Written by admin November 7, 2017 0 comment

Amazon in healthcare retail: Pillpack case

The purchase of a recent startup – created at MIT hackathon – to the largest retailer in the world (Amazon), is a good example of the transformation of marketplaces to online services 100% of pharmacies. Pillpack creates the daily doses pre-packed with the daily intake delivered at home at a lower price, the medicines packaged at a lower price and with fewer problems in the distribution chains (wait in long lines, travel to pharmacies to stop medicines that require special chronic diseases).

This example brings together the benefits of retail that patients seek, along with the strengths of a world-class distributor such as Amazon, who acquired the Pillpack for 1.5 trillion dollars; Showing the importance of closing the gap in innovation for pharmacies, which exceed the simple sale of OTC online in countries like Colombia.

Barriers to entry to new e-commerce models

The main entry barriers to an online sales portal for health products and services includes the participation and adherence mechanism of the different health actors (EPS, doctors, as well as organizational structures and software ownership models among the suppliers).

The critical step in the development of an Internet strategy aimed at the consumer in a way that is successful and valuable, is to create a platform where they are valued above the fast and effective search engine of products, along with other qualitative benefits derived from the supplier and that thanks artificial intelligence allow the association of products, treatment experience, scientific update of trends and new discoveries related to the patient’s illness so that “free” navigation is extended to find new benefits that produce real savings.

Within the market trends, it could be argued that over time an e-marketplace that offers specific benefits can be converted into a preference of the consumer (custom) or the supplier with an increase in market share and, therefore, become in a subsequent increase in sales; But the truth in trends of virtual sales market in health, it is better to promote the grouping of by-products in the sale created from a self-financing effort that can generate momentum and profitability from the beginning.

Some examples of byproducts include the use of artificial intelligence to integrate complete treatments in packages (lists) on demand or by vendor positioning, or better still by associating ICD-10 codes for the patient.

Until now, the value offers focus on showing evidence of search results made by other consumers, rankings or post-sale reviews of experiences verified in previous purchases. Therefore, it is important to centralize, besides the definition of value offers, the real scope at the beginning of the evaluation process of options and to make critical decisions in terms of project size, impact on operations, activation time, general cost, etc.

But more importantly, it is to obtain a traction flag in a large number of visitors that allows generating in each user a better risk-reward balance of great scope. Here the key point, is that as the marketplace increase in scope, increase their services and products, but also generally take longer to implement and penetrate more into the current operations of users, which in the end increases the risk of meaningful way

Many marketplaces are good because they are based on the best and most well-known e-commerce platforms, which, due to their general characteristics, do the same, but otherwise fail due to the size of the complexity of the logistics and the prolonged time of commercialization. There are, however, good centralization strategies in raising resources that for now outweigh the worn-out advertising pattern of the pharmacy market, due to the indiscriminate use of virtual advertising in search engines by Adsense, Adwords that, in addition to obtaining dispersed results, can violate the confidentiality agreement and HIPAA standards of patients.

Success strategies between the marketplace and the patient

The following is a series of transactions between provider and patient that seek as a result a mutual benefit for both parties and allow extending the relationship with the consumer before and after the sale.

• Artificial intelligence for Triage orientation of pre-care symptoms:


• Artificial intelligence for Triage orientation of pre-care symptoms:

Not all the start in the marketplace should be the search engine. To improve the entry into the operation of a provider, the function of a virtual bot allows centralizing the virtual questions of patients, either by symptoms or general oriented questions that can be performed by artificial intelligence so that the patient’s communication is routed to an appropriate product list to take measurements.

• Appointments and schedules:

More than a punctual sale, the marketplace must efficiently position the lists to integrate, which take the user to consultation services that in turn integrate the dating platforms.

• Repository of recipes:

It offers storage in a patient portal digital recipes to be stored manually or by electronic routing, when necessary. Medical care is not necessary, but the process of securing the medication to prevent medication switching.

• Post-care follow-up:

To avoid the post-sale closure of the marketplace visits circle and maintain traction, electronic communication is also used to encourage drug compliance and to send patient health reviews to reinforce or request information with the marketplace.

• Management of chronic diseases:

It seeks to group communities for high-cost pathologies and continuous care, to maintain a continuous online communication that allows patients to provide data or questions about problems such as diabetes, hypertension or obesity.

• Reminders:

Each user can activate, from their patient portal, SMS message alerts to the cell phone that remind patients of periodic exams, age-related tests and upcoming appointments are useful to keep patients busy attentive to important schedules and issues. Health.

• Broadcast messages:

It is possible to make a mass communication to the mail through filters assigned by the provider, age, sex, the state of the disease or some combination of patient characteristics that form a target population for communication. The messages may be relevant news about a new medication, diet or diagnostic tests, which may include the interpretation of a provider. Others can be seasonal tips on allergies or safe storage of food, news from suppliers, etc. You can define adherence strategies to the platform to reactivate broadcast messages in cases of recurring and active users.

Barriers to communication, data belonging, security

Although most EPS or IPS use mass mailing list subscriptions by email as a solution for patient communications, current email systems have some serious problems, and many disadvantages, such as sending spam without requesting cancellation from the list, the inability to filter by the patient to change group or interests in automated health message submissions, the competition between health spam that depersonalizes the value of the message, the resistance to continuous sending and aversion to review messages about diseases in periods of positivism and well-being.

Although e-mail only has limitations such as those mentioned above, it is useful in combination with more robust web-based solutions, such as the marketplace.

In particular, email is good for notifying patients of new messages, information, etc. they are available through the patient-portal marketplace, often with simple market strategies such as mentioning that an important message or a significant advance has reached the patient’s patient portal’s message inbox.

Information security, privacy and regulation

With regard to information security, privacy and regulation, it is important to highlight the encrypted and secure handling of the patient portal, previous orders as well as purchase history, alerts of interest, etc., as these features of e-commerce generate traceability of the user, and of course it is possible to encrypt the user data according to the current rules for handling personal information data.

There is a certain consensus that the medical data belong to the patient and that the providers have a management function in their management, custody and storage regulated by the clinical history.

The uncertainty surrounding the clinical history itself and the transactions identifiable by the patient that involve, for example, orders, results, diagnosis and claims.


Ownership of the data must also be clear between the provider and the provider in a modality of terms and conditions endorsed by the provider before local regulation.

Special attention should be paid to the roles and responsibilities of the provider, and any access or right to patient data. The best strategy is to optimize the handling of patient data individually encrypted within the e-commerce, so that other users or accesses not allowed can not access the user’s identification. in “pure or liquid form” according to data use rights.

A factor of success in the security of the marketplace that has always been a fear in the virtual handling of the patient’s traceable information on the Web is the construction of an uninterrupted core of security in each process of the patient portal in the marketplace that is You can base on thread encryption using Blockchain.

Ad Marketing in subsidized solutions

It is common to offer advertising and other subsidies within the marketplace to fully or partially compensate the support prices or prices, or discounts are generally exchanged for the right to place brands on banners or other advertising at strategic points in the system. However, this marketing environment can be seen by the user as a nuisance and intercepts privacy.

Although within the marketplace the guideline occupies a strategic place, the wear of Facebook and Google in advertising make direct health advertising not the best strategy to change your mind once you have entered the name of a brand of medicine in The search engine or in a list of results obtained, it is unlikely that the user will change their purchase decision by a digital notice within the platform.

The best marketing strategies are to maintain the same pricing strategy and up to impressions or medication time with the pharmacy but incorporating artificial intelligence strategies for drug listings in the same way that results search results are positioned in a metasearch engine using SEM and SEO on the web but applied to the environment of medicines, treatments, appointments, etc. and even by adapting to the moment of the results by interpolating the disease codes (ICD-10), in the same way that offers are adapted in intelligent air ticket platforms that seek to avoid these commercial models and the current service offers confused by the large number of overlapping products and sometimes, are confusing, by filtering searches in metasearch engines.

Simplifying the complex relationship in the delivery chain

With regard to the complex relationship in the delivery chain of the medication at home from virtual purchases, an excellent solution consists of the association with existing domicile channels in central and main cities and others through the click-and-collect strategy, which allows avoiding Switching medications by generic or other substitute brands.

The click-and-collect strategy requires a high-quality computer base that allows direct connection from the platform with the smart collect system, so that when the intermediaries are withdrawn, the price of medicines drops considerably.

Another key success factor is the traceability thread from the digital formulation that allows doctors through a simple and fast software to use encrypted information based on blockchain technology from the same office to interconnect the platform to the digital formulation that prevents traffic from medicines, which includes among other catalogs of medicines with photos, Prescription Analyzes which reduces the pharmacoresistance in patients and improves processes and inventory of medicines.

Traction on the part of patients as a success factor

Providers must also realize that not all patients can and will adopt Internet-based communications. Many patients with chronic diseases are elderly and adherence strategies fall on family members or their caregivers.

The analysis should be extended to the prognoses of patient adoption, based largely on the success of these communication models, the patient demographics, the long-term direction of medical care, along with a number of other factors. In this regard, there are already clear strategies to centralize e-commerce health efforts to be successful.

In the meantime, providers should consider converting their marketplace into a hybrid platform between the rigorous information that hospitals and outpatients have at the hospital level and the health tools the patient needs that are nowadays supplied in terms of traction and adherence. In its great majority, and adherence is referred to in its great majority by the Google search engine and virtual stores of dispatch centers or drugstores.

Several versions of “retail health” have already emerged, but for the most part they are extensive retail service extensions that have a chapter in health (Amazon) or virtual pages of OTC medicines (Over The Counter) , which can be sold without medical formula.
In the market today you can find several solutions and marketing strategies that seek the best solutions that provide a base of support for consumer-led health transactions and create an environment where patient health data can be accumulated and controlled. by the patient, but under the guidance of a provider.

Future for market places from the US to Colombia

In the United States, the change is already underway to strengthen the doctor-patient relationship that increasingly brings the marketplaces closer, with needs for patient digitalization.

This change allows offering an added value in terms of proposal -for Medicare- where virtual check-ins will begin to be paid, which means that patients can communicate with their doctor by phone or video chat, which will resolve the patient concerns and thus avoid unnecessary costs for the system including its formulation in addition to the online sale, which is not intended to replace office visits, but rather increase them and provide new access points for patients with greater adherence to treatments.

The moment of virtualization of “online-pharmacies” tend increasingly to be CMS, with greater benefits for users constitute a very suitable field in investment for the entry of Amazon to Colombia.