Wouldn’t it be great if there were one place, like a giant flea market or world’s fair of health, where you could gather everyone in healthcare together: insurers, doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, medical equipment providers, IT folks, inventors, investors, vendors, and so much more that comprises everything health?
If they were all in one place, you, as a patient, could compare doctors for specialties, prices, availability, and tech-friendliness. Let’s say you could go from booth to booth in this giant marketplace and find a doctor that others have rated highly for successful knee surgeries at a fair price with technological capabilities to immediately prescribe you physical therapy through a computerized network rather than faxed referrals—and, you could see your doctor for follow-up appointments virtually rather than in person.
The intricate web that is healthcare from patient to health delivery systems is vast. To see all the parts laid out in one place would improve the speed and efficiency of healthcare delivery and thus, patient satisfaction.
A hint of this marketplace idea is already partially modeled with the healthcare insurance exchange in California. A purchaser can go online and compare prices and services of many insurers and purchase a policy from one of them. Competitive markets like this one improves health insurance pricing. Who makes that possible? The platform that hosts the exchange, though the host is not a participant in the exchange.
What Is a Market Network?
The healthcare industry is an endless network of supplies and demands. To bring all the parts into view on one digital platform would be what’s known as market network. Transparency is the critical ingredient to marketplaces. Everyone sees what everyone is charging and doing. This helps competition and choices. It also connects funds to those who provide quality service or innovators who develop the next great idea.
A market network provides a platform where people and businesses can hook up need with supply, ideas with investors, and just about anything that needs buying, selling and connecting. Marketplaces allow business transactions among any number of buyers and sellers. It’s like a Facebook, Airbnb, eBay, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Uber all in one.
How It Works
You log into a site. Then, you set up a profile and build contacts based on like interests just like other social platforms. It’s operated on a SaaS workflow application built for longer transactional interactions and projects, with a facilitator that not only provides the platform but helps people use it to build relationships.
So, let’s say a network of doctors exists in real life: an obgyn office, where the doctors have hospital privileges at the nearby hospital, which links up with outpatient care and recovery services, pharmacists, and others in the healthcare chain. So, instead of these doctors, staff, and technicians communicating and making payments to one another through fax, phone call, U.S. mail, and email, they connect through software. This kind of market network would promote efficiency and better services for patients.
Market networks are especially beneficial to complex, higher value services, like medical services that are based on long-term relationships that interconnect critically. A patient’s movement from diagnosis to treatment and recovery involves many providers that must be quickly coordinated to provide timely services.
It’s also a matter of preference. In medical care, patients prefer some providers over others and build long-term relationships with their providers. They’re not interchangeable like Uber drivers. The match-up between patient and doctor is unique and individual. Patients could log in to the network to find who would serve them best, depending on ratings, specialties, and pricing provided on the site.
Another facet of market network would work well especially for doctors in a large facility, where a physical site houses medical offices and a hospital full of specialists and generalists that all team up for patients in the fee for value reimbursement models of healthcare service delivery. The SaaS engine of the market network could draw together privately all the professionals of a patient for all to use the same data, records, reports, notes, and tests.
Market Networks for Healthcare
Market networks are more than social networks as they can be used for business transactions, not just a meeting of the minds. It’s a more versatile business tool that combines the social and the business.
As such, referrals between doctors are easy in the network. In fact, all transactions and communications between providers, staff, and patients are quicker, easier, and more efficient on a one-stop shopping “mall” for everything platform. This type of convenience and collaboration makes everyone, but especially patients, happier.
The market network also supports relationships between health systems and vendors. Vendors post on the network their profiles, describing what solutions they provide and health systems post their profiles detailing the problems they need solved. Then the matched-up pairs can private message and join each other’s networks.
The network market provider, in this case, does the vetting for platform participants by overseeing the quality of participation, making sure no one abuses the platform. And users rate others for their services and products to keep everyone doing their best.
With respect to innovation and new medical technologies, often developers’ new applications address specific medical issues, say Alzheimer’s disease, and need consultation and advice from specialists. Network markets can support these pairings to promote the development of new technologies in the medical field.
Healthcare Needs Market Network
Ultimately, a market network circulates talent, professionals, consumers, investors, vendors, and innovators. With the collaboration of talent, many great things could happen in a giant marketplace of ideas and services. Though slow to turn to this technological tool, healthcare, with its many pathways from practice, treatment and education to technological advancement, is ripe for network market.