Tuesday, 21 October, 2008

Ecommerce & Healthcare- in News!

E-commerce has become a commonplace practice in our lives today. Many of us have purchased books from Amazon.com, bid on items on e-bay, renewed our HFMA memberships online, or purchased airline tickets at any number of discount travel Web sites, Very lately I bought an Herbal Purgative Online. Frankly we have all probably wondered what we did before the Internet came along to simplify our purchasing experiences.

The online health channel continues to proliferate, despite increased scrutiny due to heightened security fears among consumers.One such example is Drugstore.com (Though in India, we have no good examples till date- Thanks to the Rules!)

Match 1:

In the fourth quarter ended December 28, 2003, drugstore.com achieved EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of intangible assets, noncash marketing expense and stock-based compensation) of $556,000, the first such profit in the company's history.

About drugstore.com

Drugstore.com (www.drugstore.com) is an online source for thousands of brand-name health, beauty and wellness products, combined with a wealth of decision-making information and resources to educate and inform consumers to take charge of their personal health and well-being. Based in Redmond, Washington, the company is headed by President and CEO Peter Neupert, a former senior Microsoft executive. drugstore.com is funded by Amazon.com, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Maveron, L.L.C. and Liberty Media. Drugstore.com is a trademark of Drugstore.com, Inc.

Match 2:

Described by some as a consolidator of health care web sites, HealthCentral has made itself into a force to be reckoned with irron-line retailing.
With a network of sites that includes WebRx.com, HealthCentral.com, Vitamins.com, DrugEmporium.com and RxList.com, HealthCentral has made itself into one of the most comprehensive health care providers on the Internet.

Question: Is there a Comfort factor for the customer in Health etailing?

We in health care may feel we have a strong relationship with our customers because our customers still rely overwhelmingly on our Hold-flip-read and buy operations for the services they need. Therefore, consumer confidence in our services, we think, should remain relatively high.

Think again. The Institute of Medicine's reports on medical errors sent a shiver through many healthcare consumers. Healthcare organizations should be on notice that consumers are going to be peering very closely over their shoulders in the future.Web sites offering consumers vast amounts of information about healthcare services have proliferated. For example, www.virtualhealthfair.com offers comprehensive healthcare information, including a virtual lab, "where you can learn about, understand, and interpret common lab tests," including fecal occult blood test, urinalysis, and dozens more.
But clinical information will not be the only information consumers will be seeking. They will demand specific information about the quality and cost ratings of health plans and providers. They will want to keep an active eye on their medical records, which largely have become electronic.

Therefore, Ehealth & Etailing has to be employed for the sake of convenience and customer relationship both.Healthcare organizations that want to maintain consumer confidence will have to address the virtual relationship that will become a larger and larger part of their interactions with patients and family members.

Please feel free to comment, will come up with more soon.

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