From the publishing to the e-commerce model – how to build a complete e-health ecosystem [interview]

26 December 2020

Diana Żochowska

Business Development Manager
Medonet
Małgorzata Chodacka-Pawlak Diana Żochowska
From the publishing to the e-commerce model – how to build a complete e-health ecosystem [interview]
A website that offers reliable health information - have we ever needed another one? And what if it also offered telemedicine and enabled purchases of services and products? Medonet deservedly conquers the online medical market. Diana Żochowska, Business Development Manager of this web portal, explains how this success has been achieved and how the medical market is changing in front of our eyes.

Małgorzata Chodacka-Pawlak: As is clear from a survey by Gemius/PBI, Medonet is Poland’s most popular and engaging health website. Where does so much trust of users in the website come from?

Diana Żochowska: First and foremost, we uncompromisingly offer the highest quality of content and services. Our team is composed of highly competent and experienced journalists who have been focused on health issues for many years, also coming from the scientific community. On a daily basis, we work closely with the medical and scientific community, and we rely only on proven sources of information and additionally verify them on our own.

How has Poles’ approach to taking care of their own health changed?

We are hoping to find answers to the questions about the health of Poles very specifically in the first quarter of next year as part of the 2021 ‘National Health Test of Poles’ campaign. Comparing these future results with the data from this year's edition, which ended just before the pandemic, will allow us to accurately indicate what has changed in the health of Poles and in access to health care, which in itself has a significant impact on the overall health of our society.

How does Medonet affect the medical market? How does it look from the perspective of the web portal users?

Medonet provides information about health and medicine so that patients can consciously make best decisions about their own health as well as that of their loved ones. In order to make it even easier for them, we are simultaneously developing Medonet Market - a marketplace aggregating medical services throughout Poland and health products from verified suppliers.
Not only can you read about what tests you should do for your ailments, but you can immediately buy a doctor's appointment or a dedicated test package to take care of your health. We have also established strategic cooperation with the halodoctor.pl website, offering telemedicine services, to further shorten the distance between our users and solutions that directly translate into improving their health and comfort.

COVID-19 has flipped our world upside down. How has it specifically affected the functioning of the medical market on the Internet? What has changed?

Naturally, COVID-19 has increased people’s interest in health. According to the Gemius survey, traffic in the category of Health and medicine in January equalled 16.9 million RU (real users), and only in March it reached more than 20 million. Previously, most people searched for health information when they or their loved ones experienced health problems. The pandemic has caused people to need health information that did not directly concern them.

Another consequence, according to our forecasts, may be the growing importance of preventive medicine. In the minds of Poles, health has started to function as something worth taking interest in every day.

Where do Poles seek help care?

First of all, they consult the most popular doctor in the world, I mean Dr. Google. As many as 88% of patients try and diagnose their symptoms on their own online. That is why it is so important that they find reliable information there. Unfortunately, you can also find information that is not just like that.

How does Medonet adapt to the needs of visitors to the web portal?

We conduct in-depth analyses of the behaviour of our users. We constantly verify which topics and their aspects are in the centre of attention in order to deliver the best content, update information on an ongoing basis, and develop our e-commerce services in the right direction. Thanks to the experience on Medonet.pl, we want them to change their attitudes towards health - to show that it is worth taking health into your own hands and that you can actively care for your health in an easy, quick and convenient way.

What changes in the approach to telemedicine do you expect in the future?

Now is the perfect time for telemedicine to spread. Patients are bound to quickly find out how convenient and safe it is. Telemedicine is not a trend for a while, but the future of the health industry. In the long term, this will have a positive impact on both the health level of Poles and the costs associated with it.

How should you design medical services to keep up with changing needs?

What I am going to say will be nothing new, I mean by listening to the recipients and their needs, with the difference that in our case this mainly consists in the continuous analysis of the data we have here and now, continuous tests and quick actions verifying our hypotheses. A product must be constantly adapted to the way the recipients use it.

The Internet gives one easy access to medical knowledge, but what about its credibility and reliability? How are the needs of Poles changing in this respect and how does Medonet respond to them?

Users are increasingly demanding in this regard, which is a positive phenomenon. Medonet adheres to the principles of Evidence Based Medicine, and additionally, acting in the spirit of explanatory and data journalism, we are trying to show specific data as well as explain and present often complex medical issues in an accessible way. We seem to be successful because at the beginning of this year we were awarded the title of the Great Educator by the ‘Journalists for Health’ Association.

In addition, as the only health website in Poland, we can boast of having the international HonCode certificate, which is awarded for the quality and reliability of medical content. The website also has a special tag for content that has undergone a two-step verification process, i.e. in addition to content written by a medical journalist, it has also been verified by a physician or specialist. Our advantage is certainly full transparency.

Why is mobile more important than desktop in the context of medical services?

When, a few years ago, the entire industry was waiting for the moment when the number of mobile users would exceed the number of desktop users - in the health category we had already been 1.5 years past this point. Most often we look for health information in a situation where we or our loved ones have problems. We then want to get information quickly, which is why we reach for a smartphone that we always have at hand nowadays. We predicted that it would be the same with medical services. And we were right - in fact, most of the traffic on Medonet Market comes from the mobile channel.

What influence has Mobee Dick had on your thinking about Medonet services?

The Medonet team consists of people with extensive experience in building content products in the online health industry. However, entering the e-commerce market has been a great challenge and an exciting adventure for us. I am glad that we trusted Mobee Dick's experience at the beginning of this journey. The joint design of the MVP version of our platform gave us a good basis for its further expansion and improvement.

What value do you see in the meeting of experts from the medical market with experts from the UX industry?

Health is the aspect of our lives where we need, firstly, trust in the brand and secondly, a positive experience of using the services it offers. A slightest mistake can damage the image and destroy trust, causing a lot of negative emotions in patients. User experience in the e-health industry is definitely a supreme value.