Health Care 2020

Bain & Company published an interesting report, that discussed which changes we can expect to happen in the healthcare industry over the coming years. The report talks about massive shifts in the profit pool. Reason enough, to contemplate the impact of these changes e-commerce in healthcare.


The profit pools within the healthcare industry will have undergone massive changes by 2020. At least this is what Bain & Company’s report “Healthcare 2020” suggests. Read the full report here.

To give you an overview of how we think the predicted developments would impact healthcare e-commerce we wrote a short summary below.

General "take-aways" from the report

  • The overall health care sector still has a huge potential for growth due to population and income growth in emerging markets as well as aging populations.
  • Innovation driven pharmaceutical and medical technology companies show declining productivity in the area of research and development and fight with high costs and limited ROI
  • Focus of innovation will switch from the product arena to the delivery of healthcare (overall patient satisfaction, efficiency and clinical outcomes)
  • Companies must be flexible to quickly adapt to changing businessmodels in the market

Drivers of Profit

  • The main profit drivers for the coming years will be a growth in consumer awareness and engagement as well as standardisation or protocolisation of care
  • Highest volume growth will be in contract research, manufacturing and sales and healthcare IT as pharmaceutical companies outsource more functions and demand for data accelerates

Impact of the above drivers on e-commerce

Consumer engagement

Consumer engagement happens mostly through the Internet on desktops as well as mobile devices the online channel will continue to grow and become the primary source of health information for consumers. At the same time, trends like home or tele-healthcare as well as “the quantifiable self” will make the Internet a key source for patient information and access to the collected data will enable professionals to get a much more detailed view of the patient.

This all means that data passing between professionals, consumers and companies will play a key role in defining business relationships and thereby also in the design of e-commerce systems.

Protocolized care

E-commerce already plays a big role in making buying and selling processes more efficient through standardisation. Today though, we see an increased demand for horizontally growing this traditional role of e-commerce systems to cover interactions beyond mere ordering processes.
The reasoning is obvious, if you have built an efficient and widely used customer channel, why not extend it with new value added services while trying to keep the won efficiency? In this way e-commerce systems grow from simple order facilitators to complete customer relationship tools that are used by customers and vendors alike.

In terms of protocolized care this would mean to extend existing e-commerce platforms with solution oriented and approved treatment processes that reduces complexity and lets users easily provide needed data and buy services and products on demand.

Bain & Company’s proposed new businessmodels

Integrated Care Companies

Business Integration of verticals in one company like drugs, care and medical equipment for a limited set of conditions
Drivers Consumer engagement as well as protocolization of care
Focus Patient centric experiences that builds more on patient awareness and engagement
Competence Patient centric experiences and tools, data collection and evaluation

E-commerce impact in our view

  • Needs to be built with professionals and consumers in mind
  • Must be able to combine services and products into complex packages
  • Pre- and posttreatment information must be available
  • Buying of services and products goes hand in hand with collecting and interpreting of customer data
  • Buying process involves multiple decision makers that work together like for example patients and physicians
  • Must be able to reflect partnerships and incorporate multiple vendors in single- or multi-branded offering
  • High security of sensitive personal data is a must

Consumer Marketing Power House

Business Consumer driven health and wellness products for all income groups
Driver Consumer engagement
Focus Merges lifestyle with health care and focuses on consumer wants like for example plastic surgery
Competence Marketing and development of new cross-over services

E-commerce impact in our view

  • The solution should be able to create a strong consumer brand experience
  • The online experience cannot only describe offline services but seamlessly become a part of the services itself
  • Online and offline sales must be highly integrated
  • Must be a customizeable experience that caters to different types of patients and markets
  • High security of sensitive personal data is a must

Disease Population Manager

Business Managing diseases in populations
Driver Protocolization and standardisation of care
Competence Focus in epidemiology, policy, education, behaviors

E-commerce impact in our view

  • Primarily targets professionals in its commercial form
  • Selling, procuring and integrating data are key activities
  • Easy integration to government and NGO standards of protocol and data exchange are essential
  • Ordering processes should be directly associated with treatment protocols for biggest efficiency gains
  • High security of sensitive personal data is a must

What are your views on the future of healthcare and how will healthcare and e-commerce mutually influence each other?