The new frontier is arbitration marketing.
The term refers to the new way in which companies use social media and other platforms to get their message across and garner attention.
“I think there is a lot of interest in this in the United States and around the world,” said Dr. Michael Smith, a medical ethicist at New York University.
Smith said that because of the way social media allows consumers to communicate directly with their doctors, “this is a new way to communicate.”
The concept was pioneered by the pharmaceutical industry in the 1980s and was developed around a simple question: What is the most important medicine?
Today, the arbitrage market is the fastest growing segment in medicine.
In 2016, medical-tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook raised $3.5 billion in venture capital, according to an article in Forbes.
Arbitrage marketers also have their eyes on the burgeoning field of wellness, where many medical experts believe a key to success is to be able to sell products or services that help patients manage their conditions.
“We see these companies going after the big players in wellness, and it’s not just for the bottom line,” said Adam Clements, a partner at consulting firm Avalere Health.
“They’re looking for a way to reach a broader audience.”
For example, Healthwise, an online wellness retailer, says it has been working with doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals on how to increase patient satisfaction and decrease costs.
“This is really the most profitable way to sell a product,” said Sarah Ewing, the CEO of Healthwise.
Ewing said that she is optimistic about the future of arbitrage marketing in the health industry.
“For the next five to 10 years, we’ll be seeing this as the new business model,” she said.
The arbitrage industry is also growing in other ways.
According to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, in 2016, the U.S. medical-surgical-device market reached $5.9 trillion, with sales totaling $8.7 trillion.
Medical devices are increasingly becoming a way for companies to sell health care services to their patients.
The McKinsey report said that in the last five years, healthcare-device sales have grown by nearly 20% on average.
Healthcare services, like prescriptions, tests, surgeries and other medical equipment, are becoming more widely available online and on mobile devices.
“Healthcare will become an industry unto itself,” said Clements.