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Virtual care companies face increasing churn as telehealth visits sink below their pandemic-era peak, forcing them to cut back on staff and services or enter into bold new business agreements expanding their geographic reach. For some companies, a trend toward consolidation has led to stumbles, while others are finding new ways to sell existing services to more patients by combining customer bases.

Amazon’s $3.9 billion deal to acquire One Medical is just the latest of many such industry shakeups, and experts like One Medical founder Tom Lee think the retail giant could boost the primary care tech company’s existing reach. But whether patients will welcome big tech’s entry into traditional health care remains to be seen. Unclear, too, are Amazon’s exact plans for folding One Medical’s operations into its own telehealth business, which it said it was shuttering by the end of the year despite currently serving about 40,000 patients. 


Though he’s no longer directly involved with One Medical, Lee — who left the company in 2017 and founded virtual care company Galileo the next year — shared thoughts on the acquisition and the industry’s attempts to strike the right balance between virtual and in-person care. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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