2012 has been a year of innovation in mhealth, wellness and prevention start-ups, a focus on EMR and patient/doctor communications, and much discussion about big data.
I'm sure it has something to do with whatever propelled me to delete my Facebook account recently, but I can't help but envision two distinct futures we're headed toward: one where shared health outcomes data are used to change the behavior of the masses for empowerment against disease progression; and another where massive amounts of social white noise is packaged for the handy glow of an iPhone to stupefy the masses with cat videos. They're both shared data systems, yet one utilizes shared intelligence to empower, and the other? Well, it has a similar effect to opium (I'm guessing).
For more than a year, we have been conducing observational research with active digital health consumers (or e-patients) in their natural online habitat. We've been passively observing their Web and social media activities to understand how they actually find and consume health content on a range of subjects, including cancer, heart disease and sexually transmitted illnesses.
As a popular boogieman in the last election cycle, healthcare got beat up pretty good. In marketing circles, healthcare has always been the ugly stepchild to the alluring worlds of fast food, beer and fabric softeners.
The healthcare and wellness industry has had quite a busy and interesting past year, certainly highlighted by the Supreme Court's upholding of the Affordable Care Act this past June. The changes this law will spur, coupled with advances in technology and a renewed focused on consumer empowerment, will continue to drastically reshape our healthcare and wellness landscape. Marketers need to keep a laser focus on key trends that will play vital roles for consumers and the industry. Here are my top 10 trends for 2013.
Redefining ubiquity for the health and wellness sector
Pharmacogenomics, how one's genes affect the way they respond to treatment, will change the pharmaceutical landscape for good.
Philosopher Charles Darwin once said, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." Even though he was not referring to business strategy or customer service, this concept applies nicely to both. It is indeed essential for any business to hear what their customers are saying about their product or service, and adapt accordingly.
My boss was supposed to write this article. But stranded in New York without power, water, or Internet, he called an audible and I'm subbing in. Given the events leading to this change of plan, I decided to write about something very timely, though not strictly on-topic for this column about marketing and health. This week, I'm taking the liberty of expanding the definitions of both.
I'll be speaking this week at the Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW) show taking place New York. As expected, the show's news and information should be heavy on digital technologies, advancements and customer-centric tactics. No real surprise as we know that's where today's marketing landscape is heading-we see it every day in the healthcare and wellness industry. We live in a world where consumers are global, connected, engaged, mobile and constantly moving between their offline and online worlds. Today's consumer is empowered and in-control.