Posted: 09 Feb 2022 Contributor: Ghia Marnewick
Healthcare Commerce: How Digital Healthcare Experience Can Be Refined
The healthcare industry is one that has grown greatly over the years, particularly with the influence of the digital world. For the US as an example, the healthcare sector is one of the largest employers. The US also spend considerably more than the world’s average when it comes to healthcare, spending around $10,224 per capita.
There are 784,626 companies in the US healthcare sector. In regards to the global healthcare spending, it could reach up to dizzying heights of over $10 trillion by 2022. We all need healthcare to some extent and without access to public or private healthcare, the world we live in would be a lot bleaker.
Healthcare statistics show that it’s one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world. So how is healthcare commerce changing and refining our experiences? What does the future look like?
What is health commerce?
Health commerce or otherwise known as E-health commerce is the advertising, selling and distribution of healthcare products and services online. As more people use the internet and the growth of online shopping hits sky-high figures, a lot more industries are taking advantage of selling to the customer directly online.
The benefit of health commerce is like any other business online. The customer doesn’t need to go anywhere to shop the products and can purchase what they want from wherever they are. As long as they have an electronic device that can access the internet and an internet connection, they’re good to go.
How is healthcare commerce growing?
Health commerce did very well during the pandemic and the restrictions meant people couldn’t go out to shop for many of their products. You only need to take a look at this article on medtech marketing to see the effects of coronavirus. Whilst the overall turnover for this year has declined due to businesses stabilising after the initial impact of COVID-19, the market is expected to reach $643.07 billion in 2025. This is at a CAGR of 17%.
The impact of ecommerce on health sector is one that is changing the landscape of healthcare as we see it and how accessible it is for those who may be somewhat of a distance from a pharmacy or local store.
The importance of healthcare commerce
The digital transformation of healthcare is an important change to the industry and one that has been welcomed by many organizations within the healthcare sector.
A lot of organizations are using it, which include:
- Healthcare institutions
- Healthcare facilities
E-commerce in healthcare sector means that individuals and businesses can get their hands on vital medical equipment and supplies through these online channels. They may have been somewhat limited before whether that was in relation to their location or it simply not being as accessible beforehand.
However, it’s not that easy for everyone to buy and sell within the healthcare commerce world. The industry is seeing a trend of stringent regulations and cybersecurity laws that are coming into place that could limit the growth of healthcare e-commerce. One of the main countries hit hard by this policy, is India.
Any healthcare-related e-commerce platforms are also required to comply with the technological legal regulations that are put in place to make the sites cyber secure and legitimate for consumers to use safely and securely.
What features does healthcare commerce offer?
There are some significant changes and features that healthcare commerce has to offer in comparison to the traditional methods of accessing products and services.
Further variety in the products and services available
As the online world is accessible from most places around the world, you can still get access to a lot more healthcare products, equipment and services.
Despite the regulations and laws that can be limiting, the variety can make ecommerce in the healthcare industry a lucrative one.
Paths to the consumer
For many marketers and businesses looking to improve interactions for their users, vaccine management platforms have made it possible to get further insight. It means that the information collected can provide more targeting campaigns to hit the consumers on a more intimate level.
Access to care
Not everyone has such easy access to care and when it comes to healthcare commerce, you have more opportunities to fulfil the customer’s medical needs.
With an increasing demand for personalised consumer health solutions, transforming healthcare into a digital experience is redefining the patient’s journey for the better.
B2B ecommerce healthcare
Rather than just catering to B2C, B2B can also benefit as ecommerce healthcare offers opportunities for purchasers and medical suppliers too. It can also help explore new possibilities whilst cutting a lot of costs and time.
How has AI changed the way of the healthcare industry
AI has helped contribute to the change in the healthcare industry. With this technology, it helps put consumers in the control seat when looking after their own health and well-being.
Artificial intelligence is helping detect diseases, especially the big ones like cancer and can provide more accuracy in those crucial early stages. There are a lot of consumer wearables and medical devices that are combining AI to help combat a lot of illnesses and diseases that would otherwise be harder to tackle.
Challenges for healthcare e-commerce adaption
Whilst healthcare e-commerce offers a lot of potentials, there are some bigger challenges that this sector is likely to face.
Delivery challenges are somewhat of a challenge, especially when it comes to delivering products that might have expiry dates. Those medications or equipment travelling a long distance can also present their own set of difficulties.
With the healthcare industry, a lot of it is time-bound and so that may still need a lot of refinement.
Data security and privacy
The sharing and storing of data is a growing concern for many consumers, with 46% of customers feeling as though they’ve lost control over their own data.
The HIPPA laws present regulation and compliance issues whereby all healthcare companies and medical institutions, including private clinics, have to abide by HIPAA compliance.
That means many of the companies that exist in the commerce world that are complying, will be able to keep your data and privacy safe. However, there are a lot of sites out there that aren’t so safe.
Updating and reporting
It’s very important that modern customers nowadays are getting frequent updates about their products. Handling every customer query can be challenging for a lot of businesses, especially when they don’t have enough agents to cope with the number of requests coming in.
Maintaining expectations and ensuring the best service quality for each and every patient is not easy, as most traditional healthcare services and businesses know all too well.
Different ways to provide better healthcare experience
Customer experience is universally important across many businesses and industries. How can you provide a better healthcare experience for patients online?
Demonstrate a commitment to the patient’s safety
Firstly, demonstrating a commitment to patient safety is going to earn the business plenty of brownie points. Reputationally, if you’re seen to be offering a secure and safe commerce platform, then more people will shop on it.
Providing top quality, online security, secure payments and ensuring confidentiality is key.
Cater to patient experience
Ask for feedback and cater to your patient experience where it’s lacking. User experience and designing a functional user interface is essential for your website or whatever platform you’ve built when it comes to e-commerce.
Offering value for money is another great way to provide a better healthcare experience and going beyond expectations is also beneficial. Healthcare ecommerce will continue to grow in popularity, so it’s worth making use of it where possible.