Group Director, Health Experience & Product Strategy – leading health innovation at Appnovation.
If you haven’t been paying attention, digital products have already become a major player in daily health management. After all, who knows more about your health: a doctor you see once a year or your Apple Watch or other health app that you use daily? What has become even more common though is that most people now consult Google or TikTok for medical advice before seeing a medical professional. The general population now feels that influencers are more accessible than medical professionals, so their health search begins online. However, most influencers aren’t doctors and thus lack the appropriate education and credibility.
To combat misinformation, the health industry is recognizing the potential for digital health products like wellness apps and remote monitoring solutions to level up and provide much-needed daily health support.
I have created global-scale digital health apps, enterprise digital platforms and games with global pharmaceutical organizations, leading health insurance companies and hospital networks. In the past, there has been a reluctance to create digital health-related guidance by the health industry as they felt it could lead to misinterpretation and liability. These same organizations are now seeing consumer demand and business value in providing patient support, leading to a movement to create health literacy content and personalized guidance through digital products.
Based on my experience, here are important components every digital health company must consider incorporating into their products in order to meet modern-day consumer needs:
Offer a mental health component.
MORE FOR YOU
On TikTok, one of the most popular health searches is for mental health support. Unfortunately, in analyzing 500 TikTok videos tagged #mentalhealthtips, research found that a staggering 83% of the mental health guidance was misleading at best—and, in some cases, could be downright damaging. With 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. affected by mental illness each year, the importance of finding credible content is more important than ever.
The average psychotherapist costs $100-$200 per session and may have a long wait time, while people can jump onto TikTok for free and straight away. This leaves a big challenge and opportunity for remote health offerings to reach and support those in need with medically sound content.
Many digital health companies are quickly learning that member success relies on more than surface-level guidance on topics like diet and exercise. Whether looking for weight loss solutions or addressing insomnia or chronic illnesses, successful results often require some level of mental health support.
Apps like TikTok can feel personalized and supportive when people are in an emotional state and searching for like-minded individuals to connect to. Brands are now introducing more human solutions like telehealth, online communities and personalized stories of hope to provide credible mental health support. This enhancement not only helps support healthy decisions but also contributes to sustainable change.
If digital health solutions do not provide helpful mental health support, the natural alternative will be to continue seeking guidance from social platforms.
Make your customer experience fluid.
The health system is incredibly fragmented and the industry knows it. Talk to anyone, and you’ll find an anecdotal story of trying to find an in-network doctor or understand a medical bill. These calls take up time and often end up in a complicated tangle of transfers to other departments or even calling an entirely different company.
As a solution to the current siloed situation and to improve interoperability, 2023 digital solutions should be centered around the omnichannel experience. We are seeing organizations taking end-to-end control of their tech stack and creating design systems.
For example, the pharma industry is ambitiously looking to connect to electronic medical records and advocacy partner content, personalizing educational information and potential treatment options for patients based on their provided data. And health insurance companies and hospitals are consolidating technology platforms, data solutions and siloed websites into one streamlined offering. This is enabling members to feel a sense of control over their medical management within one centralized location.
Offer zero-cost solutions.
Cost-free options are vital to digital health product mass adoption.
Many experts point to health inequities, with challenges like food deserts and lack of health literacy, as a root cause of the increasing prevalence of some chronic conditions. To combat this, health insurance might be the hero we’re looking for, and if we follow the money, they are actually in the business of helping people avoid getting sick (fewer hospitalizations and claims means more savings for their businesses).
Many insurance companies are now offering digital health products to large employer networks with an intent to reduce the scale of people at-risk for chronic conditions. Based on the success of these pilots, I predict it will become standard for select telehealth and remote monitoring solutions to be complimentary with the intent to help keep you healthy. TikTok is free, and if digital health products want to compete for medical guidance, their solutions must have a path to zero cost for their customers as well.
I believe digital health products will become the standard for care. But for mass adoption, it’s important that these companies consider mental health, improve interoperability and address systemic issues.
Credible and easily available solutions will not only help people with preventative care but provide a holistic experience that can help combat the rise of misinformation. TikTok will not go away, but if people can have access to the right information via digital apps and wearables, 2023 can become the breakout year for digital health products.
Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
Go to Source
Author: Steve Peretz, Forbes Councils Member