The Internet of Things is one of those phrases that is fun to say – but from a marketing perspective, it can be difficult to get your mind around. After all, what will all of those Internet Things have to do with actually growing my business?
For anyone involved in healthcare, the Internet of Things can be boiled down to One Thing – home healthcare. Driven by competitive costs curves and a massive global market, smartphones and the health monitoring devices that speak to them in our homes are soon going to have as much health and wellness monitoring power as any intensive care unit – and deliver that information for much lower cost. You don’t need to be a tech visionary to imagine that by 2020, when we are using our iPhone 9s’ – that health monitoirng will not just evolve, but be dramatically transformed. So what will the Interent of Things mean for the patient experience and healthcare marketing – and how should we start adjusting our maketing strategy and tactics accordingly?
1). This Time It’s Personal
Marketing automation and case management platforms are going to merge so that highly personable and trained medical case workers can help patients navigate the care transition from hospital to home. The marketing automation aspect will allow these case workers to manage more patients with a much higher degree of timeliness and personalization. These same platforms will also integreate with directly with HCPs, allowing for quick responses and change of treatment as situations change. Brands that can align their products within this new context personalized care will move to the front of treatment protocols.
2). Results in Real time
With powerful sensors in the home, patients won’t need to wait weeks or months for their next interaction with their caregiver team. Instead, much like aircraft are taken through a maintance checklist before every flight – patients will be monitored for abnormalities on a daily basis. In this “always-on” monitoring environment, recommended dosing guidelines, addressing a range of nuanced situations, will become commonplace.
3). Connected Communities
As patients become more aware of their own health data, they will also reach out to other like-minded patients in order to compare treatments, discuss side-effects, and offer encouragement. Patients Like Me has already demonstrated the power of this approach. As health monitoring proliferates, these types of patient-driven communities will rapidly move from niche to mainstream. Does your brand monitor these communities or have any type of community building strategy or team in place? If not, now is the time to get started!
4). Caregivers Will Matter More Than Ever
With so much data available in the home, caregivers are now going to have both a subjective and objective understanding of how their loved ones are doing. Dashboards, alerts, and other types of reminders are going to allow caregivers to provide essential points of care and contact, without the current burden of tracking and scheduling. In fact, as families age in place, there will be many situations where caregivers have their own set of health issues which will also be tracked and managed through the same dashboards. Brands that embrace and recognize the influence caregivers have on the overall product experience will have a distinct competitive advantage.
5). Healthcare Coaching Becomes Commonplace
Informed by real time health data, and reimbursed by cost-conscious insurers, home health coaching via virtual channels will become routine in the near future. This growing emphasis on prevention and well-being will drive attention to the creation of healthy habits, drug compliance, and nutrition and nutraceuticals. Brands that position themselves as part of this overall “prevention mindset” will thrive.
The phrase “Internet of Things” is likely to disappear soon, as billions of connected devices simply become a part of our everyday reality like electricity, paved roads, and running water. However, make no mistake – a world with a myriad of sensors is going to change the equation for home healthcare and transform the patient experience. Brands can anticipate and adapt to this new world will find themselves at the heart of a personalized and data-rich patient experience unlike any we’ve seen before.
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