With news this month that Amazon may be eyeing up the lucrative $560 billion US prescription drug market, what does that mean for the Rx market over the pond? And how is the move of tech behemoths into healthcare shaping our professional media market?
Just a few weeks ago, Goldman Sachs released a 30-page report outlining the potential for Amazon to disrupt the US prescription market, and how they would most likely go about it. In short, the most probable route is to partner with an existing Pharmacy Benefits Manager, who act as an intermediary between payers, like health insurers, and the rest of the health system.
With the vast differences in Rx practices between US and EMEA (generally), the EMEA market would be significantly more difficult to enter. But might they consider starting with OTC products? Perhaps creating a trusted ‘Amazon Health’ service (mimicking Amazon Fresh) to drive product recommendations to patients? Whether overtly or through their search algorithms presenting certain products over others, who knows!
Other multi-billion dollar companies are already investing within the healthcare space. Apple’s health Apps are now implicitly part of their products, and Alphabet’s life sciences arm, Verily Life Sciences, is doing some incredible things in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry. Such as the GSK/Verily joint venture called Galvani Bioelectronics and the Novartis/Verily joint venture to develop an autofocus contact lens.
Apple disrupted the Music industry. Google disrupted the digital search industry. Netflix disrupted the television broadcast industry. Who will disrupt the healthcare professional B2B publishing industry?
What will it look like if these tech giants turn their attention to the healthcare professional media space, and is the industry ready?
IBM Watson, the cognitive computer system from IBM, is already helping healthcare professionals to learn, diagnose and manage patient care better. Through mining patient data, examining available data sources in order to form and test hypotheses, and present a list of tiered recommendations for the HCP.
What would happen to the traditional HCP media ecosystem if these mechanisms were extended to HCP media? How would this affect the way in which HCP media is consumed?
With shifts in how content is tagged and presented by publishers, HCPs could become accustomed to ultra-personalised clinical content, specific to both their particular specialty and to multiple inputs on their reading preferences.
The commercialisation of professional media has bound forward with programmatic advertising and yet there are few that are taking this intelligent personalised approach to the content that it surrounds.
As HCPs become increasingly digitally focused, patient appointments become increasingly digitally centric and healthcare records become increasingly digitally accessible it will be the organisations that best use this data collaboratively that will set itself aside and become the new disrupter.
Richard Springham is digital lead in the Four Health Media team.