Why aren’t you implementing an e-commerce and storefront strategy like Amazon?

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Amazon just made headlines with its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods. As the retail giant blends the storefront model with its e-commerce approach, it stands to truly dominate retail sales. Associated Press technology writer, Anick Jesdanun, explains the possibilities for an industry coup: “Amazon could try to use automation and data analysis to draw more customers to stores while helping Whole Foods cut costs and perhaps prices. Meanwhile, the more than 460 Whole Foods stores in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. could be turned into distribution hubs — not just for delivering groceries, but also as pickup centers for online orders.”[1]

Juxtaposed with Amazon’s success is healthcare’s floundering, antiquated approach to business. Waiting for patients to show up, then waiting for months to get pennies on the dollar for reimbursement is clearly not working as almost every day another hospital closes or declares bankruptcy. Bankruptcies, closures, layoffs, and cutting programs are all symptoms of a broken system that has not moved to consumerism.

Imagine if Amazon conducted business this way: People buy an item without knowing the cost and about 30 to 90 days later they get a paper invoice in the mail. Then they wait about three or four months to pay the bill, or they don’t pay at all, and Amazon is forced to turn over the bad debt to collections where they will receive about 13 cents on the dollar. That is how healthcare continues to operate and why the financial statistics are so dismal.

Consumerism in healthcare is here to stay

Out of 321 million U.S. residents, 130 million use Medicare or Medicaid to pay for healthcare services. Of the 190 million left, 28 million are uninsured.[2] Of the 162 million who have commercial insurance, 75 million, or 46% have high deductible plans.[3] The fact that so many people are dealing with large out-of-pocket sums means that they are now thinking with their wallets and are going to shop around.

According to InstaMed’s “Trends in Healthcare Payments Seventh Annual Report,” 92% of consumers want to know payment responsibility prior to a provider visit.[4] And 68% percent of consumers prefer electronic payment methods and 20% pay via a mobile device. Yet an astounding 86% of consumers receive paper medical bills.[5] It is time to catch up with the rest of the world and meet people where they are and want to be: online.

Embracing consumerism = healthcare’s healthy future

Amazon isn’t the only company who knows how to use market forces to its advantage. Tesla goes directly to its consumers, bypassing dealerships. Healthcare providers could do the same and use e-commerce to “go direct” to consumers. The high cost of healthcare, forcing many people to trade medications on social media platforms like Facebook, has created an online marketplace already. The stage is set for medical e-commerce to explode and could, if healthcare industry stakeholders embrace the e-commerce model. If providers, payers and employers work together with a medical e-commerce platform created by HealthQRS, they’ll have the makings of healthcare’s version of Amazon’s success.

Consumerism is here to stay. It’s beyond mystifying that the healthcare industry as a whole has not embraced it and used it to its advantage. And there’s no need to wait for legislation to turn things around. The means exists to completely transform healthcare into a retail system with both e-commerce and storefront models working together in a symbiotic relationship to help consumers find, schedule and pay for services and procedures from easy-to-use apps on their smartphones, tablets or computers.

Medical e-commerce can transform healthcare

An e-commerce strategy allows providers and payers to tell consumers exactly what it will cost them for any procedure or service. E-commerce allows instant scheduling from a mobile device. You can work with your consumers to set up a payment plan to help them pay you. This is treating your customers the way they want to be treated because they are comfortable in e-commerce platforms like Amazon. E-commerce changes the experience and draws people into your storefront, i.e., your hospital or practice or your telemedicine. It helps payers because online shopping allows consumers to see a list of services and procedures, with the associated costs, so that they can make an educated choice.

HealthQRS ties it all together with our innovative, cutting edge technology. Our platform 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 healthcare providers, 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 healthcare retail experiences for consumers and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. We can have providers, payers or facilities set up in a matter of weeks at the point-of-service and online. And because we are a software as a service (SaaS), our customers 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 grow your market share. We can install retail solutions in your “storefronts,” i.e., your hospitals, clinics and practices, 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.

It’s time for you to disrupt the status quo and utilize both an e-commerce and storefront retail solution for your patients. Why not  contact us right now for more information or click here to schedule a demo? We invite you to learn more about HealthQRS’ solutions and turn your situation around today.  Click here for a quick, 6-minute video about our e-commerce strategy.

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[1] Anick Jesdanun, “Shoppers may see big changes after Amazon buys Whole Foods,” ABC News, June 17, http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/shoppers-big-amazon-buys-foods-48099864

[2] “Health Insurance Coverage,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/health-insurance.htm

[3] Morgan Haefner, “10 things to know about 2016 healthcare consumer payment trends,” Becker’s CFO Report, June 13, 2017, http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/10-things-to-know-about-2016-healthcare-consumer-payment-trends.html

[4] InstaMed, “Trends in Healthcare Seventh Annual Report,” https://www.instamed.com/blog/trends-in-healthcare-seventh-annual-report-2016/

[5] Ibid.

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