Digital Transformation| September 25, 2020
9 health technologies every executive should be excited about in 2021
There’s never been a more exciting time to be in the digital healthcare space than right now.
With the explosion of content capabilities, endless social opportunities and underpriced attention in so many platforms – there’s a huge amount to be excited about.
Health technologies encompass all the devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems designed to streamline healthcare operations, lower costs and enhance the quality of care. Artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, voice search, chatbots and virtual reality (VR) are among the most promising health technologies in 2021.
For the longest time, healthcare executives have been dissatisfied with the lack of technology stacks and solutions for true marketing personalization. Indeed, technology was still the number 1 concern for healthcare marketing professionals in 2018 according to the American Medical Association.
That said, we question whether the lack of technology is something that is preventing the healthcare executives from adopting digital transformation within their organizations.
In fact, we think this should not be the case at all.
We would even go so far as to argue that technology and healthcare represent a marriage made in heaven. As a result, we’ve put together a list of 9 health technologies that every healthcare executive should be excited about in 2021.
1. Artificial intelligence
There’s nothing quite as exciting as artificial intelligence right now and with a rapid growth and exciting opportunities surrounding – it’s the best time to utilize its potential for healthcare marketing.
The use of artificial intelligence within the healthcare industry is expected to grow rapidly at an annual rate of 40% through 2021 – to $6.6 Billion, from approximately $600 Million in 2014.
AI engines can reduce and mitigate risk of preventable medical scenarios in three critical ways:
- Automate reminders – Great for helping patients take medication within a specific timeframe.
- Identify people at high risk – Discovering those in need of medical intervention and trigger medical staff alerts to create custom care plans. IBM Watson currently testing this with opioid addiction issues.
- Deliver personalized dosage recommendations – Based on each patient’s unique body chemistry and associated environmental factors.
That’s three different ways to be able to carve a niche and market AI.
So how do these existing scenarios apply to marketing? For example, a focus on high risk identification or personalized dosages could be a key factor in a marketing campaign. People love to talk about AI. Showcasing your company’s AI solutions will give you free press and position your company as a true innovator and market leader.
The bottomline is simple: keep AI on the radar and utilize the concept as one of the main health technologies for marketing in 2021. There’s no signs of slowing down.
Interested in learning more about artificial intelligence applications in healthcare? Read our Trend Watch: Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare
Blockchain in healthcare isn’t just useful for the hype it’s ramped up with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Instead, what’s exciting about blockchain is the digital record-keeping that creates the ledger of transactions that isn’t only transparent, but impossible to tamper with.
Blockchain is here to stay with a variety of experts, some of whom are skeptical of bitcoin, claiming that the technology could fundamentally change the way that huge sectors operate – including digital healthcare marketing.
We’re expecting blockchain to affect the digital marketing sphere with three main key points:
Changing data collections
When you use blockchain to collect data, the information you input and all of your personal data remains with you instead of being stored on servers owned by an application (think the recent Facebook controversy).
Living in a world where all of the data that we’ve previously been able to access vanishes is a scary prospect for marketers. It’s going to be exciting to see how it plays out and what techniques could be created to overcome.
Fixing digital display advertising
There are some serious flaws when it comes to online display ads and they can be pretty expensive to the advertiser. In addition, with Facebook and Google having ownership of the control of the majority of the available ad inventory, you’ll also be seeing a lack of availability and increased prices.
The Brave blockchain browser is an attempt to address this situation with the Basic Attention Token (BAT) which changes the way in which users interact with ads.
Advertisers buy ads using BAT and then users opt in to viewing ads and are compensated with BAT. On the other hand, publishers are compensated by both consumers and advertisers. It’s a new way to try and level the playing field and restore the value of attention back to its owner. Very similar model to ebates.com on the retail side.
Ownership and security of digital assets
Finally, according to Elinext, “blockchain could reform the way we stream and own digital assets with the rework of the flawed Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music platforms”.
Instead of artists being underpaid for their content, a market shift is occurring where people could offer their work to a massive audience without paying an intermediary like YouTube or iTunes for exposure and security.
Blockchain-based entertainment could allow for direct marketing to their audiences without the need of a media platform. That’s a big shift towards P2P communities which fans may fall in love with, with the potential to earn special privileges and more engagement with artists they love.
The bottom line for blockchain is simple. It has the power to restructure the entire digital marketing system with the changing of data collections, fixing of digital display advertising and the ownership and security of digital assets.
Also read: 7 Applications of Blockchain in Healthcare
3. Voice search
Voice search has become incredibly popular around the world and with 1 in 6 Americans now owning a smart speaker and 40% of adults using voice search once a day – it’s very much a time to focus on deploying voice-enabled solutions for your marketing campaigns.
Voice is a huge healthcare marketing technique that’s been on the rise since smartphone and smart speaker were first released (with Amazon’s Echo first hitting the market back in 2014.) And, more importantly, it can be an effective tool in the industry.
So how does voice search apply to marketing?
Healthcare access is predominantly local.
In other words, most Americans look for healthcare options within the proximity of their place of employment or their residence. Because of this reality, healthcare marketers must optimize their digital platforms for local searches.
Since 20% of Google searches are voice searches in 2018, voice has become one of the main health technologies healthcare marketers must invest in come 2021.
If 1 in 5 are using voice to find out about healthcare options, it’s imperative that you’re not missing out on the potential customers.
Bottom line: optimize your marketing campaigns & landing pages for voice. With the rise in popularity of smart speakers and native voice search as a whole (Siri, Google Now, Cortana etc), voice presents some of the most amazing opportunities for marketing healthcare executives in 2021 and beyond.
4. Chatbots in healthcare
Chatbots in healthcare offers a wide variety of benefits that we’re very excited about. With the potential for improvement in the organization of patient pathways, medication management, help in emergency situations or with first aid, there’s plenty that can be done for healthcare marketing in 2021.
Offering a personal experience when it comes to healthcare is vital and a chatbot adds another touchpoint that people really love. With the number of chatbots multiplying at an incredible pace, it’s becoming more and more expected, rather than the gimmick it used to be.
Options are endless for chatbots, from customer service to potential diagnosis of mild conditions – there’s plenty to be excited about within the technology.
5. Virtual reality in healthcare
Virtual reality is expected to become a 4 billion dollar business by 2021 and there’s no reason why healthcare can’t jump in on the action. Whether it’s leveraging VR to provide an immersive experience for patients to virtually tour a health facility or using VR to help patients cope with pain, there’s plenty to be interested in.
Few technologies generate as much engagement as virtual reality and being smart with this technology can be incredibly beneficial to any healthcare organization. Think outside the box and go for original content and usage – if it’s something that people haven’t seen before, you’ll likely make a much bigger splash.
Healthcare is an industry in which “customers” are often anxious (think white coat syndrome) so having a virtual tour or example procedure could be hugely beneficial to calm the nerves of future patients and improve the patient experience. The possibilities with this technology are endless.
VR is a great tool with unrivaled engagement. With such a promising technology, be bold and come out with original content that may calm, excite or educate your customers for maximum impact.
6. Advanced social media
Social media is king in healthcare marketing, that’s no secret, but companies should be straying away from posting blind and hoping for the best – especially when there’s a huge amount of data available to you.
Using real metrics, analytics and user engagement data can all be used to drive adjustments to the social strategy to each network that your company uses.
Tools such as Sprout Social are great for social media management with a data-first approach that is key to form and deepen real connections with the people that will build your brand.
Although the pricing of social media management may be a little out of the league for many smaller companies, the concept remains the same. Look for patterns and capitalize where possible.
7. Personalized mobile apps
Mobile apps are great for engagement with a huge number of possibilities surrounding the creation of an app. The user is in control, but you’re in charge of the options and that’s got huge power.
There are so many patient scenarios that can be served by a powerful native mobile application in 2021.
From requesting physician appointments, checking in, uploading a patient’s medical history to getting test results via a mobile app – health organizations can create useful digital tools that are perfect for the modern-day patient.
Mobile apps also relieve some of the pressure on the medical staff, waiting times and receptionist duties, resulting in a significant reduction in operational costs. Other exciting features health organizations are experimenting within 2018 include notifications, alerts around key seasonal allergies (e.g. the flu season) and personalized marketing offers.
Mobile apps are a great way to communicate and stay in touch with your patients, long after they left your health facilities. There’s so much potential in health mobile apps, yet so many marketers are missing the opportunity of giving credence to the criticisms that the healthcare industry is still not innovating.
8. Partnerships with other popular mobile apps
Mobile apps can prove to be expensive and if a specific health organization is not interested in investing in mobile, there is another shortcut healthcare marketers should look at in 2021. Healthcare marketers should consider the idea of partnering with popular app owners within a specific geography.
Don’t just limit this to other areas in healthcare marketing, but rather consider joining forces with a variety of other businesses that can generate attention through their apps. Whether it’s a local restaurant, delivery service or taxi/car share app – there’s uncapitalized attention everywhere we look.
Getting in front of local customers will generate attention and raise awareness and depending on the incentives that you can provide, there’s the potential for commission-based rewards/payment for the businesses that you partner with at the local level.
9. Video marketing
It is estimated that in 2021, 8% of all mobile traffic will be video and avoiding the medium is a surefire way to miss out on a great marketing technique.
Video is fantastic for humanizing the health brand you’re promoting. We get a lot more from video than we otherwise would get from an image and that human experience is great for establishing trust and relatability.
TikTok, for example, is a short video peer to peer platform in which users shoot 10-20 second videos, sharing them with the world. With over 500 million users globally and the number 1 downloaded app on the App Store in the US – there’s huge potential with the app and video in general.
Using video social media platforms like TikTok could be a huge differentiator for healthcare marketing and creating a fun atmosphere for the industry may be a huge step in the right direction. Don’t forget – as healthcare marketers, you should always consider experimenting with new techniques and ideas.
Bottom line: Use video marketing to capitalize on user’s engagement and attention and don’t shy away from apps and platforms such as YouTube, Facebook video, Instagram and the newly founded TikTok for huge potential promotion.
There’s so much to be excited about when it comes to technology and healthcare marketing in 2021. In this article, we discussed the following health technologies that marketers can leverage today to improve the overall return on investment for their marketing spend:
- Artificial Intelligence: Keep AI on the radar and utilize the concept as one of the main health technologies for marketing in 2021.
- Blockchain: This technology has the power to restructure the entire digital marketing system by changing data collections, fixing digital display advertising and making our digital transactions more secure. It’s not something to sleep on.
- Voice search: Consider leveraging voice technologies in 2021. There’s a huge opportunity for healthcare marketers to stand out, especially when it comes to ranking for local search terms.
- Chatbots: Options are endless for chatbots use cases in the healthcare space, from customer service to potential diagnosis of mild conditions – there’s plenty to be excited about within the technology.
- Virtual reality: VR is a great tool with unrivaled engagement. With such a new technology, be bold and come out with original content that may calm, excite or educate your customers for maximum impact.
- Advanced social media: Although the pricing of social media management may be a little out of the league of many smaller companies, healthcare providers can leverage social media analytics solutions that will turn data into actionable insights.
- Personalized mobile apps: Mobile apps are a great way to leverage user-centric relevant notifications to provide relevant and personalized user experiences to patients all over the world.
- Partnerships with other popular mobile apps: You don’t always need to build a new mobile app to reach a new audience. Sometimes it’s best to form strategic partnerships with other popular mobile apps.
- Video marketing: Use video to capitalize on user’s engagement and attention and don’t shy away from apps and platforms such as YouTube, Facebook video, Instagram and the newly founded TikTok for huge potential promotion.