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Study: Mobile commerce paradigm shifts

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK — Consumers are changing the way they browse and shop for goods using mobile devices.
 
According to the State of Retailing Online 2016 study from Forrester Research, Shop.org and Bizrate Insights, growing use of smartphones by consumers, a shift in investments by technology companies and continued optimization strategies from retailers has landed smartphones on top as a driver of mobile sales and traffic for retail companies.
 
Specifically, retailers surveyed report smartphone sales accounted for 17% of their total online sales in 2015, edging ahead of the 14% generated via tablets. Overall, retailers said sales from smartphone devices grew 53% from the previous year, while sales from tablet devices grew 32%
 
In addition, smartphones represented 29% of mobile retail traffic, roughly double the 15% share held by tablets.
 
However, despite strong growth in both smartphone and tablet sales, retailers continue to keep their mobile investments at a more moderate level. Thirty percent of those surveyed say they invested less than $10,000 on smartphone platforms in 2015, and 17% kept budgets between $10,000 and $50,000.
 
When it comes to tablets, the investments are even smaller. Nearly four in 10 (37%) said they made no additional investment in their tablet offerings in 2015, compared to 18% who left smartphones out of their investment plans for 2015. Eleven percent of retailers surveyed said they put $10,000 to $50,000 into tablet investments during 2015.
 
That said, the report did find that more mobile investment is on the horizon for retailers, especially in smartphones. The survey found that one-third of retailers surveyed plan to grow their smartphone investments more than 20% in 2016, and another 34% will grow their investments between 1 and 20%. A smaller amount (22%) will grow their tablet investment more than 20% in 2016.
 
Tablets are not necessarily losing all their importance to the omnichannel retail experience. Findings suggest they may ultimately find a bigger purpose in stores, helping store associates provide greater service to customers.
 
The survey found that of the 36% of retailers who use mobile devices in stores, one-quarter of those use tablets. Two in five (44%) say their associates use tablets to show additional products not available in stores and four in 10 use the devices to send e-receipts. Another 23% use them to check inventory in warehouses and 21% use tablets to check their actual in-store inventory.
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Diplomat report highlights 2015 specialty approvals, 2016 expectations

BY David Salazar

FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Pharmacy this week released a report on the state of specialty pharmacy at the beginning of a new year. The report from Diplomat’s clinical services highlights the fact that 2015 saw 45 novel new drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration — more than the 28 that the years between 2006 and 2014 averaged. 
 
Among the 45 approvals, specialty drugs made up about half of them, with rare diseases and oncology medication approvals totaling 28. Diplomat’s report points out that FDA is favoring specialty medications over traditional ones when it comes to approval, adding that specialty is also driving spend (something IMS Health also noted in 2015).
 
“It's been a remarkable year,” Diplomat president Gary Kadlec. “The rise in FDA approvals for treatments of rare diseases is incredible for the people facing these conditions. Each approval offers new options and renewed hope for patient populations whose needs have gone unmet for so long.”
 
The report also pointed out that 60% of the approvals in 2015 received such designations as breakthrough, fast track, priority review and accelerated approval. It also predicted that the pipeline for 2016 is set to have the highest number of approval in oncology, with some dozen cancer drugs currently expecting approval.
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3 states earn failing grade when it comes to telemedicine

BY Michael Johnsen

Dallas – In the past two years, 25 states have revised their professional standards and licensure requirements in response to providers offering health services via telemedicine, according to a health briefing filed by Jennifer Vermeulen for the National Center for Policy Analysis on Thursday. And in 2014 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services changed its fee schedule to encourage more telehealth practices. 
 
The American Telemedicine Association awarded 22 states an “A” for regulations governing telemedicine providers-patient encounters, Vermeulen reported. However, three states — Texas, Alabama and Arkansas — got an F. 
 
According to the report, Arkansas and Texas are the only states that require patients to have an established relationship with a physician prior to a telemedicine encounter. And Texas, Alabama and Georgia are alone among states in requiring an in-office follow-up visit after a telemedicine encounter.
 
Facing a rapidly-growing population, the Texas Medical Board, instead of embracing an innovative technology that increases patient access to medical care, has taken a “strong stand against telemedicine,” stated NCPA senior fellow Devon Herrick, who managed the report research. “The Texas Medical Board took deliberate steps to protect local providers from competition.”
 
Texas, in particular, may benefit from increasing access to care by way of telemedicine. The state’s growing population of 25 million is served by 18,000 primary care physicians, and 95 of the state’s 254 counties have fewer than 10 doctors; 54 of those counties have fewer than 5 licensed physicians. 
 
Strong population growth has left nearly 13% of the state’s population medically underserved, meaning that an individual’s circumstances make it difficult to either access or afford health care services. 
 
“Worldwide, the use of telemedicine to treat patients is expected to grow to 7 million by 2018 – up 20 fold from 2013 levels,” Herrick said. “With the population of Texas projected to double by 2050, limiting telemedicine patients and providers is a blow to the future of health care in Texas.”
 
 
 
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