We Need A Counter-Outbreak Of Health Intelligence

The outbreak of COVID-19 has raised serious questions about our ability to effectively address health risks, especially those from the spread of diseases that know no borders.

With new potential threats posed not only to our immune systems but to our air and water quality by climate change, the need for better and real-time health intelligence has never been greater. 

There have been too many examples where our institutions, governments and business sectors have either been non-transparent or incompetent with the management of personal health information evidenced by the steady flow of health information breaches.

Imagine if we had earlier, truthful and more predictive virus testing data or we if knew in real-time the PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) usage data in every medical facility as an indication of the outbreak. 

While our industry is just one piece in a global health network, we need to look at this situation as a catalyst for a counter-outbreak of more effective health intelligence.



First, we need mass participation in the health system -- consumers need confidence to opt-in to emerging platforms and access to content that could help improve their health.

A recent study by Rock Health revealed that only 11% of people in the U.S. trust tech companies with their health data.

This real privacy concern limits participation and reduces health intelligence for the good of society. We can’t have consumers feel that “opting in” is nothing more than an email gathering exercise. 

Second, we must co-create meaningful experiences across media and creative that deliver better patient outcomes. We have a real opportunity to transform how tech, data and content can be harnessed to usher in a new generation of healthcare “prosumers.”

It’s about surrounding patient journeys with multidisciplinary thinking. 

Third, all of us -- not just the tech companies -- have a responsibility to increase trust and transparency for the betterment of our global health network.

This includes ensuring that everyone in our industry who touches, plans or buys media -- leveraging audience data, along the way -- is deeply immersed in privacy standards and the methodologies of data providers.  

Google’s announcement to eliminate third-party cookies could represent a catalyst for paving a new way forward for our industry and the management of data.

The upside to this announcement is that it can inspire institutions, companies and marketers to build more beneficial and predictive platforms while upholding highest standards in privacy, security and anonymity. This in turn could build greater trust and more participation in programs to improve both individual and societal health.

The potential downside is triggering new methods that breach trust even more. We can’t let that happen. 

We all have a responsibility in managing how data is being used and protected.

Like COVID-19 itself, it’s incredibly important to be transparent in measuring marketing effectiveness from beginning to end.

Without transparency and security, there will never be trust. Without trust, there will not be transformation.


2 comments about "We Need A Counter-Outbreak Of Health Intelligence".
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  1. Andrew Susman from New Value Associates, April 7, 2020 at 9:34 a.m.

    Strong, Rich.   

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 7, 2020 at 9:06 p.m.

    Please keep this article and read it again in 20 years. 

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