Alexa, call my doctor: Amazon Echo lets customers access Teladoc visits

The news: Amazon customers can now conduct a Teladoc-powered telehealth visit through their Echo devices, per a Teladoc press release.

  • Customers can say “Alexa, I want to talk to my doctor,” which will prompt a Teladoc physician to call back on the customer’s device.
  • Audio-only visits are available for non-emergency services only, like to discuss allergies or flu symptoms.

Amazon’s move is a timely one: Amazon will be catering to a growing pool of its customers interested in using voice assistants for healthcare.

The number of adult US consumers using voice assistants for healthcare activities has risen dramatically over the past two years, likely in part due to broad consumer interest in audio-only telehealth visits:

  • In 2019, only 7.5% of consumers opted to use voice assistants like Amazon’s Echo to access healthcare, which more than doubled to 21% by 2021, per a January 2022 Voicebot Consumer Adoption Report.

To add, we predict the number of Amazon Echo users will only increase over the next three years.

  • The number of Amazon Echo users will top nearly 69 million by 2025, marking a jump from 63.9 million users in 2021, per Insider Intelligence’s Amazon forecast.
  • Adding telehealth visits to its list of features could keep users more engaged with Amazon’s tech.

But Amazon isn’t tapping its own telehealth business: Amazon has a telehealth service, Amazon Care, that is only available to its employees. It is choosing to instead tap Teladoc to power its new service, most probably because it is widely available to consumers across the US.

Teladoc partners with large health systems like HCA Healthcare and Children's Mercy Kansas City and major insurers like Aetna and BlueCross BlueShield.

  • Amazon Care hasn’t had the same luck securing insurer partnerships, though.
  • It reportedly approached insurers like Aetna and Premera BlueCross about joining their networks as a covered benefit, but it’s unclear whether or not these talks materialized.

What’s next? Once Amazon partners with more insurers and rolls out its Amazon Care platform beyond its employees to all US consumers, we think it could supplant Teladoc’s visits with its own to power audio-only telehealth services.

Making Amazon Care visits accessible through Amazon Echo could fit in neatly with Amazon’s strategy to become a connected ecosystem for care: An Amazon Care physician could quickly send a patient’s prescription to Amazon Pharmacy after conducting an audio-only telehealth visit through Echo, for instance.

Related content: To learn more about Amazon’s strategy to create a one-stop shop for care, check out our Amazon Delivers Healthcare Report.