How the Consumer is Adopting and Adapting to Digital Health

  We live in an increasingly quantifiable world, a world where we can now measure and calculate everything from the nutritional content of last night’s snack, to the amount of cholesterol moving through our bloodstream. The widespread availability and navigational ease of today’s digital tech now allows us to monitor and assess nearly every conceivable contributing factor to our health. These advances enable an ongoing digital dialogue: a conversation with healthcare experts and providers alike regarding exactly how best to keep ourselves well. And just as modern tech now permits the accurate gauging of our health status, we can also quantifiably confirm that this informational exchange in healthcare is being facilitated evermore by the integration of wearables, mobile tracking, online information, and other digital health solutions into our everyday routines. Health-conscious consumers are widely and effectively engaging in the field of digital healthcare, according to a 2016 survey conducted by Rock Health. The survey used a questionnaire distributed to over 4,000 adults, who were selected to reflect nationwide diversity in age, sex, education level, and health status, in order to compile a representation of where digital health stands among the contemporary US healthcare landscape. Results were promising, indicating a steady, multi-demographic rise in consumer adoption, use and positive opinion of today’s most prominent digital health options. While a substantial increase in total adoption was apparent across all categories of digital health tech included on the survey, telemedicine showed the largest upswing in consumer use, with a 283% surge in overall adoption (from 7% to 22%) compared to a similar survey conducted in 2015. The most popular method of telemedicine...

The Pros and Cons of Data-Driven Marketing

    The wave of mass-information that at any given moment cascades over cyberspace is nothing short of breathtaking; according to a 2016 infographic by Excelacom, every minute humankind’s digital pastime churns out around 350,000 new tweets, 2.78 million YouTube views, 2.4 million Google searches, 150 million emails, and exponentially more.   This constant transfer of billions of bits of unique, user-generated data has understandably intrigued marketers for some time. Master advertisers use messages strategically tailored to reach deep consumer insights and drives, captivating target demographics with such subtlety that subjects are unconsciously, or even willingly persuaded to buy products. The digital footprints left regularly by millions of internet users draw for marketers a demographic map which lays out the consumer impulses, trends and preferences of any potential audience.   Pros of Data-Driven Marketing   It’s easy to recognize why such data could serve as a bottomless pool of resources for savvy marketers. Brands that gather metrics indicating which buyers prefer certain products (as well as when, where and why those products sell) are able to systematically deploy ad campaigns pinpointing which demographics are most likely to respond positively to specific ad strategies. By molding advertisements into an interactive, customer-focused experience, companies are able to curb needless spending and optimize the success rates of limited marketing resources.   The sheer amount of input endlessly blasting at internet users means successful ads must actively cut themselves from the buzz of online background static. In a review of the marketing industry, analytic platform Teradata claims:   “Customers today expect—and demand—a seamless and relevant experience. They have grown accustomed to marketers’ knowledge...

How the Digitization of Healthcare Could Save You Money

  Many people believe the healthcare system in the United States at the moment is, in a word, flawed. In addition to middling levels of effectiveness, the US also claims the top spot in overall healthcare cost. According to The Journal of Health Affairs, an average American can expect to pay over $10,000 per year in health care costs–about $2000 more expensive than it was in 2015 and a whopping 2.5 times as much as any other nation.   While politicians and policy makers continue to debate cost-cutting changes to our system that may or may not come to fruition, the simpler solution for high healthcare costs could be in all of our pockets right now: technology.   Healthcare is currently in the midst of a digital revolution of sorts–the mobile healthcare app market, pieces of wearable tech, and even the number of doctors and other medical professionals who are embracing digital health is growing substantially in recent years.   Digitization of healthcare practices represent modern advancements that improve convenience, ease of access, accuracy, and return power back to the consumer, but how has the ultimate cost of healthcare been affected?   Digital healthcare advances represent a stride forward technologically, closing the doctor-patient gap considerably. Allowing patients to connect digitally, monitor and even control some facets of their personal healthcare from home can be connected directly to a reduction in costs. Conditions that don’t require a doctor’s visit–for example a diagnosis of Pink Eye–can be diagnosed virtually as digital health technologies continue to improve, thus saving patients money on copays and visits (in addition to the opportunity cost-savings of...

How Digital Health Is Giving Power Back to the Consumer

According to Pew Research, almost two-thirds of American adults own a smartphone, nearly double the 35% of respondents that indicated they did just five years ago. Naturally, with more smartphones in the pockets of Americans across the country, the capabilities of our devices continues to grow. The capabilities of digital health on our devices is no exception, as its continued expansion and growth has resulted in some impressive numbers–namely that 66 percent of smartphone users indicated they would use a mobile health app. For the first time, the power of monitoring, measuring and analyzing your health is being put back into your own hands thanks to the digital health revolution. But it, like everything else entrusted to the public, is not without its questions and limitations, at least seemingly. A huge and looming factor when it comes to putting the power of health into the hands of the consumer is trust; more specifically, will people trust their phones to accurately measure how healthy they are, and trust themselves to accurately interpret it? As it turns out, the answer to that question may already be a firm “yes.” According to Forbes, the ease and convenience of digital health devices like wearables or mobile apps is beginning to outweigh the expertise and comfort of in-person physician visits, as more and more people are opting to put their health in the hands of their smartphones. Only a few years ago, the idea of relying on your cell phone to manage your health would be largely unheard of; ask any Baby Boomer or Traditionalist about their feelings on putting their health in the...

Why “Digital Marketing” is a Misnomer

  When you write an email to your friend, are you digital writing, or are you just writing? When you read a book on your Kindle or Nook, are you digital reading, or are you just reading? When you pay your bills online, are you digital paying, or are you just paying? If you’re anything like the rest of the world, you probably answered that you’re writing, reading and paying–the word “digital” doesn’t need to be attached to everything done digitally. Why then do we call online advertising, social media, search engine optimization and online conversions “digital marketing?” In reality, they should be referred to as “marketing in a digital world” if you absolutely must include the word “digital”.  The phrase digital marketing serves as a misnomer that frankly is unnecessary in today’s world. I’ll admit that even I am guilty of this, caving to the pressures of established online verbiage, using the term a couple of times in my own writing. However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that in the most basic sense, “digital marketing” is simply a product of industry jargon, the need to attach meaningless modifiers to already existing terms. Modifiers like “digital,” as in “digital health,” are hugely important when they’re actually functioning as modifiers. Digital health encompasses broad landscape that sits at the intersection of emerging digital technologies and the molecular biology of how our bodies and health function. Digital health, then, is distinctly different from healthcare in a broader sense. (Although let’s see if, in about five years, the phrase “digital health” is a similar outdated misnomer.) Much of the difference...
The Intersection of Digital Health and Digital Marketing

The Intersection of Digital Health and Digital Marketing

The Digital Revolution, as it is sometimes called, has made a lasting mark on mankind. The widespread development and subsequent adoption of digital technologies as they became available during the 1980’s was, in a word, prolific. Perhaps even more notably, the digitization of the modern world hasn’t slowed down one bit since getting its legs in the 60’s and 70’s – it’s only continued to gain traction. Inventions and ideas formerly relegated to science-fiction movies, TV shows, and comic books are now a reality. Now, less than 40 years later, the world has truly gone digital as we set foot deeper and deeper into the information age. Our capabilities have grown and morphed further than we could have conceptualized in the past as more and more facets of human life are beginning to go digital. Digital Health As with most everything else during a worldwide digital proliferation, the way we approach healthcare and pharma has taken on digital legs of its own. Mobile health apps, fitness trackers, online diagnostic tools and data-driven health tracking systems present just a small taste of the possibilities that the field of Digital Health encompasses. New and innovative technological breakthroughs are rolled out seemingly every day, lending more and more credibility and weight to the expanding Digital Health field. The evolution of healthcare into Digital Health continues to unfurl in front of our eyes. As the technology behind Digital Health grows and expands, so too do practitioners’ views on it.  In the same way that few people anticipated automobiles or home computers would be a necessary technology now, more and more people are beginning...
The Importance of Digital Health Literacy

The Importance of Digital Health Literacy

As a country, we the people of the United States of America are getting better at living. We’re living longer than we ever have before, increasing our effectiveness of fighting off disease, and decreasing infant mortality rates at an incredible pace. As we get better at living, our increased life expectancy and better access to healthcare comes with an increase in the median age of the population–by living longer as a human being, we’re also growing much, much older on average. The median age in the US as recently as 1940 was 29. Today, it’s over 38. In addition to the median age going up, the percent America’s population over the age of 65 is growing rapidly. By 2050, projections put the number of Americans over 65 at around 110 million, almost double the 60 million of today. While it’s difficult to find a good reason to be upset that we’re living longer as a civilization, it’s worth noting that as we live longer and grow older, the average age of those receiving health care is also increasing and the importance of digital health literacy grows even more vital. People may wonder exactly what I mean by the phrase “digital health literacy”. I consider it the ability to effectively access, use, understand, and derive value from digital health technologies. In other words, digital health literacy is the one’s capacity to truly leverage digital health. Tell a teenager who’s probably glued to his or her phone anyway that that same piece of technology could also potentially make them healthier and they’d eat it up. Tell someone who is 70 years...
What is Digital Health?

What is Digital Health?

The term “Digital Health” is less complex and mysterious than it is often portrayed. I see healthcare / life science professionals and outsiders alike confuse “Digital Health” with the simple application of health information to things like websites, apps, or wearables. While these examples sometime play a role in Digital Health, I believe the term is both more holistic and purposeful. To get a better idea of what Digital Health is, it helps to step back from individual devices, softwares, platforms, or services that have been categorized under its umbrella over the years. Forget about the Apple Health app, forget about your Fitbit, and forget about the 23andMe kit you just received in the mail. Instead, look at Digital Health as the broader landscape where digital technology and molecular biology meet explicitly for the purpose of preventing, predicting, diagnosing, monitoring, treating, managing, and curing illness. Digital Health is the convergence of sciences and technologies concerned with addressing each health moment of the individual throughout the entire health journey of that individual over time. And believe me, being a gadget geek, it was hard for me to think beyond these shiny tech devices and broaden that point of view. As these areas continue to advance, and, in fact, as we are already seeing and experiencing, the focus of Digital Health can empower every individual to live better, healthier, more productive lives that benefit themselves, their families, and their communities. In providing useful, actionable information at critical moments, Digital Health can empower each of us, at every stage of our life, to act as the CEO of our own health (as...
Thankful Memories

Thankful Memories

I was cleaning out my “My Documents” folder today and came across a Christmas memory thing my Dad wrote for the Chicago Tribune a few years ago.  It’s so beautifully written, I didn’t want it to just sit on my computer with nobody reading it.  Maybe it’ll provide some joy this holiday season… Thankful Memories by Daniel W. Gandor While the holidays are a time of heightened joy, they can also be a time of deepened grief.  Memories of loved ones who have passed from our life can be devastating at this time of year.  But the very fact that we grieve shows that, while they’ve been removed from our sight and senses, they are still visible in our minds and hearts. Rather than becoming immersed in grief, let’s be thankful for the time we’ve been blessed with them, however long or short. They have touched our lives in ways we may never comprehend and have become a part of who we are. If we believe in Christmas, and the promise it holds for all, let’s cherish those memories with joy rather than sorrow, and celebrate on Earth what they are celebrating in...
12 New Year Tips for Websites – Happy New Year 2012

12 New Year Tips for Websites – Happy New Year 2012

In honor of the new year, we offer 12 business tips for 2012!  Here are some ideas/tips to keep in mind if you have a small business or a website: Keep your passwords secure!  Okay this one isn’t really a business tip, but I’ve seen too many people get their websites and/or email accounts hacked.  Be sure to change your passwords regularly and use complex passwords:  best practice is over 8 characters, a combination of upper AND lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.  If you have a password of 6 characters, with just letters, it can be cracked in less than 5 seconds!  Conversely, if you have a complex password of 8 characters, it would take over 2 years!  Check this out:  http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/how-quickly-can-your-password-be-cracked Keep your website fresh.  Search engines like Google and Bing reward websites with fresh/new content.  Be sure to add something new regularly.  All the websites I develop offer easy-to-update administrative functionality that allow YOU to edit your website quickly and easily. Market your website offline for free.  Don’t forget that word-of-mouth advertising is some of the post powerful marketing there is!  Be sure to simply talk your site up in the “real world.” Market your business and website offline.  Marketing OUTSIDE of the web can sometimes bring more traffic to your site than online marketing.   If you want to get “official”, you can do direct mail marketing.  I highly recommend Expresscopy.com for your direct mail needs:  Postcard Printing. 20% Off Your Direct Mail Campaign. Market your website online.  If you haven’t tapped online marketing channels like Google Adwords, you might want to try!  It can drive...