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“Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a smartphone app.”

Star Trek had it right, I think. While Doctor McCoy certainly relied on his trusty Tricorder to help him diagnose his patients (at least his human ones), he then used his training and experience as a physician to apply treatment. And this is happening in the year 2266.

In the same way, I don’t think mobile health applications are going to diminish the role of physicians any time soon. On the contrary, I believe that, once market conditions evolve to where industry leaders are clearly established and their technologies widely accepted, physicians will be able to do their jobs more effectively than ever before. Here’s why:

First, there’s the “Tricorder effect.” Everyone knows how unreliable human recollection and reporting is, even when it comes to things as important as diet, exercise, medication and monitoring vital signs. Mobile health devices, when used properly, don’t forget (or lie) and therefore provide the physician with a realistic set of data from which to evaluate patient status. In addition, mobile health technology will suggest diagnoses and treatment and therefore expand the physician’s knowledge and treatment choices.

Second is the reapportionment of a clinician’s time. Mobile health can cut down on time-consuming patient office visits, without diminishing the level of care. And with quicker access to more accurate patient data, a doctor can expediently determine treatment and therefore may be able to accommodate more patients – a huge plus everywhere, but especially in areas with a shortage of physicians. These increased efficiencies will also have a profound effect on the roles of other healthcare professionals.

Mobile health is presenting us with new tools. We will continue to rely on physicians for their skill in how to use these new tools.

 

Posted in: Digital Health, Health 2.0, Healthcare Marketing, Marketing Medical Devices, Medical Device Marketing, Medical Devices, mHealth, Smartphones, Wellness

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No one said it would be easy. Effective targeting of healthcare advertising on mobile devices.

Effective Targeting

In America, more money is now spent on online advertising than on radio or print. The heavy hitters here are auto manufacturers and big packaged goods companies. Their dollars are gravitating in that direction because expensive research is showing them it’s money well spent. Many other businesses can read the signs, and are redirecting their advertising budgets accordingly.

Significantly, online budgets are being further delineated between ads delivered to those using computers versus searching on mobile devices. Use of mobile devices, of course, is skyrocketing.

Health care companies have ventured into online advertising quite slowly, making up only one percent of all online ads. Pharmaceutical companies in particular have to wrestle with presenting required side-effect disclaimers on small screens.

To my mind, however, the greatest challenge to mobile health advertisers is accurate targeting.

I don’t want an ad for an AED served to me on my iPhone when I’m searching for an emergency room to bring a loved one.

One trend that helps better define delivery targets is the growing disparity in age between users of home-based computers and those who are coming to rely on Smartphones and tablets for searches. Folks above 50 years old or so have settled in with their desktops, while younger people are going mobile. Young people research health-related issues such as STDs and pregnancy; older (computer-using) Americans want to know more about heart attacks and IBS. Further, studies show that 18-40 year olds are far more likely to download and use apps that aid in monitoring diet and exercise than are older people.

Every company will have to address the targeting issue, and it’s not going to be easy to make the fine delineations that can make the difference between making a sale and wasting money. For example, I’m working currently with the orthodontic device company OrthoAccel and their product AcceleDent (which accelerates tooth movement so braces can come off faster). OrthoAccel may have an opportunity to effectively advertise their products to potential patients by targeting adults, teens and parents of teens who are searching for local orthodontists. But the company shouldn’t advertise to those searching for information on dental implants – an entirely different category of patients.

Of course, any discussion of targeting advertising through analysis of web browsing behavior and online profiles brings up vexing privacy issues – a subject for another blog.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Healthcare Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Medical Devices, Medical Device Marketing, Medical Devices, Patients as Healthcare Consumers, Smartphones, Social Media, Uncategorized

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