Amazon wants to reinvent healthcare, as stated in the announcement of its recent acquisition of One Medical. Typically, a new player must work hard to establish trust with consumers before they will be accepted. Not in this case. 

Amazon already has consumers’ trust. According to Syneos Health Communications brand strategy experts, many people expect an Amazon-like experience in healthcare because Amazon has redefined our expectations about what it means to have an efficient and relevant experience. How has Amazon achieved this level of trust? Let’s look at this from a behavioral science perspective. 

Our experts talk about nine principles that influence attention, understanding, and motivation, which all contribute in varying ways to reinforce trust. One of the nine principles is that “core psychological needs drive us,” and there are a few core needs that are especially relevant to healthcare.  

Let’s look at some of the core needs that Amazon Care addresses particularly well:  

  • The first is fairness, the need to feel that we are being treated the same as others. The “your needs, time, schedule, and loved ones come first” messaging makes it clear that each user will be treated equally well.  

  • The second is security, the need to feel safe from anticipated harm. Amazon Care provides services in person and virtually and highlights the steps taken to protect users’ health data, mitigating any potential safety concerns.  

  • The third need is belonging, the need to feel connected to others. The ability to connect with a wide range of providers almost instantly, 24/7, helps Amazon Care users have positive connections to their healthcare team, which isn’t always the case for health care engagements.

How can we apply these insights to strengthen trust with our HCP and patient consumers?

  • To address fairness, we can be more transparent and proactive. Offer up information before HCPs or patients ask for it. Ensure information and resources are not buried but are easy for all to find and to engage with. 

  • To reinforce feelings of security, it helps to know that most HCPs and patients anticipate difficulty and frustration from the healthcare system. Clearly setting expectations and creating frictionless experiences will both go a long way to create more positive associations. Using an empathic tone in patient-facing materials is especially useful to help them feel safe. 

  • To support a sense of belonging, we can create ample opportunities for connection. There is so much power in learning from our peers. Whether this learning happens from in person or virtual events or simply by seeing how another person would handle a similar situation, tapping into peers is an effective way to amplify connection and belonging. 

We know that healthcare consumers and providers will have high expectations as they continue to engage with Amazon as a growing healthcare brand. This will result in them having even higher expectations of other healthcare brands as well. Let’s make sure we meet them, together. 



About the Author:

Kathy Moriarty, MSW, Director, Behavioral Strategy, has over 12 years of experience in the life science and marketing industries. Her career has spanned providing care directly to patients, to developing strategic marketing plans and deliverables, to applying behavioral science insights to address audiences’ needs and challenges.

Kathy’s therapeutic expertise includes oncology, chronic kidney disease, narcolepsy, obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and mental health conditions. She is experienced in supporting behavior change on both a micro and macro level, including defining key behavioral challenges and identifying evidence-based techniques to drive change. 

Kathy has an MSW from Loyola University Chicago. She has worked as a therapist at a community-based mental health clinic and at an employee assistance program. She has also worked in marketing and advertising at companies including at IQVIA and evoke micromass.