Do you want to expand your business into global markets with minimal cost? Do you want to target your segmented markets with more maximum competitive advantage without any costly trade barriers on top of it?! Only one option can help you to remove distance and obstacles between you and your customer: E-commerce! Obviously, with the digital revolution, over the few years it has become an attracting marketing option for many industries. Struggling operational challenges and competitiveness push this phenomenal growth all around the World.
With your e-commerce sites, you can easily gather information about consumers’ behaviour, desires and many details in their profiles, accordingly you can create personalized product or services. Particularly, given the growth of acceptability of online channels usage, well-crafted web based offerings facilitate delivery of good and services between major stakeholder, employee, customer and providers (Mahajan and Agarwal, 2015).
When we talk about the e-commerce, generally niche clothing brands, fashion industry or online stores are the first things coming into our minds, right? But, how about the health care industry using an e-commerce model?
Telehealth is one of the most innovative e-commerce appliances that can remove the time and distance barriers between health care providers and patients. Telehealth, in other words ‘healing at a distance ‘provide patients with enormous opportunities to reach medical care, information and continuous education by professionals through current information and communication technologies (WHO 2010).
In Great Britain, Australia, North America and Scandinavia has begun to focus on clinical management and diagnosis by using teleconsultation via multimedia approaches (e.g. digital imagery and video). In particular, for low income regions where only have limited health infrastructure, telemedicine ensures sustainable care services and enhanced educational supports about personal care. Imagine that! Patients who cannot go far away to get their regular their treatments don’t need to anymore be admitted hospital. With well-positioned telehealth program, they can take advantage of teleradiology, telepathology or even teledermotology services.
According to California Telehealth Resource center (2016), this program reduces the waiting time for neurologist from 9 months to only 3 days! Moreover, totally waiting time for one medical specialist was went down by around 99 per cent.
Of course, telemedicine is used for non-emergency issues when a person wants to get a physician’s advice but don’t necessarily to be seen in the office. Importantly, it is useful for urgent follow-up cases when the office is closed. In particular, for tech-savvy younger patients or working people who do not have generally time to visit hospital during weekdays, this system provides flexible health care service options. Instead of spending hours by sitting in waiting rooms and paying lots of money on top of it, interactive and face-to-face consultation telemedicine makes patient feel better and special! Maybe, in some aspects, it would not replace patient-physician encounters that we used to, but it adds value to current doctor-patient relationships.
As we can imagine, system brings big advantage to doctors for regular examinations of their patients who live in rural with limited access to hospitals. Accordingly, by saving time and eliminating bad travel and weather conditions, doctors automatically can increase the number of people they treat. Specialized data management and application software allows patients’ videos, voices and images to be collected and transmitted as diagnostic information. Thus, doctors can benefit from analysing data, printing reports as a customized format or archive in medical history of patients’ personalized database. Moreover, when we consider the billions of dollars wasting money for unnecessary hospitalization each year, minimized hospital stays enhanced efficacy and capacity of current health care system (AMD 2016).
mHealth News shows that one telehealth implementation consisting of 9 hospitals and including 1.4 million people reduced 67 per cent hospitalization and 68 percent in hospital bed days. Sounds huge benefit for not only patients and health care providers, but also for governments’ health budget, doesn’t it?
AMD 2016, Telemedicine FAQs, AMD Global Telemedicine, retrieved 14 May 2016, < http://www.amdtelemedicine.com/telemedicine-resources/telemedicine-faqs.html>.
California Telehealth Network 2016, Developing a telehealth marketing plan: a Step by Step guide, California Telehealth Resource Center, retrieved 14 May 2016, < http://www.caltrc.org/knowledge-center/ctrc-publications/program-guides/developing-a-telehealth-marketing-plan-a-step-by-step-guide/>.
Cascardo, D 2015, ‘Telemedicine: Advancing from Idea to Implementation’, The Journal Of Medical Practice Management: MPM, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 82-84, retrieved 14 May 2016, MEDLINE Complete, EBSCOhost.
Mahajan, P, & Agarwal, M 2015, ‘Exploring the Potential of E-Commerce in the Digital Age: Challenges and Opportunities for Commerce Education’, IUP Journal of Information Technology, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 46-56, retrieved 14 May 2016, EBSCOhost.
WHO 2010, Telemedicine: Opportunities and developments in Member States, Report On The Second Global Survey On eHealth, Global Observatory for eHealth Series, vol. 2, retrieved 14 May 2016, WHO Library Cataloguing, < http://www.who.int/goe/publications/goe_telemedicine_2010.pdf>.