Amazon recently decided to enter the health industry, despite some misgivings.
CEO of Walgreens Stefano Pessina believes the health sector is too complicated to be a good market for Amazon.
Amazon has “opportunities around the world and in other categories, which are much, much simpler than health care, which is a very regulated business,” he said.
However, other industry leaders disagree. Former Amazon director Curtis Kopf now works at Premera Blue Cross as senior vice president, and thinks the move is plausible. Having been involved in some of Amazon’s previous projects, such as digitizing every book every printed, have demonstrated to Kopf that seemingly impossible tasks often bear fruit.
“At this point, I don’t think there’s anything they would be afraid to do,” Kopf said in an interview, referring to Amazon’s latest move. “”Every industry has thought that Amazon wouldn’t disrupt them,” he pointed out.
Aaron Martin, also a former Amazonian, has also shifted into health at Providence St. Joseph Health. He still has ties with Amazon, and has confirmed that a large portion of his current team used to work for the company. Martin thinks Amazon’s expansion into health is quite strategic.
“At Amazon, we learned to pick our battles and didn’t look at anything that was less than $500 million,” said Martin. “Meanwhile, health care is a fifth of the economy,” he said. “Amazon could build the compliant infrastructure but let entrepreneurs come in and do the heavy lift.”