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E- Business Strategy American Well

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Question:

Discuss about the E- Business strategy American Well.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

American Well Company is an online health facility where clients can access the medical specialists via online platforms that has proper human interface for easy interaction between the doctor and the patient. The service also utilizes telephony platforms to link the doctor and the patient. The telephony services include USSD platforms as well as voice and message calls. This company was rounded by two brothers namely Ida Schoenberg and Roy Schoenberg back in the year 2009. Since then the company has enjoyed considerable success in their business having several blue chip Insurance companies in United States signing up for the program. This meant the company penetration into the market was outstanding. This paper will provide an E-strategy for the American Well Company using business canvas model. At a glance the American market for the company is very healthy considering that in 2009 when the company was starting, the American health-care expenditure was at $ 2.5 trillion and is projected to rise to $4.3 trillion by the year 2018. To put this into perspective it represents a budget of $ 13,100 per American citizen by the year 2018 going to the health related expenditure. At back of the mind of the two proprietors of American Well is the though of launching new product line or application in the market following successful rolling out of their first online clinic where doctors attends to patients online. The new product was “team edition”, which, if launched, will see primary care Physicians and specialist connected to the patient at the same time instead of the patient having to create different time for the two medical officers. This proposal will reflect on the new strategies proposed earlier on, using the following mentioned structure; the analysis will touch on the key partners within the context of the new strategy to be deployed by the American well. Key activities will also be focused on and value propositions addressed as well. The customer relation- how the company should relate with its customers in relation to these strategies and segmentation of the market into different segments where the company can apply best strategies based on the particular market segment consumer behavior. The analysis will then address the cost structure associated with the company strategy and the revenue streams.  

 

Current strategies

Currently American well company focuses on bringing on board all the medical cover insurance companies in United States. The insurance companies would then update the cover to include online platforms where the doctor will see the patient either through telephone conversation or online platforms. The more the number of medical insurance companies that sign up for this service the more American well Company can have in terms of clients who are served online.

The company also ensures it has as many as possible primary care doctors and specialist doctors on board so that at no given time will the patient queue online waiting to be served by the medical officer. If this was to happen then it will beat the logic and the central idea of online medical service which primarily aimed at saving time for the patients.  This strategy was also meant to distribute workload among the doctors in the US. If a patient dials his or her phone to engage online doctor or uses online platform, the innovation avails the number of doctors available at that time complete with their locations, ratings among other details. The patient ill then be at liberty to choose anyone among those on the list. This strategy ensures that the client will always have wide range of variety of doctors to choose from as opposed to having one option of doctor to see in the case of physical visit. (Al-Essa et al., 2010)

Another strategy the American Well company is currently employing is bringing on board all health center and hospitals in United States. Under this strategy the signed up health facilities are persuaded to encourage their patients waiting on the queue to engage online doctor meanwhile as he or she is waiting to physically see the doctor at the hospital. What this strategy does is, it enable the patient to have a better detailed knowledge about the ailment he or she is suffering from and would most likely spend less time at the physical hospital thus saving on time and improving on the hospital’s efficiency. The physical doctors will then be able to see more patients compared to when he or she would if patients walk in with little knowledge of what the ailment is all about. This is how the health facility in collaboration with American well benefits. (Harris and Dennis, 2008)

American well is also currently employing the strategy of pairing patients with certain primary care physician who would be looking after the patient in a more personalized approach. This strategy ensures that patients across America develops service loyalty because they know someone from American well has been looking after him or her closely. The primary care physician can then be able to recommend to the patient a specialized doctor such as Cardiologist, Dermatologist or Gynecologist among other cadres of specialized doctors. With this strategy American well is able to make her clients feel a specialized from of treatment that they are unlikely to forget. The work of the primary care physician in this case is to for example monitor the progress of patient’s recovery after treatment.  Most of the patients’ may not be able to medically examine the progress of the treatment in view of the effects and or side effects of the drugs administered. With this particular platform the work of reviewing progress the patient is making while on treatment s left to the care of the primary care physician who can refer the patient to the specialist incase he or she deems it fit. This strategy is commonly used with patients having to take drugs for long period of time such as in the case chronicle diseases, which needs such patients to be placed under continuous medication for a long period of time. (Harris and Dennis, 2008)

 

New Strategies: Key partners

The key partners in the implementation of the team edition application within the American well’s online health platform are, the doctors that is both the primary care physicians and the specialists, the medical insurance companies, the existing clientele of online clinics and workforce of the company who will oversee day to day running of the of the application.  Looking at each key partner separately, the doctors are very crucial to the implementation of this application, in that they are the primary players for this application to run. Both the primary care physicians and specialist will need to collaborate so that whenever there is a client coming online the two doctors need to be in attendance so that as the specialist attend to the patient the primary care physician is listening and taking appropriate notes so that I can be easier for him or her to pick up from where the specialist leaves. Therefore, this pair of doctors is very fundamental to the implementation team edition application. Another key partner is the insurance companies who will need to agree to include this platform among those services patients can use their medical cards to pay for it. Most of the American population use medical cards for to pay for medical services and drugs, thus this partner will make it easier for the market to adopt the application at higher rate than they would if this application is not covered. The existing American well clientele is another key partner because effectively they are the first group of people who would easily understand the product given that they have enjoyed another product from the same company. This is the group of people who will spread the gospel about the new application. Finally, workforce who will oversee the application forms the last key partner of this application. This is the group which will work on any challenges arising within the system and thus will play a crucial role in ensuring the system runs smoothly without any major hiccups. (Miller and Washington, 2010.)

Key activities and resources

The first key activity is signing up all major insurance companies into this new application. Without this activity or doing it inadequately will make it difficult to be sold to the market. It worth noting to remember that American healthcare market is largely driven by medical cards provided by medical insurers. It is therefore fundamental to first ensure the product is accepted and adopted by the medical insurance companies. The second most activity is letting people know or marketing the application starting with the existing clientele. This would be easier because they already know about the company. The marketing resources in terms of making direct calls to the client, sending text messages, printing T-shirts and making door to door visits will be required. (Miller and Washington, 2010.)

 

Value proposition

The application has a variety of value preposition depending on the party under focus. For patients the value proposition include, reduced time to see the doctor and less costly medical process. It would save on the customer time because instead of queuing to the specialist and after that taking other time to visit the primary care physician, the team edition combines that process into one single affair and it doesn’t need prior booking to get this ‘double’ service at one go. Again the cost associated with waiting to see the specialist as well as going back to see the primary care physician is eliminated by this application for the customer. The value proposition for medical insurance companies is that, this application further reduces the cost of medical healthcare which will make them incur lesser expenditure or claims had the patient made two physical visits to the doctors. For the medical doctors this application further eliminates the need of setting up a physical clinic where they can see the patient. What this means is that the cost of delivering services as a doctor privately is greatly reduced making it easier for large number of doctors to practice medicine with less capital. It further eliminates the need for overhead cost required to run a physical facility. (Miller and Washington, 2010.)

Customer relationship and channels

The customers should always be handled in a good way where the services please them. The clients need to get what they have been promised. For example, there shouldn’t be a queue online regarding meeting a specialist or the primary care physician. This will not be giving customers what was promised. Should there be any problem or challenge reported by the client, the same should be handled within reasonable short period of time. Since customers are central to the success of this application. The customers should have channels through which they can give the feedback. This includes a call center dedicated to registering client issues and resolving them within the service level agreement between the clients and the company. (Gray, 2008)

Customer segments

The customer segment for this application is put into two categories. Those who have medical cards and those self sponsored. Different approach should be used for both categories of customer in order to effectively reach them. For those set of clients who use cards the American well can easily reach them via there employers. Actually over 90% of people with medical cards work or are in employment. To reach to this group of clientele, American well can provide free health-talks to them at their place of work and use the opportunity to make their products. This is an effective way of getting to this market segment as you’ll be able to get them at once per company. On individual clients who arrangement for their own medial cards privately the company can reach them by distributing fliers in streets where there would be a significant chance of handing fliers to the target group of the market. (Gray, 2008)

 

Cost structure   

                       Item

                       cost

Cost of developing team edition  application

Depends on the vendor

Sending messages to all existing clients

$ 0.02 per client

Media adverts about the new application 

Depends on the media house 

Buying Printing T-shirts, caps

$10 per T-shirt  & $ 3

 Making direct telephone calls to 20,000 clients

$ 1 per client


Revenue streams

American well company is to gain revenue from calls that will be made to the platform from the clients. These clients can either pay using insurance cards or cash via e-banking. Another revenue line through the application is sale of drugs where American well can sale the drugs through its pharmacy stores or refer the patient to another pharmacy they work together and will earn commission based on amount of sales realized which originated from American well team edition application or  any other application. The company can also benefit from marketing through the application, where Pharmaceutical companies can market themselves but this should be done carefully to avoid turning off the clients. (Kolah, 2013)

Recommendation

In view of the above strategies suggested, American well company should immediately commence the process of negotiating with insurance companies about taking team edition platform or application and including it in the list of medical services that they cover. This is a very crucial step because majority of the market in healthcare use medical cards. Therefore without a major segment of the market on board it is going to be difficult to market the new application. (Gray, 2008)

 

References

Al-Essa, R., Al-Rubaie, M., Walker, S. and Salek, S. (2010). Pharmaceutical regulatory environment. 1st ed.

Brennan, R. and Brennan, R. (2008). Contemporary strategic marketing. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cagney, P. and Ross, B. (2012). Global fundraising. 1st ed.

Collyer, F. (n.d.). The Palgrave handbook of social theory in health, illness, and medicine.

Edlin, R., McCabe, C., Hulme, C., Hall, P. and Wright, J. (2010). Cost effectiveness modelling for health technology assessment. 1st ed.

Fabbri, D. and Monfardini, C. (2012). Opt Out or Top Up? Voluntary Healtcare Insurance and the Public vs. Private Substitution. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Gray, S. (2008). Healthcare marketing has five 'P's. Journal of Management & Marketing in Healthcare, 1(3), pp.306-313.

Harris, L. and Dennis, C. (2008). Marketing the e-business. New York: Routledge.

Kolah, A. (2013). High impact marketing that gets results. London: Kogan Page.

Miller, R. and Washington, K. (2010). Healthcare business market research handbook 2015-2016. 1st ed.

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