A survey of e-commerce vendors by Internet Health Management found 68% of vendor respondents considered getting into the healthcare market a “very important” or “important” priority.

Many vendors that established a successful customer base in online retailing have already expanded into the healthcare market and are looking to grow, says a new survey from Internet Health Management.

The survey of e-commerce vendors by Internet Health Management found 68% of vendor respondents considered getting into the healthcare market a “very important” or “important” priority. The survey, which garnered a detailed response from 29 e-commerce technology product and services companies, also found that 54% of e-commerce vendors have plans to begin selling their products and services to healthcare organizations such as hospitals, doctor groups and insurers within the next six months.

72% of e-commerce vendors also said the primary reason for getting into healthcare is to develop a new revenue stream. Some of the biggest names in consumer brand manufacturing, internet services and online retailing are ramping up their healthcare businesses. For example Apple Inc. has three software services, including CareKit, ResearchKit and HealthKit, for the healthcare market aimed at making it quicker and easier for mobile technology developers and consumers to collect and share healthcare data such as steps and heart rate. HealthKit is designed to make it easy for consumers to collect and then share health information with academic hospitals. Meanwhile, Mount Sinai in New York uses ResearchKit to gather and share medical research for clinical trials and CareKit builds mobile apps that enable patients to manage their health and medical conditions and share the data with physicians.

Many vendors that established a successful customer base in online retailing have already expanded into the healthcare market and are looking to grow. That includes such vendors as Akamai Technologies Inc., a developer of content delivery networks, cloud computing and web security products and services; website design and development firm Americaneagle.com; e-commerce platform provider Magento; Salesforce.com Inc., a developer of customer relationship management and related products and services , retail management consulting firm BRP and e-mail services vendor MoreVisibility.

Despite the healthcare market’s complexities, more e-commerce technology and services providers will look to the space as a potential big new market. For example, 48% of respondents to the Internet Retailer survey said they view healthcare as a market comparable to retail for their web or e-commerce product or service.

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But in making the move to healthcare, consistency is the top goal before many others for most e-commerce vendors, says Gene Alvarez, managing vice president and analyst at Gartner Inc. “In retail if a delivery is missed it isn’t life or death,” he says. “In healthcare it is life and death. If a patient is depending on a vendor system to deliver oxygen to a patient who needs it, that system always has to work or someone’s in trouble.”

Click play below to listen to an episode of the Digital Commerce 360 Insights podcast, featuring an interview with Mark Brohan, the author of the “Healthcare E-commerce Opportunities” report.

 

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