Amazon (AMZN -1.80%) recently made waves in America's $4 trillion healthcare sector. In one fell swoop, the everything store will soon become a large provider of primary-care services in the U.S. by acquiring 1Life Healthcare (ONEM) for $3.9 billion in an all-cash deal that will most likely get completed before Seattle's next snowfall.

The acquisition of One Medical (as it is often referred to) isn't Amazon's first attempt to disrupt how Americans find, receive, and pay for healthcare. Under former CEO Jeff Bezos, Amazon racked up a string of flops that suggest the One Medical acquisition is just another expensive nothing-burger in waiting.

But before we get too excited or dismissive about the impending One Medical acquisition, let's compare Amazon's latest healthcare-related gambit to previous attempts.

Jassy is following a path laid out by Bezos 

The One Medical acquisition is the first big move into healthcare that Amazon has taken since Andrew Jassy became CEO in 2021. In a sense, though, it's a continuation of a process that began years earlier.

You might remember that in 2018, Amazon formed a coalition with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway called Haven that attempted to find cost-reducing solutions for roughly 1 million of the coalition's own employees. Haven ceased its attempts in early 2021, partly because Amazon was charging ahead with its own Amazon Care program instead of waiting for Haven to get its act together.

In theory, Amazon Care is a way for employees of Amazon and its partners to manage their primary care and find one-off services that could be followed up by an in-person visit if necessary. In practice, a lack of doctors' offices capable of providing in-person care has been a roadblock to mass adoption.

On March 31, 2022, One Medical had 188 medical offices in its network, which was 71% more than it had a year earlier. With support from Amazon, its footprint will likely continue to expand at a rapid clip.

A modest beginning

Before you run out to buy Amazon stock because of its burgeoning healthcare operation, it's important to understand how small a contribution to expect from One Medical in the near term.

At the moment, One Medical's revenue stream is around 0.2% the size of Amazon's, and the care provider has never been profitable. In fact, it reported a first-quarter loss that grew by a whopping 187% year over year to $91 million.

Still a great stock to buy now

It might not happen in 2022, but Amazon's winning approach to customer appreciation will eventually reach America's fractured market for primary care services. The important thing to remember as an investor is that this stock can deliver market-beating gains even if the One Medical acquisition isn't the catalyst the company expects it to be.

Amazon's stock is low right now in response to net losses that are most likely temporary. The size of the company's logistics network more than doubled to meet exploding demand during the early days of the pandemic. Slackening demand and soaring fuel costs could keep the retail operation from producing a profit this year. It's just a matter of time before demand catches up and retail starts contributing profits again.

While the retail operation gets back on track, shareholders can look forward to soaring profits from Amazon Web Services (AWS). Despite launching local infrastructure in 16 new U.S. zones during the first quarter, operating income from the AWS segment soared 57% year over year to a whopping $6.5 billion.

The local-zone infrastructure that AWS is building enables its customers to build ultra-low-latency applications for far larger populations than the competition. As this advantage grows, so will the profits from AWS -- even if Amazon's latest healthcare investment never pays off.