Is Facebook Positioned to Change the Medical Market?

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Our country’s unsustainable healthcare model is driving consumerism and creativity like never before. Faced with astronomical out-of-pocket expenses, many U.S. patients are bartering for medications on Facebook or traveling to countries such as India or Thailand for heart transplants and knee replacements. International medical tourism as well as Facebook’s bartering communities are outcomes of a broken system. And they are here to stay. Stakeholders who harness this movement will win. Will you?

Medication Bartering on Facebook

In a recent online article for NBC News, Ben Popken reports that patients struggling to afford medications are turning to Facebook for help. Popken says:

“Desperate patients are swapping pricey pharmaceutical drugs on Facebook. Doctors say it’s dangerous. But when you need a drug every day to survive, you’re going to find a way to get it. It shouldn’t be that surprising. You can buy, sell or trade almost anything on Facebook, from designer sneakers to unwanted fishing boats to antique medical cots. Now, even life-saving insulin.[1]

Consumers forced to take healthcare into their own hands are disrupting the healthcare status quo permanently. Companies like Facebook, Apple and Google offer an accessibility for people to reach each other in an unprecedented way. This not only opens channels for world-wide communication, but also for commerce.

U.S. Hospitals and Physicians Losing Business to Other Countries

People are looking at options and many are taking advantage of lower costs internationally. This means that U.S. hospitals and providers are losing business. Lots of business. Patients Beyond Borders, a medical tourism company, estimates the medical tourism market is worth between $45.5 and 72 billion, “based on approximately 14 million cross-border patients worldwide spending an average of USD 3,800-6,000 per visit, including medically-related costs, cross-border and local transport, inpatient stay and accommodations.”[2] The countries outside of the U.S. who are winning the revenue include Costa Rica, India, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey, according to the company.

And these countries know how to woo consumers by publishing real costs. Take, India, for example. Autumn Yates, author of an article about medical tourism for Highya, says, “Unlike hospitals in the United States, Bumrungrad is upfront about costs on their website, listing the approximate cost for dozens of procedures in US dollars—you can search pricing by procedure here. Note that these prices include food, a private room, and private nurse.”[3]

Healthcare’s Big Disruption is Huge Opportunity for U.S. Medical Market

Companies like Facebook, Apple and Google are poised to take advantage of both the bartering and tourism phenomenon to disrupt healthcare in an unparalleled fashion. And HealthQRS’ unique medical marketplace platform offers the uniquely disruptive technology to allow them to do it. HealthQRS has built a platform that anyone can use to create an online medical marketplace. For instance, Facebook could use HealthQRS’ system to open up a medical marketplace for their members and literally create the largest online medical market in the world.

Cost is the driving factor in healthcare today. There is a huge opportunity for service providers, payers, employers and companies such as Facebook to partner to provide a win-win-win solution in healthcare. Whoever gives people tools to search for healthcare services and procedures, see exact costs, make choices, schedule the procedure, and save money by paying upfront will win. HealthQRS has the platform to make it happen.

How It Works

HealthQRS’ innovative, cutting edge technology combines metrics from provider contract rates with payers, insurance verification, patient financial responsibility, payer claims adjudication logic, and in a millisecond, calculates the patient’s exact out-of-pocket expense. No one else is doing this. Our e-commerce strategy facilitates an online healthcare experience for consumers with shopping, scheduling and paying for procedures and services. People can find you and your services and procedures via smartphones, tablets or computers. Our powerful algorithms calculate the exact, true amount, not just estimates, that they will owe.

We have over 12 years of experience developing retail experiences for consumers. We can have your group set up in a matter of weeks at your point-of-service and online, with a Retail Medical Marketplace customized just for you. And because we are a software as a service (SaaS), you don’t incur any capital expenses, only a low monthly fee.

HealthQRS can help you establish an e-commerce retail solution that will attract consumers and push them to your “storefronts,” i.e., your hospitals, clinics and practices and grow your market share. We can install retail solutions in your storefronts with retail solutions that allow your office teams to tell consumers exactly what they owe. You can provide automated alerts to patients for necessary preventive services they need as well as how much they will cost, and they can schedule and pay for those services right from the alert. These cutting-edge features are popular with employers and can serve as a marketing tool for your organization, helping you to expand your reach and become the “go to” facility for healthcare.

We have perfected the art of shopping online for healthcare and have created a truly disruptive technology that allows the healthcare industry to be revolutionized into the consumer market. Give us a few minutes and we can demonstrate how to provide true prices – not just estimates – for your services and procedures. We can help consumers find and use you providing an easy-to-use retail experience filled with convenience, connection and consideration for their cost concerns. Click here to schedule a demo, or feel free to contact us with any questions.

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[1] Ben Popken, “Patients Beg for Pricey Drugs on Facebook Black Market,” NBCnews.com, May 11, 2017, http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/patients-beg-pricey-drugs-facebook-black-market-n754266

[2] Patients Beyond Borders, https://patientsbeyondborders.com/medical-tourism-statistics-facts

[3] Autumn Yates, “Medical Tourism 101: Costs, Risks & Popular Destinations,” Highya, July 14, 2016, http://www.highya.com/articles-guides/medical-tourism-101-costs-risks-and-popular-destinations

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