In its latest eye-opening move into medical supplies business, Amazon on Thursday started offering pre-fabricated hospital units, Christina Farr reports for CNBC.
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The online retailer previously had begun selling a range of medical supplies, aiming to provide hospitals a way to purchase materials outside of the group purchasing organizations (GPOs) through which hospitals conventionally purchase supplies. While GPOs afford discounts, they can lack transparency regarding costs, according to Farr.
And its medical supply sales are only one way that Amazon has made inroads in the health care industry. In January 2018, the company announced a joint venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to improve employee satisfaction with health care and reduce costs.
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New York-based EIR Healthcare makes the customizable hospital rooms, called MedModular, which include a bathroom and a bed.
The product's description on Amazon boasts, "MedModular is the world's first 'smart hospital room in a box,' and offers a vastly improved experience from the traditional hospital room—for patients and caregivers alike." It promises "improved workflows for caretakers and easier recovery for those they're treating," highlighting "[s]mart design touches" such as "curved corners where no bacteria can grow."
At about $285,000 apiece, the units are hardly priced as an impulse buy—but on the bright side, they come with free shipping.
EIR Healthcare CEO Grant Geiger said, "We're targeting hospitals and health systems." He noted, "There's a trend towards bringing more transparency in the health care space."
Geiger added he's seen growing interest among hospitals for using the units as simulation labs. The company has also thought about selling to customers in the military.
According to Geiger, his company engaged in months-long talks to get the units listed on Amazon's marketplace. In addition, EIR Healthcare needed approval to ship and deliver the units, which entails using giant shipping containers to transport the units down freeways.
As of publication time, the product had not received any customer reviews on Amazon. It was available for delivery as soon as Feb. 1 (Farr, CNBC, 1/24; Spitzer, Becker's Hospital Review, 1/24).
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