Price gouging? No, thanks.
As coronavirus tests the U.S. healthcare supply chain’s stability from every angle, healthcare providers are aiming to equip themselves with the necessary supplies to safeguard staff who care for sick patients.
But even as they shop online for essential supplies like hand sanitizer, it’s becoming clear that not all online marketplaces are built the same. Especially in times of crisis, providers shouldn’t have to deal with price gouging on critical supplies or questionable claims about items that are in stock.
Ideally, providers shouldn’t have to deal with a marketplace that isn’t built for healthcare at all.
The Healthcare e-Commerce Advantage
With preparedness for coronavirus underway, trusted group purchasing partners are staying in close touch with their members. However, not all healthcare businesses work with a GPO. Take alternate site providers: these physicians’ offices, medical practices, senior living facilities and other small- to mid-sized healthcare providers have sick patients walking in their doors but may lack the buying power or procurement capabilities that acute-care providers access through their GPO.
Premier’s customer research shows 75 percent of alternate site providers rely on e-Commerce to supplement their traditional purchasing.
As part of our drive to create a healthier supply chain market, Premier launched an e-Commerce marketplace, stockd®, last year so that providers and other businesses, including those in the alternate site space, can easily access better pricing and efficiencies for everyday items.
It’s no accident that stockd is built by healthcare providers for healthcare providers – and thereby fortified by the mutual mission to do what’s best for patients, healthcare workers and the community at large.
For example, despite recent supply chain shockwaves, pricing on the stockd marketplace has remained unchanged. Buying protections, fair pricing and the reputability of items are built into the platform, which stands on the pedigree of its products and suppliers.
Of course, these advantages exist for buyers outside of coronavirus. In an era of heightened customer expectations, e-Commerce has to deliver.
Here’s how we built a reliable marketplace tailored for healthcare buyers.
- User input drove the strategy and design. Unlike Amazon, stockd is intentionally built by healthcare providers for providers. We surveyed more than 1,000 alternate-site healthcare buyers about their supply chain challenges to build a customer-friendly solution that meets their day-to-day supply needs.
- Strict buyer protections prevent price gouging and the selling of unverified goods. The stockd marketplace has robust security settings, including seller verification practices, to prevent the selling of “gray market” goods, or those that are sold outside of the brand owner’s approved distribution channels. Through its stringent vetting policies, stockd safeguards buyers and ensures that they’re purchasing from verified manufacturers and distributors, not third-party sellers who may price gouge or make suspect product claims based on market demand.
- Trusted sellers as well as entrepreneurs have a home here. Well-known suppliers from Grainger to Office Depot are available on stockd, as are entrepreneurs with innovative products that improve patient care and operators’ efficiencies. We also align with marketplace trends so Stockd can offer forward-thinking products to our buyers, such as items made with eco-friendly or biodegradable materials.
- User-friendly attributes are customized to the healthcare shopper. Transparent pricing is listed directly on the site and not dependent on purchase volume, so customers can easily compare products and pricing from different suppliers. And stockd facilitates ease of reimbursement. In certain instances, stockd shows what the Medicaid and Medicare code is to enable simpler reimbursement for buyers, a level of attribution information that other e-Commerce platforms may not host.
- We build on Premier’s more-than-30 years of healthcare purchasing expertise. Our sellers say they’re both assured and excited about bringing products onto stockd because they can leverage Premier’s capability, expertise and relationships across the industry.
As e-Commerce becomes a larger part of healthcare providers’ buying strategies, the importance of a buying channel that has providers’ and patients’ best interests in mind is paramount. A marketplace that shares its customers’ patient-centered missions won’t fail to deliver.
During COVID-19, Premier continues to act as a trusted connection point for healthcare providers, suppliers and the government. We are working 24/7 to address challenges as they occur and help our alliance of more than 4,000 hospitals and health systems and 175,000 non-acute providers access the supplies they need to serve their communities. We are also partnering with the Administration and private sector to create both short-term and long-term solutions, and sharing our insights to help inform the public understanding.
Access our COVID-19 resources and tools.