The Emerging Competition of e-Visits:
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A Changing Product Life Cycle
Relay Health is a company that has operated in the health care environment for several years. This organization has developed a platform whereby patients are able to communicate with their doctors online for consultations (www.relayhealth.com). The adoption of this service has been slowly growing for many years but has not received widespread acceptance in the marketplace by physician groups, although there are many benefits that can be discerned from the platform for patients or employers who might have employees who have doctors who are on such a platform. And, insurers such as Blue Cross and Cigna have also begun to accept that online visits are acceptable and are moving increasingly to reimbursing this approach. In spite of this growing trend, less than 3% of the family physicians in the American Academy of Family Practice report doing e-visits. (1)
In terms of product life cycle, this product is in the introduction stage. Recently, a company called Sophrona Solutions (https://sophrona.com/) has developed a platform that initially was for ophthalmology practices. One of the larger developers is American Well (https://amwell.com/cm/?test=true&gclid=CI7Zw4Xdp8oCFUUTHwodqssEhw), the producer of online care. They have announced that they are expanding their online portal nationally.
The CEO of Relay Health has called you in as a consultant to analyze this rapidly changing market. Provide a perspective around the key concepts discussed in the chapter of the product life cycle. Specifically address the following issues:
- What stage of the product life cycle is this e-platform in now?
- Examine the website of Relay Health and these competitors, what options are available for Relay Health to establish a differential advantage (refer to Chapter 2)?
- In Chapter 2, several growth strategy alternatives were posed. Consider each alternative for Relay Health. Which one did American Well employ? Which alternatives might be available to Relay Health? How might they be implemented?