Amazon’s Latest Ambition: To Be a Major Hospital Supplier

Amazon is pushing to turn its nascent medical-supplies business into a major supplier to U.S. hospitals and outpatient clinics that could compete with incumbent distributors of items from gauze to hip implants.

Amazon has invited hospital executives to its Seattle headquarters on several occasions, most recently in late January, to solicit information about the sector and sound out ideas for expanding the company’s business-to-business marketplace, Amazon Business, into one where hospitals could shop to stock outpatient locations, operating suites and emergency rooms, according to hospital executives who attended the meetings.

Amazon Business already sells a limited selection of medical supplies—some sutures, for example, but not more specialized items like hip implants—as well as industrial and office supplies.

Amazon recently dispatched employees to a large Midwestern hospital system, where hospital officials are testing whether they can use Amazon Business to order health-care supplies for the hospital system’s roughly 150 outpatient facilities, according to a hospital official overseeing the efforts.

The pilot is customized for the hospital system’s catalog of supplies, the official said, allowing employees to compare prices the hospital negotiates with its distributors against those in the Amazon Business marketplace.

In response to questions about these efforts, Amazon said it is building technology to serve health-care customers, and seeking to sell hospitals on a “marketplace concept” that differs from typical hospital purchasing, which is conducted through contracts with distributors and manufacturers.

By Melanie Evans & Laura Stevens | The Wall Street Journal

Image Credit: Amazon

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About Peter Coffaro 699 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the orthopedic industry. Recognized by MedReps.com as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager and Distributor. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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