Mar25

SXSW 2014: True Potential of Social Media in Healthcare Is Still Ahead of Us

sxsw logoOver a single-week period, SXSW Interactive hosts hundreds of presentations and panels. What was interesting to note this year, compared to the last few, is that a large percentage of healthcare discussions were now hosted on the stages of the two main convention centers, alongside all major celebrity keynotes.

Among many trends and ideas that were discussed, two concepts mentioned at the “What Happens When Tech and Healthcare Meet” panel were quite memorable. Although these are just mere single examples, each testified to a number of current trends in healthcare.

Concept: DermLink—a social network-based platform that allows patients to digitally share skin conditions with dermatologists and receive real-time responses.

Why this is important: This is especially relevant to those outside major metropolitan areas, where a wait to see the local dermatologist can exceed a few weeks. We’ve all heard success stories of doctors tapping into a broad pool of peers via Twitter and Facebook. But this platform is among the first controlled, social, care-specific environments that could potentially redefine the approach and expectations for doctor-patient interaction.

Bottom line: Regardless of the success of this platform, the mere fact that this platform is gaining momentum is an indicator that the true potential of social media in healthcare is still ahead of us.

Concept: Covered—a platform that helps applicants select the most appropriate health insurance by posing a series of qualifying questions in a standard, conversational language.

Why this is important: Although standard applications have been around for quite some time, we’re starting to see a shift in the way even insurance companies need to structure their communications. Over the past decade, we’ve witnessed a similar shift in practically every single aspect of marketing communication etiquette due to social media. A simple, well-timed response to a tweet can gain greater consumer loyalty than a multimillion-dollar Super Bowl ad.

Bottom line: Consumers no longer want to be talked at. They want to be spoken with. This is no longer breaking news…rather, a well-known fact. But at last it is finally beginning to change the insurance companies’ tone of interaction with potential applicants.

SXSW Series:

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Feb28

How Can Self-monitoring Best Support Behaviour Change?

3907691Some of today’s biggest public health challenges, such as obesity and  heart disease, can be linked to personal lifestyle decisions. Governments have tried tackling these issues with smoking bans and taxes on high-fat foods, with moderate success. However, personal health behaviour change is needed to make a significant, lasting impact. Can self-monitoring of health information be the answer?

Studies in diabetes, hypertension, medication compliance and weight loss have shown that patients who successfully self-monitor their activities and set personal goals enjoy improved health outcomes and better adherence to treatment 1-6. We now have an abundance of apps and wearable technology at our fingertips to comprehensively track numerous aspects of our lifestyle, analyse results and observe improvements over time. These self-monitoring tools can then be easily integrated into social health networks so that we can share experiences, track our progress against that of our peers, and give and receive advice on how to succeed.

It is estimated that there are more than 40,000 health and fitness apps available. But with this bewildering variety of choice, how can we know which ones will encourage lasting behaviour change?

Easy does it

The apps which make the process of data upload as effortless as possible for the end user are the ones most likely to catch on in the long-term. Devices that automatically record data and synchronise it with online analysis programmes in real time provide a seamless transition and are not hampered by general forgetfulness or lack of time.

Keep it simple

Health information needs to be engaging, and simple enough to be universally accessible. The average person is likely to find sorting the data that matters from what doesn’t time-consuming and intellectually daunting—in fact, many patients who have to actively monitor a condition like type II diabetes don’t always fully engage with self-monitoring for these very reasons.7

Be realistic

Establishing aspirational but realistic goals and providing reinforcing feedback can help bring self-monitoring systems to life and make them personally meaningful.  A recent study into self-monitoring to improve diabetes treatment found that the main concerns patients had with the system were disappointment with unmet expectations and difficulty fitting the programme into the demands of daily life. 1

Collaborate

Ideally, fitness or health tracking app developers should collaborate closely with specialist healthcare providers and device makers as well as social scientists who understand how to bring about behaviour change. Such cross-fertilisation could result in truly useful tools that track fitness alongside other health metrics, such as blood sugar levels or medication adherence.

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1.  Barlow J, et al. Self management approaches for people with chronic conditions: a review. Patient Education Counseling 2002;48:177–87.

2.  Benhamou PY. Improving diabetes management with electronic health records and patients’ health records. Diabetes Metab 2011;37(Suppl 4):S53–6.

3.  Dennis EA, et al. Weight gain prevention for college freshmen: comparing two social cognitive theory-based interventions with and without explicit self-regulation training. J Obes 2012;2012:803769.

4.  Parker R, et al. An electronic medication reminder, supported by a monitoring service, to improve medication compliance for elderly people living independently. J Telemed Telecare 2012;18:156–8.

5.  Ralston JD, et al. Patients’ experience with a diabetes support programme based on an interactive electronic medical record: qualitative study. BMJ 2004;328:1159.

6.  Wagner PJ, et al. Personal health records and hypertension control: a randomized trial. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2012;19:626–34.

7.  Choose Control Survey. Choosing to take control in type 2 diabetes. Available at: http://www.diabetes. org.uk/Documents/Reports/Choose_Control_report.pdf (Last accessed May 2013).

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Feb7

The Age of Wearable Health Technology Is Upon Us

5240666It used to be that technology that conforms to the human body and seamlessly integrates into your environment was stuff of science fiction movies. But if we’ve learned anything over the past 10 years, we know that science fiction is rapidly become science-fact. If you wanted to see what the near future held, all you had to do was tune in to the numerous news feeds covering the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) January 7–10. If there was one trend that seemed to be on every manufacturer’s mind, it was wearable health technology. In fact, CES expanded exhibitor floor space by 40% just for digital health and fitness exhibitors, many of whom were showcasing wearable personal devices.

CES is known as an event where electronics manufacturers like Samsung preview the mainstream consumer electronics that will drive the holiday shopping season. It’s the place where the industry goes to see everything from the latest web-connected refrigerators to the latest mobile chips. And the news from this past CES convention was no different. In the past, consumer electronics companies have been focused on portable, mobile technologies. With the mainstream adoption of smartphones and tablets, consumer electronics companies have continuously tried to innovate by going smaller. It was this evolution from compact, mobile personal technology to wearable technology that was on full display this year at CES. There were smart watches, smart jewelry, and smart glasses, and even mention of integrating technology into fabrics. There was a visible trend toward fashionable, smart, wearable health devices. The core technologies and functionality in many of the wearable gadgets on display were fairly similar, mostly informational apps and health and fitness monitoring, but it was the emphasis on style and technology as an accessory which spoke to how health technology will be more seamlessly integrated into everyone’s everyday life.

After years as a novelty, in 2013 wearable health tech began gaining wider adoption. From primetime TV commercials for the Samsung Galaxy Gear—a watch reminiscent of Dick Tracy’s clunky walkie-talkie wristwatch—to coverage of the debut of Google Glass on local news channels, wearable technology was noticeably all over news and pop culture. You couldn’t take a ride on the New York City subway without seeing at least 5 people with some kind of fitness tracker on their wrist or hip. And those who didn’t have a dedicated tracker likely had some kind of fitness or health-focused app installed on their smartphone. In fact, wearable tech adoption grew from 3% in 2012 to 13% 2013, and that growth has been fueled by growing consumer interest in fitness and personal health monitoring and tracking. As consumers have increasingly begun to take control of their own health, adoption of wearable devices to help them do so has grown. Gartner predicts that the fitness and personal health monitoring trend will grow to a $1.6-billion industry in 2014 and to $5 billion by 2016. As we saw at CES, consumer electronics manufacturers are doing their part to give the trend momentum by making the wearable devices easy to use, fashionable, and less pricey, hoping to appeal to a much wider consumer base. And it’s not just the consumers who will see the benefits of devices that are easier to have and use. New opportunities will continue to arise for healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies to play a direct role in wellness and health behaviors through these wearables. As open software standards become more prevalent across devices, it’ll be easier for healthcare marketers to customize programming to suit clients’ needs and integrate wearables into a more personalized patient experience. Here at Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide, we’ve already begun to explore how this new channel for engagement can be used toward patient education and adherence. Next Christmas, don’t be surprised if your grandparents or teens ask Santa for a fashionable wearable health device.

What about you? Do you currently own a wearable personal health or fitness device? How has this affected how you manage your and your family’s health?

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May14

Is There Good Karma in Advertising?

buddhaSo much of what we do throughout our careers is interesting…but is it inspiring? Well, we found out recently when the knowledge and information we’ve been exposed to through client work helped me and my wife conceive of and create something entirely new and unexpected. Using the skills we’ve honed while working at ad agencies, my wife and I recently came up with the idea for an iPhone app that aims to improve the world by promoting small changes in daily actions. Basically, we asked the question: what can we do using our advertising knowledge to help make the world a better place? That was the question. “Karmasation” was the answer.

Karmasation, the app we’ve created, is what we somewhat jokingly call an anti-social network. People can post their actions, thoughts, and experiences anonymously and get feedback about whether they deserve good or bad karma. Because users maintain anonymity within Karmasation, they can post honestly. They aren’t speaking to people who know them through various social interactions (as they would on Facebook and Twitter), they’re just speaking to a community of people. Human to human.

The tie-in to social networks, though, comes into play with the idea of gamification, a subject about which we’ve frequently engaged our respective clients. As users participate in Karmasation, they accrue a Karma Profile. Users can simply compete against themselves, or they can share their profiles, posts, and results with Facebook and Twitter to create somewhat of a competition to see who can earn the best karma.

So what type of advertising knowledge were we able to apply while creating the app? And how did that learning continue with Karmasation?
1) The Devil is in the Digital Design. As we’ve worked on different digital platforms for our clients, we’ve learned a bit about clean design and user interaction. Combining that knowledge with being iPhone users ourselves, we had an idea of what would work within the iPhone platform. Are we still learning? Of course! But through our work on our app, we’ve gained a broader understanding of user interaction. We now have a better handle on how users might prefer digital platforms to react and function—not just from an art or copy perspective—but from an overall experience.

2) Bravo for Beta Testing. Again, with the digital platforms we’ve worked on comes testing. The first time my wife worked on a digital presentation, her project manager told her to try and “break it.” And “break it” we did, because before putting an app out there you want to make sure you’ve covered every scenario—not just how you’d use it but also how anyone else might. Because our app has more possible combinations of actions than other projects we’ve worked on, we’ve learned the importance of testing in a systematic way with a greater attention to detail. We also found that as we progressed through the rounds of beta testing, we learned ways to better communicate issues we were finding with our developers. Clear communication between team members who understand different aspects of a project is crucial to getting any problems fixed.

3) The Process of Promotion. The obvious one since we’re in advertising. But this time, we are both the agency and the client. Deciding on your own strategy can sometimes be difficult, and as a result, we now have an added sense of respect for our clients. We continue to work daily to find ways to better promote our app so that more people can know, use and enjoy it.

As we continue with Karmasation and our jobs in advertising, we’ve learned from each experience and have already seen how we can apply our learnings from one circumstance to the other. Like karma, what comes around goes around. And in this case, we’d call it good karma!

 

 

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Mar18

SXSW 2013: Bad Behavior – the Saga of SXSW

sxsw logoAs you act, so you become

Health and digital health are emerging themes at this year’s SXSW.  The chatter is robust, the personalities many, and the health and fitness devices ubiquitous.  The behavior is also legendary.  One notable tweet was: “SXSW is a fountain of knowledge where all go to drink!”  And while this is partly true, it’s the behavior that really got my attention this year—but not what you think.

My observations were around health behavior as it relates to the digital health movement that is taking hold at SXSW.  The “device” was clearly embraced by the attendees.  From higi to dosIQ, the technological mechanics and theories seem to be in place to transform your smartphone to a wellness device that’s going to save your life.  At least, that’s the desired impact.  But it all seems to hinge on this huge leap of faith—will people really do it?

I’m not sure.

Communication must empower innovation

The success of digital health is a function of both technology and a story well told.  We all know about the Higgs particle.  It’s the biggest discovery in physics in the last 100 years.  Some even call it the “God Particle.”  But I challenge anyone to provide a brief description of any aspect of this innovative discovery.  Simply put, there’s a disconnect between the discovery and the relevance.  Similarly, I’m afraid that the mishmash of health devices has become more of a novelty than a true innovation.  And while CERN, the lab that discovered the Higgs particle, continues to receive praise, so do the likes of device manufacturers such as Scanadu, Misfit Wearables, and Fitbit.

Understanding the nature of the health dialogue and how it impacts outcomes is an essential part of the digital health journey.  The complicated discussion of disease is already largely broken in the physician’s office.  And adding to this complexity is the “sell” of digital health.  And conversely, the hectic and often confused lifestyle of a patient (I’m not talking about the fitness freak, where adoption is much simpler) doesn’t bode well for engagement and learning.

So, maybe we need to add a few more presentations at next year’s SXSW around driving the correct behavior when it comes to digital health.  The technology side of the equation seems to be coming together, but the human side is still a bit unclear.  “Build it and they will come” doesn’t always apply to health.  And digital health is no exception, regardless of how cool or sexy.

Check out OCHWW’s other SXSW 2013 blog posts:

SXSW 2013: Small Data in a World of Big Data

SXSW 2013: How Zombies Are Helping Us Get Fit

SXSW 2013: BIG Data and Personal Technology at SXSW

SXSW 2013: The Mobile Healthcare Revolution

SWSW 2013: Empty Information Calories

 

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Mar12

SXSW 2013: The Mobile Healthcare Revolution

Fitness+AppMobile has come to healthcare, and in a big way. From digital healthcare products that created a buzz at CES in January to innovative new fitness apps on display at SXSW this week, it’s clear to see that mobile technology will change the way we manage our health. But it also has the potential to revolutionize healthcare globally.

mHealth apps have the potential to improve patients’ quality of life while at the same time reducing healthcare costs. Remote monitoring of patients will reduce the need for face-to-face consultations, saving patients time and money. Electronic health records (EHRs) save on administrative costs for practices and hospitals. Mobile technology can also help save lives in situations where typically nothing can be done. For instance, a mobile heart monitor allowed a doctor to diagnose heart conditions in passengers in-flight on two separate occasions over the past two years–http://bit.ly/WOFeFt. In one case, he diagnosed the passenger as having a heart attack, which led to the pilot making an emergency landing so the passenger could receive treatment.

While a lot of mHealth focuses on such advanced apps and technologies, simple SMS messages can have a great impact on healthcare as well. SMS appointment reminders can reduce the incidence of missed appointments, while text reminders can increase compliance for patients undergoing treatment for chronic conditions.

TxtAlert, an open source project developed by Praekelt Foundation, has exclusively been used for over two years to send antiretroviral treatment reminders to patients in South Africa. According to a report from GSMA and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the success has been resounding with missed appointment rates declining from 27% to 4%. Additionally, SIMpill, a medication management system that detects noncompliance with medication regimens, uses SMS reminders. Results showed 94% compliance in a tuberculosis trial and a 92% cure rate.

Increased compliance and cure rates coupled with lower costs and less hassle for patients is a perfect recipe for patients and healthcare providers alike to adopt mobile solutions in healthcare. This mobile healthcare revolution has the potential to lead to a much higher quality of life for people the world over.

Check out OCHWW’s other SXSW 2013 blog posts:

SXSW 2013: Small Data in a World of Big Data

SXSW 2013: How Zombies Are Helping Us Get Fit

SXSW 2013: BIG Data and Personal Technology at SXSW

SXSW 2013: Bad Behavior – the Saga of SXSW

SXSW 2013: Empty Information Calories

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Feb15

Catch Us if You Can: Part 1

photo 3Co-authored by Maria Colicchio and Courtney Kober from Ogilvy CommonHealth Wellness Marketing – Parsippany, NJ

A stereotypical image that normally comes to mind when someone mentions “Millennials” or “Gen Y” is a young adult (born after 1980) who is up to their ears in debt from student loans; either unemployed, lazy or working a part-time job that doesn’t utilize their expensive college degree; spends most of their time distracted online or on their phone; lives in their parents’ basement; plays video games; and is delaying both marriage and buying their first home.

Now, we’re not going to lie….this is true for a select few Millennials, but let us tell you how it really is– you may think you know Millennials, but trust us, you don’t.  Read on if you’d like to learn more.

Technology

  • I’m plugged in at all times. And by plugged in, I mean I’m connected to a multitude of Internet-enabled devices, and usually using 2 or 3 screens at the same time: my work PC, my personal MacBook®, an iPhone®, an iPad®, or my Kindle®. Not to mention I can access YouTube, among other things, via my Internet-enabled TV. This connectivity satisfied a need for instant gratification and I’ve grown up with this ability to multitask. My parents might ask how I’m able to focus on a TV show and surf the Web, but it’s just engrained in me.
  • My life is online. And it doesn’t creep me out. But, just because my life is online doesn’t mean I’ll grant the world access to it. I have layers of privacy settings in place so that specific groups of people can see specific parts of my online life. If I’ve chosen to share with you, you can find albums from my graduation, to social gatherings, to my wedding online.
  • I don’t have a landline in my house. I had one briefly as part of a 3-for deal, but ditched it when I moved. If I have to provide contact information for, say, a loyalty program, I have an arsenal of fake phone numbers to give out. I maintain a similar level of privacy with email. I have multiple levels of junk email accounts, and rarely give out my primary email – which I use to Gchat, Google hangout, or email close friends and family.

Money & Managing It

  • Are Millennials struggling? While there’s certainly a significant group of young people who are stressed financially, there are also plenty of affluent young professionals who have accumulated a nice net worth. Now, if you ask Baby Boomers, they will tell you that young people often spend their money without thinking about the long-term implications and buy “silly” items like the latest gadgets and shoes that cost only God knows how much!?! But, the reality is 8 in 10 Millennials save a third (32 percent) of their monthly income.
  • Budgeting. Here’s a little secret I’ll let you in on: Millennials like to manage a budget via credit/debit card because it’s easier and everything is trackable through online banking or apps. Plus, nobody carries that much cash on them anymore.
  • I’ll admit it, I don’t know everything. So, I haven’t completely figured out how this whole personal finance thing really works. But I do take full advantage of the free financial tools available–my personal favorite is Mint.com. The question is whether other Millennials have the willpower to take control over their financial situations, and I happen to think we do.

Purchasing

  • I don’t need to touch the items that I buy. Contrary to other generations, I don’t feel the need to touch or try out things that I buy. I’m more than happy to make a purchase online and am more likely to trust the recommendation of strangers, as opposed to my friends. I’m comfortable ordering food, clothing, or homeware from an online merchant, as long as they have a good return policy.
  • I love a good deal. But, doesn’t everybody? The difference between my generation and others is the way we find deals. I research pricing in depth–combing several sites for cost comparisons and cross-checking against product reviews. If I’m at home, I’ve got several browser windows open, checking a variety of factors before settling into a purchase. Or, if I’m at the mall, I’ll trek between several stores to find the best deal. You can bet I’ve also scanned a potential item into my phone to research prices, see if better deals exist online (coupon codes!) or if there are any major negative reviews.
  • Food shopping is a breeze. As a Millennial, I’ve become accustomed to quick food shopping. My grocery list is saved in an app that categorizes food by aisle, making it easy to maneuver around the store without trekking back and forth between aisles. With handheld (or even mobile device) scanning, I scan and bag as I go, which means I don’t have to ever wait in line at the checkout. If I’m in a jam, I can even quickly send the grocery list that I’ve saved in-app to my store, and they’ll deliver the groceries to my door.
  • Don’t ignore me. Millennials have the largest potential for spending–over $200 billion in spending power, according to Kelton Research. So, while I do like to be thrifty, if I set my mind to it, I can absolutely purchase large or luxury items.

Stay tuned for Catch Us if You Can: Part 2

Other great articles on Millennials to check out:

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Jan18

Consumer Electronics Show 2013 (4 of 4): The Car as a Platform

Connected-CarThis year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has seen the maturation of a relatively new category of hardware and software integration: the connected car. Our cars are quickly becoming platforms the same way our computers and tablets are.

Smartphones have introduced us to “app culture.” We are quickly adjusting to including these small tools into our daily lives. We tweet, chat, take photos, share experiences, look up information, journal our health, and photograph and deposit checks.

For the last few years Ford, BMW, and Toyota have been working on integrated solutions that bring app technology to our car’s console. These systems, often referred to as “embedded,” are bridging our connected digital world with the somewhat sequestered automotive one.

What does a connected car do for a driver? The more straightforward applications include: entertainment from your cloud-based library and streaming services, and location-based services that present your favorite foods at key times or special coupon offers as you run your weekly errands. These are low-hanging fruit for app developers.

The application program interfaces (APIs) released at this year’s CES offer developers access to systems within the car: environmental conditions, braking and acceleration information, climate control status. All of these are useful information if we are keeping our drivers and their passengers safe. Inconsistent acceleration and braking may be signs of an alertness issue or, if a patient is recovering from cardiac complications, signs of a heart attack.

For a diabetic patient or family member, access to blood sugar status can help families remain proactive in their health. With an API like the one that Ford announced for their SYNC software, patients using an insulin pump can be alerted to changes without being distracted from their driving. This same technology can help monitor time behind the wheel without stopping and encourage an appropriate break from a long road trip.

Patients who have implanted defibrillators can also benefit from communication between the car and patient. In the event that such a device is triggered, the car can be brought to a stop or perhaps even “driven” to safety.

The “Internet of things” has become the vernacular for devices, like our cars, that communicate with the devices around them. Automotive manufacturers that are releasing their APIs are not only ahead of the curve, but are also extending their value to consumers and the public at large.

What it means to pharma

As devices like our phones and cars become aware of one another and their owners, there will be an increasing focus on how our personal behavior can be used to improve our lives. Healthcare (and personal health) is quickly becoming the focus of many new innovations. Our calories are being counted, our walks cached and calculated. All of this data can now be used to create profiles and predict outcomes that result from good and bad behaviors.

Pharma will have a difficult time accessing people’s personal data, but being able to help physicians and healthcare professionals interpret and find insight from this data will be an easy pathway to improved wellness and superior outcomes.

Keep an eye out for the first round of apps and programs that begin to combine data using APIs and help tailor services to those healthy and ill. Sooner than later, our devices and electronics will be advising us to have a hot cup of soup to ward off the sniffles.

Next steps

There is no reason to sit idly by while the revolution of connectivity happens at CES and in the coming year. The benefit to APIs is the creation of an accessible platform developers can leverage to quickly and easily get projects off the ground and into market.

Reach out to your agency, internal teams, and technical experts and see what they’re excited about. Challenge these teams to think about and build solutions that can work with your patients and customers. We have an entire team of experts who are excited to share their ideas and vision with you and your entire team.

CES 2013 Series:

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Jan18

Consumer Electronics Show 2013 (3 of 4): What the Slew of New Tablets and eReaders Means for Pharma

Tablets-and-eReadersAs the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) ramped up, I’d sneak peeks on my iPhone to get the latest news. During the show, I’d read longer articles and reviews on my iPad. At home, I flopped on the couch and immersed myself on the iPad Mini.

So, yeah, three things: First, I am an Apple fanboy. Second, I love my tablets. Third, I also have a Kindle Paperwhite.

CES 2013 featured a flurry of new tablets and ereaders. At least some of the companies competing in this space are smart (not all of them), but all of them recognize the inevitable future of tablets and ereaders.

A year ago, I would have shared a statistic that validated the rise of ereaders and tablets. It would have justified the price or proved that more people were buying these things. This year, few people doubt that ereaders will become the medium of choice for many, if not most, of the nation. From the Kindle to the Nook to the iPad to the Galaxy, digital book readers are getting less expensive and more powerful. Sales of ebooks and e-magazines are booming.

What it means for pharma

A few years ago, the pharma industry was trying to understand what social media meant for healthcare communications. We struggled with blog monitoring, social media communities, and even open message boards. The learnings from those early explorations have defined much of what we do today.

Before that, it was the web. We tried to use this exploding channel for patient, caregiver, and healthcare professional communications. Again, trial and error taught us what works, what doesn’t, and how far we could push the envelope. It was a learning process, but we got there together (even if sometimes we were competing with each other).

Now many clients are taking a digital-first approach to marketing and communications. They understand that almost all of their targets have access to the web.

But the rise of ereaders and tablets has created a new challenge for our industry. We’re advocating—and in certain cases pioneering—responsive-design strategies. Clients recognize the value (and savings) of creating channel-agnostic content that adapts to devices, platforms, and channels. It just makes sense.

If you’re a brand already using responsive design, then the influx of shiny new mobile devices, tablets, and ereaders announced at CES simply means you need to test on new platforms. If you’ve only designed for the desktop, well then it probably means that your message and design will be breaking on even more platforms. Not good.

What to do next

In a few weeks, the dust will settle from CES 2013. We’ll have a better idea of which mobile devices will actually ship and which were just vaporware and prototypes. You’ll want to have at least two or three of the most promising, buzzed-about devices that actually ship.

Test your sites on all of these new platforms. Review how your message displays on these new screens. If your patients, caregivers, and doctors are using them to read your message, you need to know what their experience is like. Hold the device and pretend to be your target user.

If you’re not using a content strategy that includes responsive design, you should meet with your team to discuss your options. If you are, congratulations—now go test your messages on these new devices.

If you are a client (or want to be), give us a call to learn about the newest devices as they become available. We get most of these new devices, and we can show you how we build and test your sites. Or you can come by to play with them yourself.

Our industry can no longer be multiple years behind popular technology and new devices. Our target users include patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals…and many of them are already using this new technology. If you care about your message reaching your target user, then you need to know exactly what they will see when it reaches them.

Patient-compliance and education programs shifted to the web years ago. Unfortunately, those experiences don’t always deliver the right experience on a tablet or smartphone. If your patients and caregivers use tablets already, then you should be building experiences that reflect this (not so new) channel.

From the diabetic with dietary needs to the parent of an epileptic child, mobile health tools can be essential to prescription compliance. Pill-plus programs must deliver an excellent experience that integrates into the lives of patients, since tablets and smartphones are becoming an extension of everyone’s lives. The first step is recognizing that this technology is here to stay.

CES 2013 is a good excuse to bring up the topic of content strategy and responsive design to your internal stakeholders and agency partners. Schedule a meeting to get the conversation started.

It’s timely, relevant, and (if you think about it) will probably be received on a tablet device or smartphone.

CES 2013 Series:

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Jan18

Consumer Electronics Show 2013 (2 of 4): Digital Healthcare Goes from Geek to Chic

HAPIforkDigital healthcare has finally gone mainstream, as evidenced by the speaker presentations and products that created a buzz at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week in Las Vegas. Long known as a tech geek paradise, CES showcases the latest and greatest in cutting-edge consumer electronics.

A keynote presentation, given by Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, focused on the benefit that the use of IT in healthcare can bring to people worldwide. “…[W]hat makes this a transformational moment is the barriers to innovation in the industry are coming down,” he said.

Illustrating that point, the competition in the health tech products field is being ignited by a convergence of more-affordable sensor technology and heightened consumer demand driven by increasing healthcare costs. Additionally, the wearable device market is expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2014, with a rapid growth in sensors, components, and system integration, according to a report published last fall by Juniper Research.

Healthcare was embedded into CES with the second annual Digital Health Summit, featuring such high-profile speakers as Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Reed Tuckson, and Dr. Otis Brawley. With such nationally recognized thought leaders participating in CES, the message of technology in healthcare was elevated even further. Similarly, the super session was headlined by Arianna Huffington and Deepak Chopra, who discussed devices that let us monitor everything from our stress levels to genetic sequences.

But the real stars of CES were the many health-related products that were launched. Among the products was an array of wristbands, belts, and other sensor-enabled wearable devices to monitor one’s lifestyle and fitness level. In the FitnessTech zone, more than 220 companies were on display, a 25% increase over last year. Below are the top five health-related products of the show.

Buzzworthy products

What better way to get people interested in taking care of their health than leveraging the ubiquitous smartphone that most people can’t seem to live without? Using smartphones and tablets, apps can now process personal healthcare data in real time, providing feedback and instant gratification that will spur users to stay on the right track.

The Fitbit Flex is a wristband that tracks activity and sleep patterns and syncs with a smartphone app to show you how active your lifestyle is. It syncs with an Android (Samsung Galaxy S III or Note II) device or iPhone via Bluetooth and uploads the data to an app as well as to an online profile. The band can measure how many steps you’ve taken, calories burned, and quality and amount of sleep. Four LED lights on the band show you how far along you are toward meeting that day’s goals. It will also gently buzz to wake you in the morning.

The biometric device Spree measures your temperature, tracks your movement, and monitors your heart rate. The device then streams that information to an iOS or Android app you can use to help you enhance your body’s performance. This information, along with data on distance traveled, speed, time, and calories burned, is then transformed into graphs to track progress.

Taking it one step further, GeoPalz incorporated gamification into getting fit, appealing to the younger generation. The ibitz PowerKey for kids connects to any Bluetooth-ready smartphone and uses a pedometer to track activity. This physical activity is then converted into “keys,” which unlock rewards, such as games, apps, shows, and custom prizes. There’s also an in-app GeoBotz character, which needs healthy food, exercise, and plenty of water to stay fit, mirroring the child’s health.

In addition to smartphone-leveraged devices, stand-alone electronic health-related gadgets also burst onto the scene.

Some of the biggest buzz in digital healthcare out of CES surrounded the HAPIfork, an electronic fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits. It also alerts you with the help of indicator lights when you are eating too fast.  The data that it collects is uploaded via USB to an online dashboard to track your progress. The HAPIfork also comes with the HAPILABS app plus a coaching program to help improve your eating behavior.

In a much larger form factor, HealthSpot launched a cutting-edge telehealth system that provides high-quality medical diagnostic technology to patients anytime, anywhere. HealthSpot Station is a walk-in kiosk that will be located in everyday locations like pharmacies and grocery stores for patient diagnosis and medical treatment. Not only was this product launched at CES—showcasing the future of telemedicine—the healthcare kiosk was hand-picked by CEA (the organizing association for CES) for a premium location between two of the main exhibit halls. That location maximized foot traffic by the kiosk and increased the chatter surrounding digital in healthcare.

Looking to the future

With the decreasing costs of sensors and increasing interest in convenient ways to stay healthy, the digital healthcare market is sure to skyrocket in the future. Super-cool apps and wearable devices will continue to become daily staples in our lives. Could stillsuits be far behind?

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