Local NPR for the Cape, Coast & Islands 90.1 91.1 94.3
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

At one Cape Cod medical practice, the doctor is in — and it's Amazon

Amazon owns the One Medical Seniors office in Hyannis.
Stephen Colella
Amazon owns the One Medical Seniors office in Hyannis.

There’s a new medical company in town, with an office on Cape Cod: Amazon.

Patients say they’re just learning about the change after the retail and technology giant bought One Medical last year.

One Medical owns the former Iora Primary Care, located in the Shaw’s plaza on Iyannough Road in Hyannis.

Patient Cindy Sauers, who lives in Harwich, said she started noticing changes a few weeks ago.

“There's fewer people in the office, less support,” she said. “I don't like it that now Amazon has all my medical records. ... It doesn't feel right. I feel like I should have had a formal notification and approved it.”

The practice is called One Medical Seniors and serves Medicare patients only. Both of its local telephone numbers now ring in Arizona, according to staff answering the phone.

Another patient, Tony Gallagher of Hyannis, said he’s happy with his care overall, but when his recent appointment to get clearance for hip replacement surgery was changed to a video meeting, no one showed up for the meeting.

It was never placed on the doctor’s schedule, he said.

“My one experience so far, since Amazon took them over, was not a good one on … booking the simple appointment,” he said. “And if there's anything they should be able to bring to the operation, it should be the efficiency of that. And they blew it.”

Gallagher also said the doctor seemed more concerned than usual about hurrying the appointment to make it end at a certain time.

One Medical declined to be interviewed but agreed to answer questions by email.

Regarding the faster appointment, the company acknowledged that it has added more appointments to providers’ schedules. The reason for that, according to a spokesperson, is to create more appointment times so providers can see their patients more often and promote better outcomes.

The spokesperson said providers at One Medical Seniors still see fewer patients per day than the industry average among medical clinics serving the senior population.

Phone calls were consolidated outside the office in January.

Phones ringing in a medical office disrupt in-person care and sometimes go unanswered or result in long wait times, the spokesperson said. Centralized calling has resulted in a 40 percent increase in answered calls and a decrease in wait times of 7.5 minutes, the person said.

In an emailed statement, CEO Trent Green said the company is dedicated to “human-centered, value-based care.”

“We know that more access to regular in-person care leads to better health outcomes, and are proud to have opened up more appointment access and improved responsiveness to support calls,” he said.

On the issue of data privacy, a spokesperson for One Medical said Amazon Health Services uses stringent privacy and security practices and does not sell protected health information.

Most of the One Medical offices are located in major metropolitan areas around the country, from Boston to Los Angeles.

Those that do not serve a Medicare-only population charge an annual membership fee of $199 and offer some extras not found in a traditional doctor’s office, such as access to video care on demand, 24 hours a day.

The Hyannis office does not charge a membership fee and does not offer the same app-based services as locations that charge a fee.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.