Remember that first time you got a smartphone or iPad® and you didn’t think you needed it until you realized just how amazing apps are?! I can’t imagine a life now without Google® Maps app to find the pub that’s “around here somewhere”; a life where I couldn’t check-in on Facebook letting my friends know I’m at the pub; or a life where I couldn’t use my phone to set my Sky+™ DVR box to record “Entourage” because I haven’t left the pub yet (can you see the pattern here?!).
What do the digital technology and healthcare industries have in common? Perhaps surprisingly, they are far from mutually exclusive. In fact, these industries are coordinating on a common platform to serve the need for virtual care, and both are at the forefront of transforming healthcare management.
• Second Life® is one of the most widely used 3D platforms for healthcare communities, with companies such as IBM and organizations such as NHS creating
Hardly anyone will dispute the growing environmental consciousness that has taken place on a global scale in the past 10 years. The term green has become a part of our everyday lexicon. It should come as no surprise then that the “green awakening” has now trickled down to how we take care of our bodies.
The United States faces a shortage of physicians—a shortage that the Association of American Medical Colleges reports will reach 91,500 by 2020. This shortage is caused by many factors, including an aging population, healthcare reform that will provide healthcare access to an additional 64 million people, and more physicians retiring than are entering the profession. Greater pressures on primary care are driving the evolution of the primary care physician.
Medical tourism—traveling abroad for the purpose of obtaining healthcare—was once considered a renegade industry but is now mainstream and expected to increase greatly in frequency and reach. It is a consumer-driven trend, as patients seek ways to mitigate healthcare costs, but it continues to gain approval and even support from domestic insurers as well as foreign governments.
As the population of the United States continues to become more diverse, disparities in healthcare have become more prevalent. Large segments of the population in key urban areas have neither adequate access to care nor the benefits of basic medical treatment to address even the more common health issues such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, or obesity.
Advances in medical technology are rapidly bringing forth new diagnostics, devices, and smart and innovative approaches to medicine. For example, there are now smart contact lenses embedded with sensors and electronics to monitor disease and dispense drugs, and advances in surgery include the use of 3D screens to bring human anatomy to life during operations.
With the passing of the Obama administration’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the delivery of medical services in the United States is expected to include a broad range of providers that will operate under the umbrella of accountable care organizations (ACOs). Developed as a new model for delivering healthcare in a less fragmented, wasteful, duplicative, and costly manner, the initiative has the 3-part goal of providing better overall care for individuals, providing better care for the entire population, and slowing growth in costs.
There is no question that Steve Jobs was a visionary. He impacted the lives of many with his innovative thinking and product development. He also left me, as a marketer, reflecting on his opinion of traditional market research approaches. According to Jobs, “It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.” Apple products avoided evaluation by the consumer prior to launch, reflecting a philosophy that innovation is only stifled by the average consumer’s critique. He was not the first great visionary to recognize this issue.