Digital Innovation Continues to Shift B2B Healthcare Market

Healthcare is its own unique beast, from payments to marketing strategies to the intricacies of its supply chain.

The sector is witnessing a transformation, especially in the B2B domain.

Digital payments, online procurement platforms and artificial intelligence are igniting a phase shift that is reshaping the B2B healthcare landscape.

While those persistent pillars of technological innovation may sound familiar, their impact and applications within B2B healthcare are meant to address a range of challenges and issues that set healthcare apart from other industries. These include longstanding bottlenecks around interoperability, regulatory compliance, legacy administrative processes, manually driven payments workflows and growing data fragmentation.

Still, it isn’t necessarily time to throw the baby out with the bathwater. While healthcare represents a unique playing field for digital innovations to redefine how healthcare businesses interact, market and transact with each other, there remain some best practices that carry over from other highly regulated, security-critical and traditionally fragmented sectors.

As with other B2B ecosystems, B2B transactions in healthcare are characterized by larger order values and longer contract durations, which contribute to a more stable and predictable revenue stream. Additionally, B2B relationships in healthcare are built on trust and long-term partnerships, which are crucial in an industry where the stakes are high, and the need for reliability is paramount.

Read also: Modernizing Healthcare Procurement Can Be a Matter of Life and Death

Digital Payments: The Next Frontier in B2B Healthcare

The B2B healthcare sector is at a pivotal juncture, with emerging marketing trends and the adoption of digital payments shaping its future. As businesses navigate these changes, the focus on personalization, efficiency and partnership will be key to success in this evolving landscape.

The shift toward digital B2B payments in healthcare is driven by the need for better cash flow management and the desire to minimize the administrative burden associated with traditional payment methods.

“You’d be surprised how many healthcare providers in the country still don’t even have a website for accepting online … payments, and that you have to call an office to speak to someone to process a credit card transaction,” Brad Garfield, managing director and head of healthcare solutions at J.P. Morgan Commercial Banking, told PYMNTS in August. “There’s so much opportunity for improvement.”

By embracing digital payments, healthcare businesses can streamline their operations, improve financial management and focus on delivering high-quality care. Digital B2B payment methods facilitate faster transactions, reduce the risk of errors, and offer enhanced security features, making them an attractive option for healthcare businesses.

“By using virtual cards, we’ve been able to speed up the payment process overall between insurance companies and medical providers,” Chad Wallace, executive vice president and global head of commercial solutions at Mastercard, told PYMNTS in January, explaining that the healthcare payment cycle can frequently be slow, with extended approval and reimbursement times. This can lead to cash flow issues for healthcare providers and businesses, affecting their financial stability.

See also: As B2B Operations Digitize, Marketing Does Too: Enter the B2B Influencer

Procurement Modernization Becomes Paramount for Growth

A growing focus on simplifying the current procure-to-pay system in place by many hospitals to help navigate the massive number of suppliers to choose from and adjust to changing needs is also transforming the landscape’s operational realities and B2B dynamics.

“The whole expense side of healthcare isn’t being thought of, and the lack of price transparency and efficiency in the medical supply space ends up affecting the actual patients themselves,” Jonathan Chen, founder and CEO of Nitra, told PYMNTS in February.

“Every single day, doctors are buying from the major brands like McKesson, Henry Shine, AbbVie, all these folks, and oftentimes they’re doing it manually through a salesperson who comes to their office and sends them an invoice … it gets very jumbled up, and the process is obscure, as is the pricing transparency,” Chen added, noting that the existing infrastructure creates a lot of additional costs that have been rising due to margin expansion and supply chain challenges.

Building and maintaining strong relationships with healthcare clients, including hospitals, clinics and other providers, is essential for B2B vendors. Understanding the unique needs and challenges of each B2B customer segment, providing ongoing support and delivering value-added services are critical for long-term success in the healthcare market.

For all PYMNTS B2B coverage, subscribe to the daily B2B Newsletter.