The Future of Connected Health: Industry Experts Dish on Digital Healthcare in New eMarketer Report

Who knows most about what’s happening in the world of digital healthcare? The most knowledgeable sources of information aren’t just healthcare providers themselves, but a host of stakeholders toiling in the vineyards of the coming revolution in healthcare. We’re referring to everyone from the designers of software to the manufacturers of wearables to the government …   Read More

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The Future of Connected Health Industry Experts Dish on Digital Healthcare in New eMarketer ReportWho knows most about what’s happening in the world of digital healthcare?

The most knowledgeable sources of information aren’t just healthcare providers themselves, but a host of stakeholders toiling in the vineyards of the coming revolution in healthcare.

We’re referring to everyone from the designers of software to the manufacturers of wearables to the government agencies tasked with directing traffic in a changing healthcare environment.

Recently, eMarketer decided to investigate the latest challenges and opportunities in the digital healthcare technology sphere — and it decided to ask the people in the trenches.

“We talked to a number of key stakeholders in the industry,” notes eMarketer in the introduction to its report, Connected Health: Industry Perspectives. “We learned a lot about how providers, payers, consumers, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and other players see connected health taking shape, how it is affecting their businesses and how they expect marketing to change.”

The result is an engaging compendium of educated insights from an eclectic group of thought leaders intimately involved in connected healthcare.

The report covers a myriad of connected health issues, including definitions of what exactly constitutes “connected health” to the forces driving it, the obstacles to a more integrated healthcare system, the role wearables will play, the resultant changes in marketing, and other pressing issues.

What is driving connected healthcare?

“Cost is the driving factor, as well as access to consumers,” said Chris Nicholson, CEO at mPulse Mobile, a Mobile Experience Management (MXM) company with HIPAA compliant mobile messaging solutions for consumer health and wellness companies. “From the standpoint of overall expense, there’s over $2.3 trillion—or 20 percent of US GDP—spent every year on healthcare. And 75 percent of that cost is controllable, [caused by] behaviorally driven things like smoking, eating and exercise. Health plans are seeing the value and leveraging connected health solutions like mobile messaging and others to help influence and drive behavior change at those points where they’ve never been able to get access to consumers before.”

Nicholson and his team have been actively seeking solutions to the complexities of connected healthcare, including the vagaries that attend a proliferation of competing products.

“The future trend for connected health space is much deeper integration across all of these devices,” explained Nicholson. “There are so many different products on the market that consumers are buying to capture data about themselves. You’ve got smart watches, the Fitbit and something like 23,000 healthcare apps in the iOS marketplace. So when there’s a lot of noise, integration will start to come into play and we’ll get much more efficient.”

According to Nicholson, the modernization represented by connected healthcare will be accompanied by changes in marketing, as well.

“In the past it was more general, broad-brush communications to create awareness around programs — print communications or outbound calls, trying to reach people at a household level,” suggested Nicholson. “In the last 10 years there’s been deeper analytics for targeting people into programs.”

The upshot? Nicholson believes the ability is now available to become more personal, more targeted, and more helpful to consumers of healthcare.

“Now you’ve got the ability and the analytics to get so much more sophisticated, to talk to somebody at a personal level, very specifically. Health plans have been a little slower to leverage mobile and social and are just now investing very heavily in this space,” said Nicholson.

The report is an eye-opening view of what experts in the industry view as opportunities and challenges going forward. To learn more, click here.

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