The healthcare industry is growing faster than anyone expected, thanks to the aging baby boomers and an assortment of challenging diseases. Pharmacy chain CVS is mulling over the purchase of Aetna health insurance company, and Amazon is throwing its well-capitalized hat into the medical equipment industry. Amazon is not getting into the prescription filling game yet, but industry insiders say Amazon is heading in that direction. The messages these companies are sending to consumers is clear. They want to own healthcare consumers. Amazon already owns consumers in the retail industry, and thanks to the purchase of Whole Foods, the company is going after food-consumer ownership. CVS is taking a different approach to owning healthcare consumers. But CVS could be as effective as Amazon, according to healthcare experts.
Trying to make healthcare consumer-friendly is a monumental task because there is so much mud in the healthcare water in terms of insurance coverage, prescription efficiency, and electronic medical platforms. CVS believes combining health insurance with retail healthcare services like mini-clinics and prescription services is the best way to establish consumer loyalty. Amazon believes just being Amazon is enough to make them the kings of the healthcare consumer’s world.
But there are issues to overcome before CVS or Amazon can effectively reach their goals, according to healthcare IT entrepreneur Drew Madden. Madden is the healthcare IT expert who put Nordic Consulting Partners on top of the Epic consulting industry. Madden got his start Cerner Corporation after receiving an industrial engineering degree with a focus on medical systems. He is a current managing partner at Evergreen Healthcare Partners. Evergreen focuses on advisory services for healthcare institutions that need help implementing electronic medical records platforms.
Trying to implement up-to-date electronic medical records, so healthcare institutions have a clear picture of patient issues is not new. But the rapid growth in the industry, plus the unwillingness of some healthcare facilities to bring their systems in line with other EMR platforms, presents enormous challenges for Drew Madden and his partners at Evergreen. But according to Madden, those challenges are solvable when healthcare providers understand the importance of implementing EMR for every patient.