Five Digital Trends in 2018
- ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE/MACHINE LEARNING
Innovative technologies will continue to find a place in healthcare this year. AI has not reached the state of full adoption but is moving from novelty to applicable tools to help solve a variety of problems in the healthcare industry. AI is already in our everyday lives, including Google searches (OK Google), Amazon suggestions, and Apple’s Siri, just to name a few. AI- and ML-powered tools have the potential to manage patients’ data, personalize routine and preventive care, and power treatment plans for optimal decision making by healthcare providers. For example, Google’s DeepMind Health project in the UK mines medical records data to detect seriously unwell patients and ensure rapid care. And IBM Watson cognitive computers have been used in many ways to analyze big data in genomic and biotechnology research. AI and ML are everywhere and in a few years, will reach their full potential and pharma companies will become increasingly reliant on AI/ML partners to benefit from these technologies.
- AUGMENTED/VIRTUAL REALITY
Augmented and virtual reality technologies are among the most innovative and promising digital advancements that are altering everyday healthcare, including health product demos, usage in training and education, and therapeutic applications. Augmented and virtual reality devices have fascinating possibilities and the potential for positive effects on patients’ lives and how healthcare professionals work. : the technology helps patients see how drugs work in 3-D right before their eyes and helps them clearly describe their symptoms to HCPs. It helps patients with chronic conditions relax; enables children in healthcare settings to feel like they are at home; and speeds up recovery in patients who have suffered a stroke.
- RISE OF ENGAGED AND DIGITALLY SAVVY PATIENTS
Patient empowerment is the primary driver for increased patient engagement. Patients today are digitally savvy. Reliable online sources of information have a strong influence on patients’ attitudes and behavior. The wealth of medical information available and numerous online communities and groups help patients become better educated about their illness, manage their condition, and take control of their health. Patients have become much less dependent on their doctors for advice and more likely to evaluate different healthcare products and services on their own. The ability to engage with patients online quickly and develop relationships via wellness and disease education content is the key to success for a pharma company. Pharma companies play a critical role in creating understandable information and decision-support tools that resonate with patients and help them a navigate the maze of information with confidence.
- VOICE SEARCH
Today, 1 out of every 5 searches is a voice search. The influence of voice search on SEO will become increasingly significant in 2018. This natural evolution of search will continue to evolve within the next few years. Already a big part of our daily lives (Amazon Echo, Google Home), voice assistant technologies are now also making their way into the healthcare industry. Stickiness will depend on the ability to extract meaning from queries and engage in meaningful conversations. As marketers, it is important to understand the nuances of voice search and what our customers search for to help them find exactly what they are looking for when they are asking for it by voice. The complexity of search in general, and more specifically of voice search, is that there is usually a plethora of answers available for a single question (search). Decipherability of content in voice search is critical and depends on ensuring that search engines are optimized with keywords for vocal commands and are equipped to “understand” and condense longer, more complex user queries.
Amazon will be among the most important emerging platforms for digital advertising this year and will play an essential role in the advertising space. Display and search are the main drivers behind the powerhouse as an advertising platform, and according to eMarketer, Amazon will earn $2.35B in digital ad revenue in 2018 (2.5% of US digital ad spending). Brands tend to improve their presence on Amazon search and lean towards effective cost-per-click placements, which enables them to effectively reach their target audiences. The Amazon ad platform has capabilities that allow marketers to reach users based on their Amazon activity (searching, buying, etc.). Within healthcare, Amazon will revolutionize how drugs are supplied and, moving into US prescription-drug distribution, will capitalize on its cost efficiency, superior logistic network, and outstanding user experience.