Health + Wellness This Week

Cameras, Employers, + the ACA | Health & Wellness This Week

This article is part of ParkerWhite’s weekly series, “Health and Wellness This Week,” a roundup of the latest healthcare marketing news and what it means for your marketing strategy.

Despite all the innovation in healthcare, there are still lots of opportunities to improve. It’s not just with advanced technology. Healthcare can be bettered by changes in the way we use existing technology, changes in the way we communicate to people, changes in the way we motivate people, and changes in the healthcare system as a whole.

This week we look at:

  • How cameras are playing a role in healthcare innovation
  • Corporate wellness programs scrutinized
  • Physicians hate the ACA a little bit less

Old Technology, New Uses: Cameras in Healthcare

Even though cameras were invented in the 19th century, they are still improving healthcare technology. In particular, four new technologies have emerged that leverage camera technology and have the potential to change healthcare:

(1) Facial recognition to determine pain levels

(2) Automated detection of patient activity

(3) Measurement of changes in heart rate from head movement

(4) Peripheral vein imaging

Marketing Strategy Insights

  • Innovation doesn’t have to mean brand-new technology, there could be opportunities for your company to reimagine existing technology for new purposes
  • There is great room for improvement in pain management – recent efforts have focused on treating pain with less narcotics and non-addictive pain management – this shows that we still need to make improvements in understanding pain
  • As the ACA continues to exert its force in the marketplace, we see more companies looking to ensure patients get the highest quality of treatment and are most comfortable

Workplace Wellness Programs Face Challenges

The ACA has motivated employers to institute a variety of wellness programs designed to keep healthcare costs down. This is being achieved through both rewards (prizes, subsidized exercise classes, discounts on health plans, etc.), and punishments (adding surcharge premiums for those who don’t comply). However, increased scrutiny due to two federal lawsuits has raised concern about corporate wellness programs, particularly with worker privacy and what is considered voluntary vs. compulsory. This leaves companies unsure about how to get employees to value wellbeing without making them unhappy or exposing themselves to legal problems. The lack of clear guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) doesn’t help, either.

Marketing Strategy Insights

  • Motivating individual wellness continues to be a tricky problem to solve
  • Companies selling corporate wellness programs to employers need to ensure they provide a positive experience for workers by making the process enjoyable at every brand touch point
  • There may still be opportunities for companies to create consumer-facing products or services that help motivate healthier lifestyles

Physicians Less Opposed to ACA in 2014

Physicians were a little less critical of the ACA this year, according to a recent survey conducted by the The Medicus Firm, a physician search consultancy. This year, more physicians gave the ACA an “A,” and fewer physicians gave it an “F.” However, the percentage of physicians who gave it an A remains small, just 8.6%, up from 6.3% last year. The number of physicians who gave the ACA an “F” fell considerably this year, from 30.2% down to 22.35%. Physicians gave the best grades for the ACA in regards to “improving access to healthcare.”

Marketing Strategy Insights

  • Physicians still show very mixed feelings about the ACA (largely negative), so it’s important to tread carefully when targeting this demographic with messaging about the ACA
  • Doctors acknowledging improved access to healthcare is a reminder of the broadened base of healthcare consumers – meaning it’s more important than ever to truly understand your target audience
  • Physicians can be a good source of insights about how healthcare is changing since they are on the front lines