One of the big themes of eyeforpharma eMarketing Europe this year was predicting what the future will look like. Now we’ve got beyond thinking of digital as a “channel” and begun to grasp that it is a ubiquitous part of daily life, we are considering how our lives in general, and healthcare in particular, are changing.
In our Complete Digital presentation we decided not to try to predict, but to travel forward in time and discover the 3 Digital Healthcare Truths of 2016. We jumped up the Digital Maturity Curve (see my last post) and off the top into the future:
TRUTH 1: The Patient is dead, long live the Person
This caused a sharp intake of breath in the audience, perhaps the non-native English speakers who might not know the very “English” phrase that inspired it “The King is dead; long live the King.” But what does it mean?
It is referring to the fact that all patients are people, and all people are patients. We all have health. In the future people will be proactively managing all aspects of their own health, tapping into a variety of services provided by pharmaceutical companies in addition to their medicines.
Healthcare providers and insurance companies will offer lower premiums or co-pays to those of us who join managed health programs and have regular self-checks reported automatically to their healthcare professional.
These self-checks will be using a variety of mobile, personal healthcare devices connected with online information and education resources, integrated with patient records and other services provided for physicians.
The “product” for our industry will become a combination of a drug with a suite of services – most of which will be digital services.
TRUTH 2: Primary Care Physician = Healthcare Broker
The GP will become a “broker” of services for the empowered patient, reaching out to specialists and services all over the country (or world) in response to their patient’s requirements, using digital tools and multiple media including video conferencing to communicate symptoms and find solutions – maybe doing “Skype surgeries” or online chat consultations, and connecting patients with their chosen specialist in real-time.
Healthcare will, of course, be more complex but the physician will have DNA screening and sophisticated diagnostic tools available, as well as a suite of services to support people for whom she prescribes certain drugs. The GP lives in a digital landscape of information, education and peer support, and has everything she needs at her fingertips.
As pharma brand managers it will be our job, not to get “share of voice” with the physician but “share of digital landscape”.
TRUTH 3: Pharma and Health Ambassadors – a partnership
In future we believe that the pharma industry will engage openly with patients, doctors and others about drugs and healthcare issues in the interests of patients.
New KOLs will emerge – patients, doctors, others, who earn credibility through others’ experience of their postings (e.g. like Wikipedia) and lead thinking on health topics – they will become healthcare ambassadors and be recognized as thought-leaders, even though they are not doctors or scientists. What is more, they will partner with us, the pharmaceutical industry, for better patient outcomes.
Can we figure this out do you think? Manage the risk instead of the risk managing us?
Perhaps in 2016 we will look back at 2011 and wonder at the constraints we operated under, that turned out to be perception rather than reality once we figured out how to operate in the world of “participatory healthcare” (thanks for that term, @MeredithRessi):
Let’s start driving the express train that is the digital healthcare revolution, otherwise we might just get hit by it…