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 536 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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