It’s that time of year when we look back on how accurate last year’s predictions were for digital health and prepare to address the coming year’s trends.
2018 saw the rise of the digitization of marketing channels for pharma and life sciences companies. Frost and Sullivan saw 98% of their predictions around digital health for 2018 come true, including the rise of product-as-a-service models accounting for about 2-3% of total revenue for leading drug and device companies.
For the year ahead, pharma and healthcare marketers will have to double-down on addressing the impact of the growth in digital, including its effect on patient engagement, transparency, and emerging technologies. Here are three key trends to watch according to a range of 2019 prediction reports in our industry.
Prediction 1: Patients become an even bigger player in digital health as it becomes an even bigger player in healthcare
Frost and Sullivan forecasts digital health will grow by 30% and cross the $25 billion mark in 2019. As digital health rises, it will focus more on individual care, due to the increasing cost burden from chronic health conditions and an aging population.
As the healthcare industry continues to innovate and implement new digital technologies, it is vital to engage with both clinicians and patients to understand what practices work best based on real-world feedback from physicians and patients, according to Becker’s Hospital Review. In 2019, the most important data insights won’t be how a certain drug works, but who it works for best.
Prediction 2: Increased focus on transparency in audience targeting and measurement
2019 will be the year when pressures to prove value will become so great that partners, platforms, and publishers must finally break it down for ad buyers, according to eMarketer’s Ten Key Digital Trends for 2019. And when it comes to measurement, many industry insiders emphasize the need to focus on metrics beyond typical KPIs, like click-through and conversion rates, and instead focus on how these campaigns generate more sales.
Similarly, the focus on data privacy will continue to be a main challenge for the industry, making it more difficult for advertisers to target their audiences. Shifting towards approaches that rely on clear opt-in permissions and targeting strategies that are based on activity, not individuals, will help maintain data privacy while delivering relevant messages to those that value it.
Prediction 3: Healthcare and life sciences will be a dominant vertical in voice apps
HIPAA-compliant voice and chatbot apps for pharma and healthcare will gain notoriety as tech companies aggressively compete on voice resolutions. Currently, voice technology allows for limited voice-enabled app usage, but cannot yet convey lengthy pieces of info.
In 2019, the rise of use and innovation in voice apps will be vast. This will enable care to be easier, and more convenient for patients. Healthcare is increasingly happening in more places, not just doctor’s offices. Future growth in the use of voice apps will be seen in cases such as, elderly care, chronic condition management, and physician assistance.
Stepping into 2019, it's clear that the digital phenomenon will continue to make massive waves in the healthcare industry—waves that pharma companies can ride. By focusing on what healthcare consumers and patients want within the context of their digital and real-world lives, pharma brands can deliver relevant, high-value experiences that will support their awareness, education, and adherence goals.
As you look towards 2019, how are you planning to proactively address these trends?