Manufacturers are building up direct delivery models in response to increasing online and home care channels. The online pharmaceutical markets will grow to $128 billion by 2023. Services will be pushed from hospital or clinics, to a home care environment to increase customer convenience and reduce cost of care. Mobile healthcare professionals provide treatment at patient homes or close to home. Treatment kits will be delivered to the healthcare professional prior to the home visit or delivered to the home directly. These changes require new direct delivery models by manufacturers.
Developments and implications
Increasing online pharmacies orders and platforms that offer healthcare products/services on-demand will require adoption of e-commerce strategies. Chinese e-commerce giants such as Alibaba and JD.com are investing heavily in China’s $1.1 billion online pharmacy market. Services such as UberHEALTH in the US, offering on-demand delivery of flu vaccinations, provide convenient and affordable healthcare platforms. In India, where 25 percent of drugs are believed to be counterfeit, online pharmacy startups provide quality-assured medicines to customers where registered pharmacies might not be easily accessible.
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In other words, on-demand delivery models will be utilized by hospitals for time-critical deliveries of all items, ranging from medical parts to surgical kits, cost-effectively. Instead of maintaining large inventories on-site, medical device manufacturers can work with logistics partners to utilize logistics consolidation centres to supply products/parts based on near-future demand. Some manufacturers have already begun to adopt these models.
Meanwhile, demand for point-of-care diagnostic kits or remote monitoring devices is expected to grow with increasing inclination towards home care. This will require different supply chain models for spare parts and consumables. Kits such as the Roche Accu-Chek Connect Meter, which sends a patient’s blood sugar levels to their doctors for real-time remote management of diabetes, are increasingly popular. LSHC firms can expect final mile delivery models of such kits to include end-to-end options (for delivery of spare parts for high-value kits; including returns) as well as subscription-based delivery models (for regular consumables and prescriptions).
Key opportunities and challenges
From our observations, healthcare on-demand will allow manufacturers to sell directly to consumers, giving them increased visibility in the sales channel, while the patients benefit from increased convenience. On-demand medical devices and parts delivery to hospitals, leveraging consolidation centres, will create value for manufacturers and hospitals. A growing field of point-of-care and remote monitoring kits will require innovative delivery models from logistics providers.
However, there might also be some challenges to this advancement. For instance, online channels and platforms will require stringent compliance and credibility checks, with constant pressures to be cost-competitive, and direct distribution channels need to address possible liability issues in case of misuse of drugs or devices sent for home use. These are two big concerns every healthcare industry must acknowledge furthering the advancement in on-demand healthcare delivery.
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