Originally published on ANA
At the most basic level, many of the actions in health care fail because they view the user of the product or service as a patient rather than as a person.
People dependent on the health care delivery system actually are an odd type of consumer. They can choose where to spend money to fill a prescription at a local pharmacy but a third party, the doctor, decides which prescriptions are purchased. The patient can run up big hospital bills for X-rays, CT Scans, blood tests and other charges without being the one who orders what's needed.
This divergence is only one aspect of a huge industry that is incredibly complex. U.S. health care costs soared to 3.65 trillion in 2018. The level of spending here in the U.S. is reported to be the highest in the developed world.
We hear a steady stream of warnings about skyrocketing future costs. At current growth rates, by 2027, health care is expected to be more than 20 percent of the country's GDP. A growing elderly population and the rising cost of quality treatment drives the scary outlook.
Fortunately, there are two current trends that brighten the outlook for what's ahead.
One is artificial intelligence (AI) coming to the rescue of patients, doctors, hospitals, drug companies, and a swarm of administrators. AI can perform a wide range of health care tasks at less cost and in less time than was previously done by humans. Clinical use of AI makes it possible to do what was never conceivable before in terms of data crunching and understanding and personalization of medicine to matched each person's immune system.
Another increasingly important trend is the drive by health care providers to look at patients through a different lens and to start supporting people in living their best possible life. The digital platform provides a scalable and unique opportunity to provide a person with meaningful and relevant support and treatment. People are living online and every aspect of our lives is somehow touched by digital. We believe that what will separate winners from losers in modern health care is how well companies understand to leverage digital, in a meaningful way, to connect and entangle with patients in digitized existence.
Think of AI as the worker that lifts the burden of repetitive health care tasks. Think of entanglement as the brand's mandate for gaining an enduring presence in the patient's new way of life. Both of these trends benefit from easy access to a deluge of real-time info. Data-driven insights to build mutually rewarding relationships takes precedence over simply triggering an immediate sale.
Let's take a look at examples of each of these strengths and where they may take us in the future.
In an article that originally appeared on HBR.com, the Harvard Business Review highlights a wide range of AI solutions to administrative problems.
Johns Hopkins hospital has an AI-powered demand-for-beds algorithm. This automated system foresees bottlenecks in assigning patients to beds and suggests corrective actions to avoid it ever happening.
Since the hospital launched the program, the need to keep surgery patients in recovery rooms dropped by 80 percent. The wait time in providing beds for emergency room patients is down by 20 percent. The outcome is better care at a lower cost.
There is an AI tool created by Nuance Communications for complying with federal guidelines. By analyzing big pools of relevant data, time spent on documentation is reduced as much as 45 percent. Best of all, compliance improves dramatically. Use of AI machine learning in health care is not only a time and money saver: clinical applications of the technology literally are lifesavers. AI drives robot-assisted surgeries, new types of diagnostic tools, discovery of awesome new medicines and many other developments.
Heartlander, developed at Carnegie Mellon University, has a miniature mobile robot designed for minimally invasive heart surgery. "Under a physician's control, the tiny robot enters the chest through a small incision, navigates to certain locations in the heart by itself, adheres to the heart and administers therapy," BuiltIn.com reports.
AI is the catalyst that increasingly transforms both the administrative and clinical sides of health care.
Whereas the first AI program was presented at an historic conference in 1956, the Entangling and Share-of Life approach was first introduced in 2016.
"The Share-of-Life platform goes far beyond the Share-of-Wallet or even Share-of-Mind metrics," reports James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research. "The most powerful brands of the future will measure what percent of the minutes of your day they can meaningfully support."
You can get a sense of what it means to entangle the brand in the life of a consumer by observing what a few trailblazing insurance entities are doing, especially John Hancock and how they adopted a Share-of-Life model.
Traditionally, marketers of insurance policies fiercely court customers. But once the sale is made, they soon disappear from sight. All of this changed with the John Hancock Vitality life insurance program. Vitality members were given the tools needed to live longer, healthier lives. For example, to monitor and record progress, participants can obtain an Apple Watch (Series 4) for as little as $25. Members who achieve platinum status for three consecutive years are awarded an Amazon prime membership to enhance quality of life.
Vitality points are acquired with everyday actions like exercising, eating well and getting regular check-ups. By doing the right things Vitality policyholders get premium savings of up to 15 percent.
Results are compelling. John Hancock claims that policyholders are projected to live 13 or more years longer than the rest of the insured population. Program members take nearly twice as many steps as the average American and have logged more than 3 million healthy life actions such as taking extra steps, swimming, biking and shopping for good foods.
John Hancock reports there are 576 interactions per year with Vitality policyholders. Traditional life insurance companies interact with their customers one or two times per year. What a colossal difference!
Just think what so many meaningful contacts do to strengthen John Hancock's entanglement with policyholders. There has never before been anything like this close-knit connection in the category.
CEO Marianne Harrison reports that they are doubling down on the hugely successful program first introduced in 2015. She says: "We are proud to become the only U.S. life insurance company to fully embrace behavior-based wellness and leave behind the old ways of doing business."
This approach enabled the insurance seller and the insurance buyer have entangled in a mutually rewarding life-extension program. By operating in an entirely different way, the insurer has totally disrupted this sluggish insurance category.
When we look at the pharmaceutical industry, while we see a spectacular ability to come up with vitally needed new medications, there is little done to entangle with the patient to make their life with the disease less stressful.
One of the exceptions to this norm is LEO Pharma. An industry pioneer in boosting Share-of-Life™ with patients. Especially with their approach to the treatment of psoriasis.
LEO's entire global operation is focused on the challenges that patients face in their day-to-day lives. In the UK the brand sponsors a national effort to fight back against psoriasis. Whether you are someone living with the skin condition, a GP, a health care professional or know someone with the ailment, you can pledge to improve care. The campaign asks, "So what will you do?"
Each person who signs up agrees to do one thing differently to help make a difference for people living with psoriasis. The result has been a tremendous outpouring of support for those who struggle with the embarrassment caused by the disease.
In the US, the LEO Pharma website proclaims "It's not about skin conditions. It's about the people living with them. And the impact on their daily lives." LEO research found that adherence to treatment is not about how well you motivate taking the medication. The key issue is the level of personal support received by the individual.
Understanding the fundamental difference between 'Share of Disease' and this new form for health care company — patient relationship is key to win. We call this new relationship 'Share of Life'. Gaining Share of Life boosts the company's long-term share in treating the disease as health care companies will start to understand more aspects of the patient's life.
The overall impact on the 'Quality of Life' of the patient is the new Holy Grail for marketing excellence. The brand must be entwined in helping patients experience a better life. What will make it possible is the behind the scenes role of AI to process enormous amounts of consumer information.
The complexity of making "beyond the product" solutions based on a Share-of-Life model is likely to hold back "old" pharma companies from being integral to the consumer's life. This will be the case for as long as the use of AI in building the relationship is not given a go-ahead. If used properly, it provides an opportunity for a new generation of data driven companies that understands what most pharma brands fail to understand — that a dominant Share-of-Life leads to a dominant share-of-market.
The days when multimillion-dollar advertising budgets were allocated based on the results of small focus groups are long gone. We now live in an age of truly individualized interaction in cyberspace. AI systems compile and evaluate boundless amounts of customer-defining data at lightning speed. This enables the Share of Life™ approach to carry personalization to new heights.
Selling to a market of one is here to stay.
The Harvard Business Review tells us that administrative and operational inefficiencies account for nearly one third of U.S. health care's $3 trillion in annual costs. Six out of every 10 people who work in health care never interact with patients. Those who do interact with patients still spend up to 70 percent of their time in front of computers.
The good news is that AI powered tools have begun to cut into operational costs in a big way. Budget dollars are freed up to initiate the kind of intelligent supportive programs found at LEO Pharma and John Hancock.
The trend to harness AI digitization and the trend to adopt the Share-of-Life™ model are about to reinforce one another with favorable impact on the future delivery of health care. These entangled relationships will ensure that the brand and the consumer have equal say in how the relationship progresses.
Pharma's opportunity to "keep the healthy healthy" has been strengthened by the brand's ability to gain Share-of-Life with the individual and build an enduring relationship.
In the end what matters most is the advancement of our capability — adopting a Share-of-Life™ mindset and staring levering AI — to treat the user of health care as a person rather than a patient or a consumer.
Smart marketers recognize that there will be a distinct “before” and “after” in consumer behavior as a result of the pandemic. You must start now to create the digital tools needed to embed your brand in the customer’s post-COVID life.
Take the time now to identify and understand the new expectations of your customers, and how have their habits and priorities shifted during this time