“Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Mayur Gupta, senior vice president and head of digital at Healthgrades.
In a digital world where the process of innovation has become a commodity, driverless smart cars, personal drones and one-click purchasing have become part of our daily lives.
Yet health care, an industry that touches and impacts everyone’s life, has lacked the same innovation or disruption, often obstructed by regulations, a fragmented ecosystem or a lack of consistent funding.
Whatever little evolution we have witnessed historically has been driven by brute force with government funding, legislation and occasional incentivization models designed to change behaviors and accountability. Whether it was George W. Bush setting a goal to give every American access to their electronic medical record or the Affordable Care Act, change has largely been forced on to the industry from the outside.
But now the change is finally coming from within, driven for the first time by recent changes in health care dynamics and the needs of an increasingly digital consumer. A range of factors are enabling consumers to take on greater responsibility for their health, including ever-increasing co-pays and deductibles, rising premiums, narrowing networks, lack of transparency, growing health consciousness of baby boomers and greater reliance on digital technologies and immersive daily experiences.
This wave of disruption and awareness is attracting top talent, agencies and investors from other verticals. Leading marketers, digital evangelists, entrepreneurs and technologists, as well as top digital, creative and media agencies, are flocking to the industry, clearly sensing growth and transformation.
For the first time, CMO in health care stands for a chief marketing officer – and not just chief medical officer.
Finding The Right Doctor, Hospital And Care
As health networks narrow, consumers turn to technology as they try to find the right doctor at the right hospital for the right care. It is more important than ever that consumers recognize the symbiotic relationship between doctor and hospital. Consumers are now doing both qualitative and quantitative research online to make what may be life-saving decisions. They need to trust that the information they're using to inform their decisions is comprehensive, accurate and, most importantly, transparent.
Data-Driven Predictive Models Detect Health Conditions
If you thought big data was critical for organizations because it could help predict consumer behavior, such as shopping patterns or the next best display ad, imagine the impact of predicting “health conditions” or their propensity factor.
Using clinical, socioeconomic, behavioral, demographic, dietary, personal and relationship data, these models allow health systems to reach and engage consumers higher up in the funnel, shifting the focus to more preventive care from sickness and treatment.
Personalized Omnichannel Digital Experiences Drive Behavioral Change
The philosophy of delivering the right content to the right person at the right time couldn’t be more appropriately applied anywhere than in health care.
Whether it is leveraging the predictive models to communicate seamlessly across all channels, book an appointment with the appropriate doctor or deliver lifestyle content about the healthiest diet for a specific individual, the right content and data-driven experiences are inspiring behavioral change toward a better health outcome.
From Time-Bound Push Campaigns to Always-On Patient Engagement
Until recently, the industry had limited its marketing budgets to television ads and public hoardings. Its shift to always-on patient engagement and consumer experiences is a reflection of the rapid evolution and change.
With more connected and harmonized consumer data as the foundation, health systems are moving away from time-bound push campaigns to programmatic and rule-based algorithmic communication that responds just in time to both offline and online human behavior.
The influx of marketing technologies, along with data, content and storytelling, is enabling immersive care experiences. Marketing automation, CRM, demand-side platforms, data management platforms, programmatic buying, rule engines and social listening platforms are all becoming central to the health care ecosystem.
A Unified And Universal Health Record And Profile
More than the volume, velocity and variety of big data, the biggest change is being driven by the harmonization and convergence of data in health care, a fragmented ecosystem.
On one hand, a universal health profile of a human being comprised of clinical, socioeconomic, personal and behavioral data allows health systems, pharmaceutical companies, providers and payers to communicate more efficiently and effectively, staying relevant to consumers’ emotional and functional needs.
At the same time, the convergence of an individual’s and family’s health record across providers, hospitals and encounters is a huge step forward, not just for historical tracking but for predicting and managing the present and the future. Many startups provide this abstraction layer by integrating with different electronic medical record platforms and connecting data at the individual and household levels.
The areas of disruption are not limited to these five areas, of course. It’s an expansive list that spans telemedicine and virtual care, genomics, innovation in payer transparency, wearable, sensors or even robotics.
But more than the breadth of these capabilities, it is the focus on putting consumers and their health at the center of this ecosystem that is transformative. As an industry, health care may be behind from a digital maturity standpoint compared to retail, finance and other industries, but it is certainly evolving as fast, if not faster, than the rest.