Healthcare and telemedicine should take a lesson from the retail industry;
23 years later after Amazon begun* the experiment on shifting retail online, we have learned a few things;
1. Digital won’t fully replace physical – shoppers want a multichannel experience, browsing in a store and shopping online, or vice versa.
2. That running a multisided platform that matches retailers to shoppers requires complex and cutting edge IT, removing friction from the experience with endless automation and innovation. Just think of the wonder of telling Alexa to send you milk and having it show up at your doorstep in 2 hours.
3. The Economist reports that US retailers make razor thin 3% profit from physical retail and only 0.5% from online sales. This is because of the likes of Amazon having made free deliver an expected feature of buying online. Eventually these multisided platforms can only be sustainable at large scale monopolistic builds. So future retailers are better off thinking about having an Alibaba or Amazon strategy instead of trying to reproduce the crazy Infrastrucutre and technology needed to have an AI like Alexa send your verbal request to your doorstep in 2 hours.
Moving forward, in healthcare, we really should consider these realities as we rush to innovate around house calls and video consultations.
*and 18 years ago Alibaba begun its experiment on the opposite side of the world