Written by admin November 8, 2017 0 comment

The projections of recent years in electronic commerce in health show a high rate of growth associated with the growth and security of Internet transactions. It is estimated a current traffic that doubles every hundred days and that in the United States alone supports eighty-three million users; partly thanks to the annual growth rate of 500 percent of electronic commerce transactions.

Despite the increase in the use of the Internet and surpassing all other channels of remote purchasing, including catalog and telemarketing channels, the health market is very likely to exceed $ 1 trillion in the next decade in the healthcare industry. Colombia.

The behavior of digital patients is still growing with a preference for purchases almost in the same percentage as in physical stores over digital channels, 33% to 30% respectively. In any case, of all the e-patients available in our country, almost a third do not have a clear preference to buy digitally or face-to-face, being able to buy them both ways, but if almost all of them look for more information on the Web related to their Health.

With respect to the electronic commerce market in health, this can be divided in general into two areas at the global level B2C (purchases in Web portals to the consumer) and B2B for suppliers (using EDI (electronic data interchange).

The health marketplace challenges described below focus on the B2C modality.

Current status and gap in electronic commerce in health

Some important data to understand the virtual population in health, which reaches 9% of all transactions, is the behavior of purchases that are generally made from desktop computers (94%), smart phones (49%) and tablets ( 26%), where purchases with a credit card in Colombia predominate with 60%.

Currently, Internet access for virtual purchases in health is made by women and men in ranges of 26 to 35 years (43%) and even less (18 to 25 years, 29%), showing that younger populations consume medications for direct sales to the consumer (over the counter, OTC), with an emphasis on weekends Sundays and Mondays as days with the highest frequency of purchases.

In Colombia, the OTC consumer has average values ​​of payment per order and low recurrence of frequent purchases (ticket value per order of $ 29,000 pesos and recurrence of purchase close to 10%), mostly punctual purchases with an independent coverage of the behavior of the consumer, that in health shows a greater frequency in the interaction of the Web with emphasis in search of the so-called expert systems.

Expert systems are designed programs that mimic the behavior of experts. The most outstanding uses of expert systems are to solve problems of diagnosis, interpretation and type of prescription. Although the use of expert systems has not ignored the field of health care, the scope has been very limited, given the multitude of problems that could be addressed and the complexity of health.

For example, expert systems can help a patient with questions about medical coverage, standard diagnostic codes for reimbursement in insurers, diagnosis of diseases, fraud detection, disease information and reminders of well-being and healthy lifestyles, to name a few. themes

In summary, the gap in Colombia in marketplace in health are the supply chain channels present for OTC, which focus on wanting to be the same distributors and domicile of medicines, seeking cost reduction and unit sales, without wanting to take advantage of the continuous connection with patients, as generators of expert systems as mechanisms of recurrent purchases and greater fidelity (currently it reaches 10%).

Taking advantage of the patient-provider relationship

The virtual sales of medicines have occupied the vast majority of transactions through the Internet and represent for some years the maturation in the digital enlistment of patients to virtual purchases, which for the most part open a new form of communication with the providers of products and services, in the so-called patient-provider relationship, with electronic mail being the outstanding connection mechanism in this relationship.

However, the behavior of patients and the approach to e-commerce has been addressed in a different way. In general, health care is recognized by searching for digital information on the Web, converting web browsers into automatically informed consumers, where searches are made to make decisions that involve their health or that of their family members, as well as like many other activities of which they do not have relation with intention of purchase.


Apparently the solutions in the market are different from the needs of patients to consider themselves as two separate forces. One where the patient looks for an integral solution (questions, treatments, searches about his illness, appointments, recurring purchases) and another in marketplaces that focus on the unit sale, mostly purchases of medicines or OTC products (Over the Counter). list 1.


Unit sale of medicines
Search for treatments for your disease
Centralization in OTC
Questions about medications
New advances on his condition
Appointments with the doctor of your illness
Experience of products for sale
News communication
Drugs grouped by condition
Products reviewed by doctors
Georeferencing care sites
Recurring purchases (refill)
Taking advantage of the patient-provider relationship

According to recognized authors on health innovation issues, almost all major technological advances are overestimated in the short term and underestimated in the long term. It is for this reason, that it is necessary to refine a virtual strategy on the future approaches of the patient to turn it into a recurrent visitor in the marketplace, where several needs can be unified in connectivity models.

In the new models of e-marketing in health, we seek to integrate copies or documents downloaded directly from people’s medical information sources, which are housed in “independent portals” that are largely separated from the doctor’s act, or from copies of the system (summaries of history, attention) and that are connected forming a bridge between the consumers and the provider.

These new models involve other connectivity platforms and services that connect patients with mechanisms other than email, such as virtual triage, sending recipes, scheduling appointments, content portals for consumers, content sites for doctors, management support of medical offices with quality functions.

The search for a successful solution will then focus on being able to provide continuity in one place, to all the needs of patients and in overcoming the unit sale of products that are created sporadically in the supplier-patient relationship.

To create these new value opportunities in the supplier-patient relationship, four fundamental pillars of the marketplace have to be improved: the opportunity, communication, attention and comfort that impact the graphic interface and its usability experience.