Consumers, hospitals, and medical organizations of all kinds are all looking for ways to leverage digital healthcare to make industry processes simpler and faster. Historically, however, digitizing healthcare and embracing medical e-commerce has been a challenge. Industry regulations are rampant, and they often box organizations into healthcare’s long-established way of working.
With the arrival of Amazon into the digital healthcare space, more organizations are pushing the envelope and looking for future-forward means of disrupting the status quo and capitalizing on digital. Nonetheless, using the right data to do so remains among the industry’s biggest hurdles, even today.
What’s Driving Consumer Demand for Healthcare E-Commerce? Offline Inefficiency.
Today, the healthcare e-commerce industry is growing at a rate of 16% year-over-year: predicted to be worth $200 billion by 2022. Why? Because consumers’ tolerance for slow, inefficient processes has become near-obsolete.
Patients no longer want to handle tasks in-person that can be more efficiently done online. Currently, 40% of consumers must make multiple trips to the drug store to pick up their order because their drug was out of stock, and more than one-third of prescriptions are simply never picked up.
These consumers are, understandably, frustrated by outdated ways of working, and unsurprisingly, 75% of patients also see technology as an important component of managing their health.
In short: consumers are looking for digital avenues to speed up existing, sluggish processes. But organizations are not yet delivering.
“Healthcare e‑commerce is only an improvement if it can deliver (literally and figuratively) more quickly than a stop at the drug store or doctor’s office would. Customers have indicated that incorporating new technology to deliver quality care, personalizing care to make it simpler to find specialized practitioners, and making insurance pain-free are things they most want tackled as this industry grows.”
Where Digital Healthcare is Falling Short: Data
The healthcare industry’s goals can largely be addressed by making the most of digital tools, centralized data, and e-commerce.
Nonetheless, many organizations are still not taking advantage of this opportunity. While 95% of hospitals in the U.S. have electronic patient records systems in place, less than half are using them to coordinate with other provider teams and improve the patient experience.
What’s worse — according to Digital Commerce 360 — only 5-10% of the top 500 digital hospital systems in the U.S. have digital health features that let patients add or update their personal information, or to view treatment plans for their medical conditions.
It’s clear, then, that the healthcare e-commerce space has a significant data problem; organizations are not using the data they do have to meet patient needs, and are also failing to allow patients to easily, digitally manage their own data online.
This will be an even bigger issue as data regulations loom nearer, and more pressure is put on organizations to offer data- and technology-driven experiences in healthcare.
Preparing for the Future: Investing in E-Commerce and Data-Centric Technology
Healthcare needs to invest in e-commerce and data-focused technology to succeed in overcoming the industry’s regulatory challenges and keeping pace with what consumers want. So far, they’re already doing so.
This year, the healthcare industry will spend over $30 billion on e-commerce and web services technology: 5x what retailers spend on the same tools today. This reflects a significant prioritization of e-commerce. But the industry will need to take it even further – here’s why.
By 2023, as a result of the Drug Supply Chain Act (DSCSA), healthcare organizations will have to have complete data and visibility into inventory and processes throughout their supply chain. This means that, for example, each individual unit of pharmaceutical pills will have to be traceable end-to-end throughout the manufacturing and distribution process.
This is a clear use case for an ERP-integrated e-commerce experience, where organizations investing in an ERP can maximize this expenditure by extending its benefits to e-commerce. It also means organizations can more easily centralize their data and business intelligence, without needing to replicate data across their ERP and web store.
Leveraging ERP-Driven Digitization in Healthcare with Sana Commerce
Automation, digitization and integration are all key to healthcare e-commerce success. With Sana Commerce, you can make them a reality for your business; you can also minimize admin tasks (and offer complete clarity for costs centers) and support multiple web store roles and authorizations to simplify a complex industry sales process. Here are some more benefits of healthcare e-commerce with Sana:
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