Tag Archives: Healthcare

Consumers Driving Healthcare Innovations

Everyone in the U.S complains about
healthcare’the rising costs of insurance premiums and co-pays, the lack of
innovation, the poor experience at doctor’s offices and hospitals, and price of
The landscape of big healthcare is eroding
faster than the biggest players can adapt.
Thanks to malpractice, the internet, the
rise of specialists and decline of general practitioners, integration with
complementary and alternative medicine, and other factors’consumers feel as if
they must drive their own healthcare. 
Gone are the days when actions are blindly
followed, as in ‘the doctor told me to take this __________________ and do
__________________.’  Instead, internet research leads to
second-guessing and attempts at self-diagnoses. Both scenarios lead
to information anxiety. Too little and too much unfiltered information causes
this quiet despair. The emerging paradigm finds consumers lost,
bewildered, looking for sources and solutions that help make health care make
sense for them’and willing to switch to what works for them. 
This tension creates a gap of opportunity
for disruptive entrants into the market. With 2.8 trillion at play,
everyone will race to get their piece of the pie, from well-established
companies outside of healthcare, to service providers offering new models
of care, to start ups. Hopefully, healthcare companies will recognize
the need to transform their business model and their product and service mix, or
risk dying on the vine. 
A recently released study by
the Health Research Institute (HRI) called ‘Healthcare’s New
Entrants: Who will be the industry’s Amazon.com’ The threat to the
established players is made plain: ‘Revenue
will circulate differently, and to many new
players. Consumers, spending more of their own money, are exerting greater
influence and going beyond the traditional industry to find what they
want and need. In the New Health Economy, purchasers increasingly will reward
organizations providing the best value, whether it’s an academic medical
center, a tech company with a great app, or a healthcare shopping network.’ 
Traditional providers have not yet caught the
tide of change, nor have they figured out how to diversify their revenue steams.
A single innovation can put a huge dent in the market. For example, if half of
all U.S. patients opted to administer an
at-home strep test, it could hurt the traditional provider network as much
as $68 billion. This move would benefit consumers, the company that makes
the test, and the retailer, but is a seismic shift for doctor office
Huge players are scrambling to make
an impact: Walgreen’s, Google, Time Warner, Target, as well as an increasing
number of healthcare technology start ups. 
Who will win? The ones who listen to
consumers, as they are the driving force of the change. 
Michael Graber is the
managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic
growth firm based in Memphis, TN. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to
learn more.

Digital Improves Patient/Doctor Relations

Digital impacts on consumer insights have grown more vital in improving customer inclusion. Disruptive innovations are becoming paramount to improving consumer experience. These innovations span a wide variety of fields and a recent system has been introduced to the healthcare industry that has revolutionized patient involvement, physician time management and the health of patients.
Collabobeat, the brainchild of Italian entrepreneur Floriano Bonfigli, is a system designed to share doctor’s notes with their patients. The patient then can use the system to see what the doctor recommended when home in case they had either forgotten or weren’t clear on what was instructed. In the US alone, billions of dollars are wasted due to patients not following their doctors instructions. Thousands of patients become ill or potentially worse as a result.
The system has been trialed at 3 American hospitals involving 100 physicians and 10,000 patients. The results in general showed a huge success for the system. It was found that there was a 70 percent increase in patient medical adherence which leads to improved results in patient recovery. The results also showed that 92 percent of the doctors spent less time addressing patient’s questions outside of consultations. This platform for increased connection with the patient helps to give them a sense of involvement and empowerment. It stops information from the physician getting lost in translation as the ability to comment on and reread doctors notes means less of a chance for the patient to get instructions wrong, thus not putting themselves in harm’s way.
The system will be integrated into other software that is already utilized in the healthcare industry. The merging in of the system allows patients in time information at their fingertips that allows for a better relationship between patient and doctor. A strong relationship between industry and consumer is important in making the service feel more personal to the consumer.
Innovations like these show the greater need for consumer interaction that will improve experiences across industries. Better physician and patient relationships can translate into other fields such as retail whereby increasing the amount of information that is available for the consumer helps with their decision making and thus giving them a better retail experience.
Information is key to improved customer insights and digital impacts are increasingly improving the way in which industries and consumers interact. Personalization is key to making the customer feel more involved and having as much knowledge as possible about what they need. In a world that is becoming increasingly mobile and interconnected, digital innovations are becoming more important for the future of consumer insights.

About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at hkempe@IIRUSA.com.

Anthem Blue Cross Research Head Confronts Post-ACA Unknowns

Insights Chief: Tried-and-True Tools Aren’t Enough

By Marc Dresner, IIR
We’ve seen industries turned on their ears these past 20-some
years, but if I had to cast a vote for ‘Most Disrupted,’ I think I’d go with U.S.
More than four years after President Obama signed the
Affordable Care Act (ACA), whatever you think of the law, it continues to wreak
At health insurance companies, for instance, acutely
uncertain footing has of course compelled decision makers to crank up the
pressure on their market research folks for answers.

The challenge for people like Doug Cottings, Staff VP of
Market Strategy & Insights at Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield (formerly WellPoint), is that new rules require fresh tools.

Doug Cottings

‘Past approaches that have
been tried and true are not as effective as they used to be.’

‘Everybody wants
to know what the future looks like and to project business results,’ said

‘Unfortunately, predicting the future by relying on what I used to in
the past’approaches that have been tried and true’they are not as effective as
they used to be.’

‘The consumer is
so different and the environment has changed so much that it just doesn’t make [what
we've done before] as relevant and meaningful as it once was,’ Cottings
In this
refreshingly frank podcast interview for The Research Insighter series, Cottings
discusses how dramatic changes to the U.S. health insurance landscape have
affected the insights function, including:

‘safety nets’ in research design

from the ground up when norms no longer apply

the most of technology, and more!

Listen to the

Read the

The Research Insighter: Doug Cottings, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield (WellPoint)

Editor’s note: Doug Cottings will present ‘Leading Insights in Times of Change’ at The Market Research Event 2014 taking
place October 20-22 in Boca Raton, Florida.

For information or to register, please visit

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com. Follow him @mdrezz.

Can healthcare companies learn about social media from consumer products?

Given that we live in a consumer savvy world, its logical that social media uptake is heaviest by consumer brands. However, despite my own consumer focus, I do have a background in healthcare and have often wondered how this regulated industry can navigate the social space by learning from its consumer counterpart. Having been published for this topic before, these are four things I hypothesize.

Listen Carefully

In the world of social media ‘listening,’ there is virtually
no end to the ways you can slice, dice and cull social media content. This
makes it easy to filter out valuable competitive insights by listening too
narrowly, such as by ruling out content from rogue bloggers and advertisements
that could prove useful. Healthcare brands can benefit from listening to patient and
provider reviews of themselves and their competitors, perusing online ads, and
monitoring the blogosphere for competitive intelligence. Social media is also a
great way to keep up with the industry reaction to regulatory changes including
interpretations and opinions.

Brands love to love themselves, and social media lets them
do it on a grand scale. However, CPG brands have learned that the key to
mutually fulfilling social media relationships is to give and take. By actively engaging stakeholders in a two-way dialogue
through various platforms. Healthcare and pharmaceuticals are particularly
segmented industries with complex decision-making ecosystems. Whereas in the
‘real world’ this presents a marketing research challenge, social media is the
perfect place to find self-segmented groups. Physician groups, disease-specific
support groups and health care news aggregators are online right now,
exchanging unedited, unfiltered insights. Those insights are an invaluable
complement to traditional marketing and advertising. 
Develop Thought Leadership
Personal care CPG brands know the value of using Twitter to
share a beauty tip, not just a coupon. Social media thought leadership content
is all about enlightened self-interest. Healthcare brands have an opportunity
to share highly relevant, altruistic content with highly segmented audiences
that have ‘opted in’ to what the brand has to say. And by sharing high value
information, the notion of ‘benefits before brands’ can really strengthen a
brand’s credibility. In order to provide quality healthcare in our fast moving
modern world, healthcare professionals have to stay on top of an almost
overwhelming amount of information. Social media is already being used as a
tool that filters, aggregates and delivers information that is specifically
relevant to various practitioners. In return, they are contributing to the

Discover Opportunities
Classical research usually delivers insights based on a brand in the
absence of competition, or within a constructed, stagnant competitive
environment. The insights are usually brand-specific, and a function of the
questions asked. But social media lets marketers see the whole, dynamic
competitive ecosystem, as everybody chats about everything. And since everyone
in this ecosystem has access to the exact same information, the first to stake
a claim wins. The healthcare industry still has lots of unclaimed territory on
the social media space. While several studies have revealed that over two
thirds of medical practitioners utilize social media weekly for professional
purposes, the activity can be harnessed by patients or brands alike. 
Over time, I feel that healthcare will overcome many barriers that consumer has learned to conquer via practice. But the industry is perfectly poised to uptake social media in a stronger way. For at the end of the day, even a healthcare consumer is a consumer, after all.


Sourabh Sharma,
Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international
consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering,
marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton
School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and
product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting,
he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every
platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer,
and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called
3FS. He may be reached at
s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on

Creating Value For Your Customers Through Mobile

If there’s one consistent theme that we hear when it comes to mobile, it’s that unwanted mobile marketing can feel intrusive, or be viewed as spam, whereas the right mobile content at the right time can be extremely effective. When you are providing real value to your customers through your mobile content it builds loyalty and engagement.

The HealtheHorizons’ visioncheck app, which is available free on iTunes right now, is a perfect example of providing such value. As part of Allergan’s HealtheHorizons’ wellness programs, the app is a unique application for screening three common eye diseases in diabetics. Targeted at active individuals with limited time and desire to see a doctor, the app provides quick, useful vision tests, and more information on common questions and concerns, it also further encourages one to contact an eye care professional. This video explains further:

Mark S. Miller, Director of Marketing ‘ Channel Strategy, Allergan , Inc. will be speaking on this topic more at the upcoming Mobile Marketing Conference in Miami.

At his session, you’ll learn:
‘ How Allergan leveraged apps and tablets to build disease awareness and education
‘ Key drivers impacting consumer decisions
‘ How mobile can save time and money

Save 15% when you register with code TMMC12DIGITAL here.

P.S. Join our social media community! Our new LinkedIn Group is a place to share expertise and brilliant ideas on anything mobile marketing and you can also follow us on Twitter or on Facebook for conference updates and industry insider news.