Dec 8, 2010

Groupons and Healthcare

Are you a Groupon member yet? The group-based, local market volume discount website has been in business for two years and has grown like wildfire. The latest news is how Google has been attempting to purchase them, and as of now Groupon has resisted

Very intriguing to think of how far Groupon can penetrate healthcare. So far Groupon offers have primarily been with cash-based, wellness types of services. These include vision care, spas, dermatology, laser hair removal, and healthclubs. In principle, pharmacies could be active here, for consumer goods and maybe some over the counter items. Indeed, has leveraged Groupon for offers, as shown in this Mom blog.

If you are in a cash-based consumer wellness area, then Groupon seems like a fertile ground for local market retail partnership and testing of offers. It may also be a great venue for acquisition into consumer RM programs.

However, crossing the line to Rx-based medicine seems like purely speculation at this point.

Could Groupons be valuable to new physician group practices that are trying to grow a patient base? A specialty practice physician blogger is considering Groupon as a marketing tool. One hospitalist physician blogger has considered the insurance implications.

Groupon requires login and registration, and so collects data on certain purchase preferences, including health and wellness if those are bid on by the individual joining a group discount. Therefore HIPAA is likely a limitation that prevents placement of more prescription or clinically-based offers.

I look forward to reading studies about the impact of Groupon generally, or on health in particular. Readers are invited to post their thoughts or experiences.