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Improving Digital Health | 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.This week, we look at online support and communities that are helping patients with diabetes improve their disease management. We review IBM Watson Group’s investment into consumer health with a cognitive personalized app. Lastly, we look at the former CEO of Apple investing in MDLive, a mobile app telemedicine company.

This week in health and wellness:

  • Diabetics find disease management support online
  • IBM invests in personalizing consumer health
  • Former Apple CEO invests in telemedicine

Diabetics Are Finding Online Support Can Be A Key To Better Disease Management

There are approximately 29 million Americans (nearly 10% of the US population) living with diabetes. For many of those fighting the disease, online support is an important step in disease management. Groups like,, PEP Squad and all offer diabetes sufferers access to around-the-clock disease management advice, emotional support, group discussions, and social connectivity with others who’s lives are being affected by the disease. Often, these groups are even more effective than in-person groups because they aren’t bound by time and geographical constraints.

Marketing Strategy Insights

  • Patient populations are very active in the digital space because it can give them access to tools that may not otherwise be available.
  • Digital communities can give your company access to very committed and active groups of advocates.
  • Monitoring the postings in digital communities is a key concern when it comes to the safety and efficacy of the information shared within.

IBM Watson Group Invests In Pathway Genomics To Help Personalize Consumer Health

The bioinformatics market, which includes genetics, is expected to grow to $12.86 billion by 2020 according to Allied Market Research. IBM Watson Group recently announced an investment in Pathway Genomics Corporation, a clinical laboratory offering genetic testing services, to help deliver the first cognitive consumer-facing app (Pathway Panorama) based on genetics from a user's personal makeup.

Through natural language processing, Pathway Panorama will uncover insights from Big Data by quickly referencing healthcare data from medical journals and clinical trials. The data will be combined with individual consumer information to provide custom recommendations to help the user and their physician make better decisions toward a healthier lifestyle.

Consumers will be able to ask the app questions like, "How much exercise should I do today?" or "How much coffee can I drink on Monday?" The app answers based on evidence-based data provided by Pathway Genomics (ingested by Watson), and the individual's biomarker, vital signs (from wearables), DNA, electronic health records, and other information like emotional, physical and social well being.

Marketing Strategy Insights

  • In this new era of computing, we will see third party apps interact with human users more naturally, and learn to improve how they assist us over time.
  • Consumers are increasingly looking for technology to be as personalized as possible, empowering them to make their own informed decisions toward health and wellness goals.
  • We are past the first generation of artificial intelligence and data analysis – going forward, doctors and patients may not hesitate to consult apps for quality information about health and wellness.

Ex-CEO Of Apple & Pepsi Stakes His Claim With Telemedicine Mobile App

John Sculley, former CEO of Apple and PepsiCo, sees telemedicine and online mental health services are "going mainstream” in the coming years. Sculley serves on the board of directors for MDLive, a Florida-based company that provides telemedicine services through its mobile app and website.

MDLive offers patients remote access to board certified physicians 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for only $49 per visit. With its recent acquisition of Breakthrough Behavioral -a Silicon Valley-based startup- MDLive will be expanding its offerings and network of professionals to include life coaching, behavioral and mental health.Mimicking a recent report from Towers Watson on how telemedicine could deliver more than $6 billion a year in health care savings, Sculley says, "Telemedicine is increasingly perceived by employers and the government as a means to cut health costs."

Marketing Strategy Insights

  • Telemedicine is continuing to grow as key figureheads put their stake into the mix, funding new technologies and services.
  • Patients and corporations benefit from telemedicine services with cost savings and improved personal healthcare.
  • Companies must leverage their unique technology or service to stand out from the emerging telemedicine crowd.
Improving Digital Health | Health & Wellness Blog - PW