Archive for Social Media

MindXchange Megatrends


In reviewing my Twitter feed from when I was attending the Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange held in mid-March, I see how often I used the term megatrend. Usually, when I think of megatrends, I tend to consider things such as the Internet and cell phones – technologies that have become utterly ubiquitous and vital to those of us in developed nations. At the MindXchange, presenters were instead using the term to describe technologies and cultural shifts they predicted (or hoped) would someday soon have a profound global impact on healthcare.

Among the megatrends I deemed Tweet-worthy (@kmalaspina):

The concept of Value for Many supplementing – and in some cases replacing – Value for Money. This is an idea being ardently pursued in India, where great strides have been made in radically lowering the cost of procedures such as cataract surgery (from $3000 to $30) and medicines such as the Hepatitis B vaccine (from $18 a dose, to 40¢). (More here.) What’s lost in higher prices is gained in a larger market and the availability of treatments that were previously unaffordable for many.

The larger role of patients in influencing healthcare options and decisions. Of course, in nearly every non-emergency case, patients have decision-making freedom and responsibility. The Next Big Thing however, is the vastly greater amount of information the patient will have available to him or her – not just through Internet searches – but with personalized mobile health monitoring systems. Patient/physician relationships will become much more collaborative.

The influence virtual reality will increasingly have in medical treatment and training. We’re coming very close to the time when conversations with computers will be difficult or even impossible to distinguish from those with humans (at least when the conversations are not face-to-face). Accordingly, it is expected that healthcare therapists, in the form of avatars, will provide expert patient evaluation, lowering costs while providing (perhaps a bit ironically) increased “personalization.”

Virtual reality will also become increasingly important in medical instruction and training. Already the days are gone when anatomy classes include cadavers. Instruction in the operation of medical technology – even surgical techniques – are now being taught, effectively and risk-free, with virtual reality.

How these trends will affect costs, availability and other market considerations will be the subject of an upcoming coming blog.


Posted in: Digital Health, Healthcare Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Medical Devices, Medical Device Marketing, mHealth, Smartphones, Social Media, Uncategorized

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Social media is changing the way people talk about their health

The Social Media Sphere

Most people I know, while not exactly secretive about their personal health issues, are at least selective about who they share with. I mean, I don’t see people with t-shirts or bumper stickers that say, “I’m a diabetic” or “Ask me about my gall bladder operation.”

That’s why I was a little taken aback by some of the data presented in a recent article in MEDCITY News headlined, New report finds one-third of U.S. adults use social media to discuss health issues.

In some aspects, I totally get it. Monitoring Internet social media is simply making it easier to see something that has always existed:  patients comparing notes on physicians and healthcare services. We see in the article that 42 percent of consumers have used social media to check reviews of treatments and physicians. More interesting perhaps is the high degree of trust consumers put in the information they find through social media, with 40 percent claiming what they read there would affect how they manage their conditions.

“…hardly a day goes by without news of privacy concerns…”

What stood out to me was that fully one third of those surveyed indicated they would “allow monitoring of their social media conversations if data could be gleaned to improve their health or better coordinate care.” This seems remarkable in light of the fact that hardly a day goes by without news of privacy concerns relating to Facebook, Google+ and others.

One more thing that stuck out to me:  Not only are many people willing to share their health concerns on social media, their expectations for reciprocation are high. More than 75 percent reported they “would expect healthcare companies to respond within 24 hours or fewer to requests for appointments via social media.” Nearly half expected a response within a few hours.  Now that’s something for medical device, medical technology and healthcare companies in general to take note.  Expectations are rising but I don’t think most companies in the healthcare sector are prepared for it or resourced to support it, the way patients and healthcare consumers expect.


Posted in: Digital Health, Healthcare Marketing, Marketing, mHealth, Patients as Healthcare Consumers, Social Media

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