Health + Wellness This Week

Software + Rewards Programs | 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. 

Technology continues to change the way we deliver care, providing opportunities to improve quality and efficiency. With increased technology adoption comes higher standards for healthcare software. On the behavioral side, we are seeing more ways to engage consumers. This week we look at:

  • Salesforce in big push toward healthcare, with sights on $1 billion in revenue
  • Practice Fusion releases new, tablet-optimized EHR
  • Survey shows people are motivated by rewards programs when managing their health

Salesforce Plans Sell Cloud Services to Healthcare Industry

Salesforce believes healthcare software could be its next $1 billion idea. They’re investing in new hires, adding at least a dozen people from health and medical industries. Hospitals, doctors offices, and related industries are expected to spend $31.3 billion on tech by 2017, according to market researchers. With legal and regulatory constraints, such as HIPAA privacy laws, software must be certified with special security controls. The company is expected to potentially sell a new app called CareWeb Messenger to hospitals; get into the EHR business; or get into the consumer healthcare apps market to take advantage of sensors and healthcare monitoring devices. Salesforce already sells software to the Department of Health and Human Services and insurance providers like Blue Shield of California, and has partnered with Philips to develop medical applications. The company faces competition from large technology companies such as Microsoft, IBM, and Dell.

Marketing Strategy Insight

  • We are seeing a reoccurring trend of large corporations getting involved in healthcare, which will presumably raise the bar as these big brands bring their marketing and consumer-focused expertise to the healthcare market.
  • As the healthcare ecosystem goes more mainstream, we will see new opportunities to leverage the Internet of Things and keep consumers engaged throughout the care continuum.
  • The efficacy of software and technology will become increasingly dependent on interoperability with other products – Salesforce, for example, needs the cooperation of health record vendors like Epic Systems and Cerner Corp to share information in order to serve major customers.

Practice Fusion Releases New Software Optimized for Apple and Android Tablets

With nearly two thirds of physicians using tablets in their practice, an EHR that works with the full range of functions on an iPad is critical. Practice Fusion initially dedicated resources to satisfying government requirements for electronic health records and put mobile to the side. But now customers are demanding mobile accessibility. Customers will now have access to all of the nearly 1,000 features in the desktop version on an iPad. Practice Fusion said their customers also wanted a better user experience on mobile devices. Next, they will work on releasing a smartphone version. Practice Fusion is one of the largest EHR vendors and has raised a total of $149 million, to become one of the most funded digital health startups.

Marketing Strategy Insight

  • Although historically healthcare companies have gotten away with technology that is not mobile optimized, the increasing use of iPads and other mobile technology by healthcare workers is forcing companies to keep up.
  • Even though meeting regulatory requirements comes first, user design will also not be considered an optional consideration as healthcare workers become increasingly familiar with the benefits provided by better user experiences.
  • The high adoption rate of tablets by physicians suggests there may be other marketing opportunities that leverage tablets. 

Motivating Healthcare Consumers with Rewards

Rewards act as an effective differentiator for health plans looking to motivate their members to take positive actions for their health, according to a new survey conducted by Novu. Just a few months ago, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations will be able to use rewards and incentive programs, allowing MA plans to create one or more programs that offer rewards and incentives to people for activities that encourage better health, injury and illness prevention, and efficient use of healthcare resources. 83.97% of the 1,200 MA member respondents to the survey said they are likely to choose a plan that offers rewards over an otherwise identical plan that does not offer rewards. 83.4% of respondents are likely to complete a care screening if offered an incentive.

Marketing Strategy InsightRewards and gamification present interesting ways to engage healthcare consumers and have the potential for creative innovation in many areas of healthcare.

  • If rewards effectively incentivize consumers to engage in better health, there may be other opportunities for healthcare companies to offer consumers rewards.
  • Rewards programs can be used to differentiate plans from other brands and increase acquisition and retention.