Written by Richard Marcil on March 13, 2013
in Healthcare Marketing

I just read an interesting article, “Digital Diabetes – Looking to the Future,” in The British Journal of Diabetes & Vascular Disease.  The article points out that the medical establishment is starting to recognize that healthcare is lagging broader consumer behaviour when it comes to digital adoption and use.

The piece also covers some of the more obvious digital opportunities for healthcare – namely in health informatics like patient records, disease registries, research networks, etc.  But frankly, these should all be table stakes for healthcare.  What the healthcare system really needs – and what patients want – are game-changing applications of technology.


  1. Access to personal health records.  Heck, I still can’t easily gather information around my kids’ immunizations.   How does someone with a chronic disease track his or her health?  Think mobile apps and Telus Pharma Space, not paper solutions.
  2. A way to successfully launch patients into their treatment journeys.  Technology could allow us to deliver rich, insightful and customized medical information, in real time (such as immediately following a visit to a healthcare provider).  Think Liberate app or Next Paradigm solutions, not “compliance” direct mail.
  3. A digital solution that will truly engage patients over the course of their treatment journeys.  To do so, first we need to meaningfully understand the patient journey, and emotional and functional barriers.  Then, we need to develop resources to help patients help themselves, not simply deliver “frequency.”  We also need to provide truly helpful day-to-day advice and support. Think context and value over academia.

The fact is, the digital patient is here.  We call her the PatientConsumer™.  Just think of how digital you are when it comes to almost every other aspect of your life.  There’s no doubt that health marketers want to more meaningfully engage patients.

Perhaps it’s time to up our game.  But other stakeholders also need to jump in.  Digital infrastructure needs to move to the 21st century.  Regulations need to enable true engagement.  Health professionals need to embrace new approaches.  And consumers and patients should no longer be satisfied with the status quo.

 Image: QR Code Press

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