healthcare and cannabis bureau chief at the Motley Fool, and Motley Fool writer Taylor Carmichael discuss Amazon's plans for virtual healthcare.

Corinne Cardina: Taylor, let's really quickly touch on Amazon getting into telehealth. Should Teladoc be concerned? Amazon Care announced that it has signed up some enterprise customers. What do you think? Really briefly, so we can get to one of your favorite stocks before we wrap up.

Taylor Carmichael: We're going to run out of time, I think.

Corinne Cardina: I know! (laughing) I'm constantly interrupting you, I'm sorry.

Taylor Carmichael: That's OK. (laughing) No, no, we're fine. Well, I honestly become a lot more impressed with what Amazon is doing. At first, I thought, well, it's just another copycat of Teladoc, no big deal. But no, they're doing something very different, which is impressive and interesting. What Amazon plans to do is virtual healthcare like Teladoc. You talk to a doctor over the internet like we're doing now, and they talk to you about your symptoms or whatever over the internet. That's the first step. But if you need a personal visit from a doctor, what Amazon plans to do is have a doctor go to your house within an hour. I read that and I was like, "Wow."

Corinne Cardina: That's Amazon Prime.

Taylor Carmichael: That blew my mind to read that. What they're doing is the future, which is virtual healthcare, but also, this is the throwback to the past of doctor house calls, which I know a lot of people are going to love. They love the idea of I really need a doctor, they'll come to my house within an hour. As like you said last time, Amazon's the king of logistics, so if anybody can pull that off, it's Amazon. But what really impressed me about this is they're not just copying. It's not just a copycat of Teladoc. That's not impressive to my opinion. But they've radically changed what they are doing. They radically changed their selling point, that is virtual healthcare plus doctor visits for the serious cases, house calls for the serious cases. That's a 20th century thing, way back when, where doctors would go to your house all the time. They're going to have to get doctors on board. It sounds like a real headache to get all the doctors in line. I don't know how you do it if your house is out in the country or your house is not in the metropolitan area.

Corinne Cardina: I have a feeling they'll roll this out slowly. It's not going to be for everybody. If you're bleeding out, you need to go to the ER, you don't need to wait for an Amazon doctor to come to your house.

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Corinne Cardina owns shares of Teladoc Health. Taylor Carmichael owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Teladoc Health. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
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