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Ted S. Warren / AP

Amazon has a secret team working on ways to move the e-commerce giant into the health care industry, CNBC reports. Aside from its plan to start distributing prescription drugs, which CNBC previously reported, Amazon also is looking into analyzing electronic health record data and creating a platform for virtual doctor visits.

Why it matters: Established health care companies are nervous about Amazon becoming a bigger player in health care because it likely would siphon away some of their business and, presumably, strip out inefficiencies. But Amazon and other tech companies face a lot of hurdles getting into health care — in this case, regulations around patient data, privacy and handling medications.

What we're hearing: Jamie Stockton, an analyst at Wells Fargo, wrote in a note to investors that prescription drugs appear to be the link tying all of these ideas together. An Amazon e-pharmacy would work closely with telehealth, because roughly 90% of telehealth visits lead to doctors writing a prescription, Stockton said. Having access to medical data would keep patients, doctors and the e-pharmacy on the same page.

Reminders: Amazon has registered some .health domain names, and it already sells some medical supplies. Athenahealth, a vendor that sells cloud-based electronic health records and billing software to doctors and small hospitals, also is in close discussions with an activist investor that took a large stake and has a history of selling companies.

Go deeper

9 mins ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

33 mins ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

1 hour ago - Health

Africa CDC: Vaccines likely won't be available until Q2 of 2021

Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong. Photo: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.