Amazon buys Health Navigator for use in its employee clinic

Amazon.com has acquired Health Navigator, a medical technology startup, in an effort to bolster its healthcare offerings for employees.

The startup will be wrapped into a clinic for workers that launched last month at the company’s Seattle-based headquarters. Called Amazon Care, the program offers virtual and in-person consultations, and delivery of prescriptions to employees’ offices and homes.

Health Navigator offers a platform that it describes as a comprehensive clinical vocabulary and decision-support system designed to support digital health and telemedicine encounters. The platform includes a broad range of tools for capturing the chief complaint through natural language processing, presenting a documentation checklist to consumers and healthcare providers, generating a list of possible causes, and making recommendations for seeking care.

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An Amazon.com Inc. package sits in a bin before being placed on a delivery vehicle at the United States Postal Service (USPS) Joseph Curseen Jr. and Thomas Morris Jr. processing and distribution center in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. The USPS said it expects to deliver over 15 billion total pieces of mail this holiday season with expanded Sunday delivery operations in certain areas, delivering over six million packages each Sunday in December. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Health Navigator’s website contends that “these tools can be used to develop artificial intelligence, symptom checker, health bot, consumer engagement, and telehealth applications. All content is delivered via a well-documented application programming interface (API; RESTful web service).”

Health Navigator created solutions for digital health, telemedicine, insurers, medical call centers, electronic health record companies, answering services and healthcare systems.

Amazon didn’t disclose financial terms of the deal, which was announced on Wednesday.

The company’s ambitions in healthcare have been the subject of fevered speculation in the industry and among investors well versed in Amazon’s record of disrupting established industries.

Amazon has partnered with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to launch Haven, a not-for-profit working on ways to halt the rise in employee healthcare costs.

Separately, the company is working to build on nascent businesses that sell to healthcare providers and consumers. Amazon last year bought PillPack, an online pharmacy. It also sells office and medical supplies through its Amazon Business program.

The Health Navigator acquisition was reported earlier by CNBC.