Amazon shares closed higher in the US Thursday amid reports the tech giant is working on a healthcare initiative involving its smart home Alexa devices. While there’s no confirmation of the report, Jeff Bezos company is working at entering the lucrative healthcare market in a variety of ways.
Amazon shares ended the US Thursday trading session 0.7% higher at $1,609.08. However, the stock is currently marginally in the red in after-hours activity.
Amazon’s healthcare ambitions
A report by CNBC suggests Amazon has set up a team to support Alexa as an in-home healthcare assistant to families. Members of this team are said to include experienced healthcare regulation individuals who have previously helped tech firms gain the required healthcare accreditation for their products and/or services.
According to the report, the Amazon group is working on supporting healthcare issues such as care and support for new mothers and infants, diabetes management and care for older individuals, too.
This follows a competition Amazon ran in 2017, with drug maker Merck for developers to help build the right skills for Alexa to help with diabetes management.
It’s also only a few months after Amazon announced it was working with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan to provide better healthcare for their employees.
Not an easy path
While Amazon has considerable resources to help successfully fund any new plan it has, the healthcare industry is one that is proving to be a tough to crack even for this global giant.
After reports earlier in 2018 suggested Amazon was working on entering the drugs supplier industry, later news said the etailer had shelved those plans after discovering healthcare providers’ existing platforms weren’t compatible with Amazons.
Instead of targeting hospitals and clinics with complex and expensive drugs, the tech giant is sticking with selling more widely available drugs to the consumer market – for now, at least.