The Proactive Revolution is Coming to Healthcare Marketing

September 17, 2018
Chris Neuner

I’m amazed at how much of the world is going proactive. Gmail writes my email replies for me. My phone tells me when to leave the house for a dinner reservation based on traffic patterns. And my credit card flags fraudulent activity based on what it “knows” I’m unlikely to buy.

Welcome to the Proactive Revolution! Amazon pioneered this revolution a few years ago with its real-time recommendation engine, and it has since taken on a life of its own.

More recently, this Amazon effect has started to permeate healthcare. A lot has been written about how Amazon will use its data, AI, personalization and operational infrastructure to change how healthcare is delivered to its employees, and possibly everyone else. Other companies are diving in as well: Google, IBM, and countless start-ups are investing in AI to help predict conditions and improve treatment and outcomes. Apple announced last week that the Apple Watch can now recognize when a user has fallen and has another feature to detect Afib with an FDA approved ECG monitor.

So, if the Proactive Revolution is coming to health, I’ve been wondering how it’s going to affect health marketing and media.

Health media has been through its own revolution, moving very quickly from a “spray and pray” approach to progressively more refined levels of targeting. Health media professionals can now find healthcare professionals individually, by NPI#, and programmatically serve them advertising and health content. They can also target, at scale, consumers who we predict have, say, chronic eczema, with a very high level of confidence. The predictive capabilities are impressive, but are still restricted to patients already diagnosed and needs already expressed.

That’s going to change. Proactivity is coming to health media, and it’s just around the corner.

Here’s what it will look like:

Imagine that you could intelligently know when, for example, a patient is just about to be diagnosed with lupus, or when a patient with eczema is about to enter the chronic stage, so that you could educate at precisely the right moment of need, when they require a new or change in medication. You could emotionally hand-hold them through the process. You could even identify when they’re going to see the doctor, and enroll the doctor in the support process. We haven’t measured this yet, but when we do, I expect that patient outcomes and patient satisfaction will have gone up.

What is this going to take?

  • Multi-dimensional real-world data: Access to multiple sources of individual-level like web searching behavior, pre-claims data (e.g., labs, OTC purchases), other real-world behaviors, and claims data, at a scale large enough to make meaningful analysis possible.
  • Forward-looking intelligence: The ability to understand the relationships between various data, and to use intelligence to create signals and triggers that proactively identify points of need.
  • Smart application: A mechanism, like a technology platform, to activate this data and intelligence, to reach the requisite volume of people with the right level of accuracy in an easy-to-use and regulatory-compliant way.

Why does this matter?

Like with Amazon’s recommendation engine, this approach truly enables marketers to extend their reach to the right people at the right time, i.e., before they’ve entered the system and started down a consideration or treatment path. And assuming we design useful, supportive engagement experiences, we’ll improve how we connect with our customers, and we’ll drive customer adoption and loyalty.

Come hear more!

I’m speaking at Digital Pharma East about how the Proactive Revolution is changing media. I plan to discuss the foundational considerations necessary to go down the proactive path, and how we can design the ideal customer experience. Come see me, October 18th, 11:40 am, during the Media track. I promise I’ll leave you jazzed about what’s coming.

Chris Neuner, Chief Revenue Officer at PulsePoint, has 20 years’ experience driving performance in the interactive marketing and media space. He brings to PulsePoint a proven track record of partnering with leading pharmaceutical companies and agency partners to build successful businesses.

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