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The Uberization of Healthcare

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.

Look back at the past few years, how did new technologies affect your daily life activities? No doubt, with these latest technologies and apps, we are now more connected than ever before. However, the healthcare industry is one of the major industries that lagged behind in this digital world. Many healthcare figures have noticed this issue and are playing an active role in transforming the industry.

This week in health and wellness:

  • Heal, an on-demand doctor app, delivers doctors to your doorstep
  • John Sculley, ex-CEO of Apple, discusses how smartphones can create equality in healthcare access around the world
  • Could the iPhone become a new tool in genetic studies?

An Uber for Doctor Housecalls

This New York Times article discusses the new wave of apps that are delivering doctors to your doorstep. Heal is one of the major players in this sector. Users download the app, type in a few details about themselves, and request for a doctor to visit them at home in 20 to 60 minutes. This is a major step towards a more personalized and on-demand healthcare system. In addition to Heal, there are several other companies entering this new field. For example, Doctors on Demand, is now allowing patients to access 1,400 board-certified physicians via an at-home video consultation. This is expected to solve the primary-care access problem that patients have been facing over the years.

Marketing Strategy Insights:

  • This new wave of medical practices will require physicians to create a strong brand platform for their own practices in order to have a credible voice in the industry
  • Word of mouth and user ratings will be two determining factors in the success of these apps because patients will depend on other users’ experiences as a point of reference
  • Security of user’s information will be essential. Since users will be providing their medical history and payments online, these apps will need to provide a secure platform to ensure privacy and compliance of HIPAA regulations

John Sculley - The Uber-isation of Healthcare

This article from Nuviun includes a video interview with Apple’s ex-CEO, John Sculley, where he addresses the evolving role of smartphones in the healthcare industry. He stresses the importance of patient data in making informative decisions. When it comes to healthcare, “only 20% is evidence-based medicine that physicians apply, so it's increasingly about the data”. Sculley’s grand plan is to introduce smartphones in regions around the world that are in dire need. He believes that digital health will reach rural populations that have been lacking health insights for years. Medical assistance will not only be in hospitals, but also in people’s handheld smartphones.

Marketing Strategy Insights:

  • The availability of data allows consumers to be more informed than ever before. Companies must be cautious with all the information they are relaying in order to ensure that their messages are credible
  • The decision-making process heavily depends on the information exposed to customers. Therefore, companies need to ensure that they are providing the right information at the right time
  • New and emerging health apps will solely target this new untapped market of under-served rural areas in order to differentiate their strategy and make a difference in people’s health and well-being

Apple Has Plans for Your DNA

This MIT Technology Review article presents the idea of iPhones becoming a new tool of genetic studies. There have been recent talks that Apple is partnering with researchers to provide consumers access to their DNA on their iPhone through Apple’s ResearchKit. “Large technology companies like Google, direct-to-consumer labs, and even the U.S. government are all trying to amass mega- databases of gene information to uncover clues about the causes of disease”. This is all just a small part of Apple’s mission to revolutionize the digital health industry.

Marketing Strategy Insights:

  • As this is still in development, companies need to identify if there is even a need for DNA mapping. Are customers interested in their genetic makeup?
  • Who is the customer in this case, the users or researchers? Companies interested in developing these apps must understand their target market and clearly present the value that they are providing them
  • The branding strategy is essential for the success of these apps. In order to attract a larger user base, these apps will need to provide credible, trustworthy, and user-friendly features.
The Uberization of Healthcare | Health & Wellness Blog - PW