Klick Health

When Technology Becomes the Treatment

VP Strategy

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The convergence of Internet connectivity with the shift from volume to value within the healthcare system portends transformational change. Brian Kaiser showcases how tech has become treatment in our digital age, and what it means for pharma marketers.

Our smartphones have become our lifelines to the world around us – our connection to friends and family, our means of accessing current events, and our mechanism for capturing important moments in time.

It’s not just our phones that connect us as more of our everyday, mundane devices in our homes are plugging into the Internet – everything from our deadbolts to our thermostats and smoke alarms.

However, it’s the convergence of Internet connectivity with the shifting emphasis within the healthcare system, from volume to value, that portends transformational change for healthcare.

And we’re not just talking about wearables that track our activity like FitBit.

Companies such as OneMedical are reimagining the primary care interaction between physicians and patients by leveraging technology as a collaborative platform upon which communication and real-time intelligence can drive improved outcomes. OneMedical’s recent acquisition of Rise, which offers a suite of mobile applications to provide coaching and support for healthier living, provides a prominent example for how connectivity is changing not just the tools we use to manage our health but the relationships within healthcare system itself.

Whereas devices themselves focus on providing insight at the individual level, the aggregated data this makes available at scale could yield the most significant benefits.

IBM’s continued acquisitions and sizable investments in Watson Health seek to harness artificial intelligence and big data to identify potential breakthroughs in both diagnostics and treatment.

On the manufacturer side of the equation, pharma companies understand that the next blockbuster may lie beyond pills and injections by expanding the definition of what treatment looks like in the future. Several major players such as Sanofi and Novartis are integrating technology into inhaler delivery for medications for COPD as a way to foster improved care. As we look forward, there is nothing that dictates that the form of innovation must be biological or chemical – as technology itself becomes not just a bell or whistle, but an essential element of the treatment in its own right.

For this reason, collaboration between pharma and tech companies is likely to grow exponentially in the near future as we attempt to accelerate and amplify the impact of technological innovations on treatment solutions. Already, companies are exploring using devices to capture real-time clinical data in real-world settings. Digital connectivity feeds these emerging research efforts to develop and evaluate treatments helping the industry move beyond “me-too” pills increasing the potential that we might crack the code on diseases that have defied scientists relying on more traditional instruments.

As society becomes more connected in all we do, we all become generators of critical data whether we pursue wellness or battle illness. Connected healthcare has moved beyond the tipping point. The critical questions we now face will be how this data is captured and where it gets applied. And perhaps most critically, how we manage and protect this data as it proliferates.

Klick Health has a front row seat to the emerging role of technology as treatment witnessed in the challenges put forth by pharma marketers. The problems we are being asked to solve and solutions we are delivering tie directly to the value proposition of the Brand itself.

Digital efforts are no longer confined to being extensions of traditional consumer or HCP communications efforts, but rather products or services in their own right. Technology is becoming an integrated component of the patient’s prescription.

Near-term, much of that will manifest as adherence support in the form of mobile applications. On the horizon will be solutions that function inseparably from the treatment regimen. Explorations into personalized medicine tend to focus on the genetic or biologic components of medical research, but tools that can adapt to the individual patient’s needs during the treatment experience to facilitate improved outcomes will play a critical role as well.

Every Brand should be asking how technology could add value to the treatment experience. Ask us if there is a role for technology in how your brands deliver treatment to your patients and in partnership with your prescribers.   There may be emerging opportunities to set your brand apart in how technology, working alongside the medication, helps your patients achieve optimal outcomes.   Let us help you identify digital strategies and solutions that go beyond relaying a message to your patients. Or simply open the door to look more closely at developing a lifecycle strategy that integrates technological innovations to augment clinical advancements.

Today’s advancements may resemble the contact lenses that can measure blood glucose levels being developed by Google, but tomorrow will bring to light new innovations as the lines between technology and treatment are quickly converging. Our job at Klick Health is to ensure our clients’ brands stay well ahead of the curve.

For any questions about integrating technology into your treatments, contact Brian Kaiser.

More About the Author

Brian Kaiser

Brian has been pioneering solutions for brands in the healthcare space for the past 20 years from both the agency and client perspective, leveraging digital to fuel successful launches for brands in fields that include respiratory, therapeutic nutrition, diabetes, and neuroscience.

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