LONDON: Technology is changing the health landscape in new and unexpected ways and marketers are going to have to rethink how they approach this area to achieve the best possible results for both themselves and consumers.

In a WARC Best Practice paper, Using technology to drive behavioural change in healthcare, D’Arcy King, Global Head of Customer Experience for Hall and Partners Health, outlines the numerous ways in which technology is being adapted for use in healthcare to improve outcomes for both individuals and for society as a whole.

Biosensors and trackers, augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) are just some of the technologies affecting healthcare provision while the adoption of fitness trackers during the past decade has led to the rise of the so-called quantified self.

“Never before has it been more incumbent upon successful pharma marketers to create a singular connection with their customers,” says King. “Understanding how to leverage and apply … data-driven insights to improve the day-to-day ‘lived’ experience of your customers will ultimately drive lasting value for your brand.”

Technology is enabling a shift from volume-based care – getting patients ‘through the door’ – to value-based care, which achieves and maintains the health status of a person as measured through ‘quality outcomes’.

But there is a long way to go to turn reactive care into proactive prevention, King advises. “Fundamentally, it’s about behaviour change: the individual embracing technology to help nudge them toward the necessary changes needed to improve health outcomes both for themselves and society.”

To make that happen, however, marketers will have to be smarter about how they develop the apps and related tech that collect the data that is fundamental to achieving better health outcomes and ensure a relevant value exchange for the user – something King suggests is currently lacking.

“Products need a trigger for people to use them (which usually comes from advertising or word of mouth), which then turns into action (of using the tech), followed by reward (such as points, rankings or community recognition), and ending with investment (an internal trigger such as a noticeable improvement in well-being).

“This should lead to sustained behaviour change over time,” she says.

Evidence of such change will be essential as healthcare systems and practitioners begin to ‘prescribe’ apps and other health tech to improve patient outcomes.

Digital healthcare has come a long way in the last six decades, says King; “it should be a priority for the marketing profession to understand how it can improve the health of individuals around the world now and in the future.”

Sourced from WARC