Editor’s note: To introduce you to the domain of healthcare e-commerce, Peter describes 4 main types of medical e-business and explains how they can avoid the common challenges of the digital presence. If your interest in the subject is not purely theoretical, we are also happy to offer you ours e-commerce consulting assistance.
Healthcare has been advancing in recent years, but I must say that the way medical products and treatments are distributed has also advanced significantly. At ScienceSoft, we are increasingly working with healthcare companies that are digitizing themselves to take advantage of:
- An expanded service area.
- Possibility of giving the necessary treatment to domiciled patients.
- A direct sales channel to the consumer.
- Greater involvement of people looking for information related to online health (80% of respondents in the CX care survey conducted by Doctor.com).
- Increased protection of privacy.
However, the transition to digital presence is not always smooth. Today I want to face the common challenges that all types of healthcare e-business face by invoking the experience of my team in their management. But first is the first.
4 forms of medical e-business: peculiarities and real examples
If you are planning an online pharmacy, you have a number of challenges to face. Still, my first words of advice: do the accreditation for NABP, National Association of Pharmacy Boards, your number one priority and put the badge on your website later. I guess trust in online pharmacies is seriously challenged by the number of illegal gamblers selling new unapproved drugs and releasing drugs without a valid prescription. And people naturally have an apprehension of everything that can be potentially dangerous to health.
To sell drugs online, you need one custom ecommerce website integrated with a medical data center of your clients. As an example, check out PillPack – this company helps people manage ongoing treatment and chronic illnesses by delivering supplies of medicines for 14 days divided into daily packages.
Equipment and medical supplies stores
This type is more like the traditional e-commerce business, as it involves selling tangible over-the-counter goods, consumables, and medical devices to both healthcare institutions and people at home. When designing medical e-commerce solutions for such a diverse target audience, our team always considers the possibility of packaging a website with B2C and B2B features alike. For example, individual customers probably need sound guidance for an informed choice, which makes the integration of various customer service tools essential. However, corporate buyers usually have an approved list of supplies to order, but expect dynamic pricing based on the volume of their order.
Modern technologies not only allow for purchase and sale transactions, but also allow for doctor-patient interactions online. I see telemedicine responding to changes in the way people care for their health, from treatment to prevention and early diagnosis. Of course, getting a medical consultation online does not replace a medical examination, but it does capture the need for an in-person visit in time. We have a complete guide on development of telemedicine applications where my colleague Anastasia Yaskevich shares her 5 years of experience in researching the progress of telehealth and the knowledge extracted from the practice of ScienceSoft (for example, the article presents one of our projects: a project that meets with HIPAA). Android version of the Chiron Health platform). Anastasia shares the value of telemedicine:
Telehealth applications create a better schedule for health professionals, save the time of 75% of patients who do not need a physical examination, as well as allow better access to health care for the people who live there. poorly cared for rural areas.
On a medical marketplace website, people can compare prices and choose the best option from the offerings of different healthcare providers, both for products and services. By the way, an advertising presence in the markets is an excellent opportunity to capture an online audience for healthcare centers without their own digital space.
Common challenges in healthcare e-commerce
Despite the multifaceted business landscape in healthcare e-commerce, I see from the experience of our healthcare customers three common challenges that need to be addressed. And while the solutions will have certain specifics for each business, I can now set you the strategic direction.
# 1 Greater involvement of older people
Today, the adoption of digital commerce among older people remains quite limited, as they tend not to trust technologies or feel demotivated to use them. As a result, it is a challenge to involve older people in health e-commerce. However, I love exploring new target audiences (working with their fears, favorite communication channels, incentives, etc.) and will be happy to help you with my ideas on how to get more seniors online. .
Creating awareness as the first step in customer acquisition:
- Use non-digital marketing channels. If you want to interact directly with seniors, get to know them offline with printed marketing materials (e.g., brochures) where you present your business and the new opportunities it represents, explain how to access the website, and offer remote assistance with the first experience.
- Take a new look at the opportunities to influence. Because seniors can do less self-research and rely more on the recommendations of their loved ones, you can target your family members through various marketing channels. Explain to them what modern forms of health care delivery exist and how they can make life easier for their parents and grandparents, ask for their help to drive interest and adoption of technologies.
Adjusting the user experience to reduce the anxiety of older users. Here are some of the best practices that ScienceSoft takes into account when designing healthcare websites:
- Preferably on the home page, guide your users through the end-to-end experience: the steps, the information they need to send, the terms of payment and delivery.
- At each step of a user’s journey, add clear explanations and make sure all actions can be undone to eliminate users ’frustration with an incorrect action.
- Don’t sacrifice usability for aesthetics.
- Organize usability tests before bringing the website to actual users.
# 2 Proper user experience on the go
People often use their mobile phones to search for medical products and services just during or after their visits to healthcare institutions. Therefore, I always advocate a mobile first approach to the development of healthcare e-commerce. It allows you to focus on how mobile users will interact with the website and make sure that all the steps of a user’s journey are perfectly comfortable to perform on the mobile.
As an alternative variant, I suggest considering a PWA solution as it offers a seamless shopping experience, regardless of network quality and fast charging for mobile users. To easily reset, they can install an icon and access the website from the home screen without having to download another mobile app or open a web browser.
# 3 Improved data security
According to the HIPAA safety rule, healthcare e-commerce companies must meet a set of security standards to provide the appropriate technical, administrative, and physical safeguards for protected health information (PHI). For your safety literacy, I give you the safety rules to instill.
- Data encryption.
- Protected access to network resources.
- Periodic security audits.
- Penetration tests to ensure the immunity of the infrastructure.
- Occupational safety training.
- Management of access to information.
- Authorized access to the facilities.
Choose a reliable technology team to put your business online
If you’re determined to put your healthcare business online, you’ll soon be looking for a team of ecommerce developers to get the job done. Choose those who are not unaware of healthcare to proactively guide you through subtle business needs and challenges. Do you have an e-commerce initiative in mind? You are very welcome commit ourselves at any stage!
ScienceSoft offers professional e-commerce implementation services. We have the answer to any questions related to e-commerce.