Philip K. Dick once asked, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Here at PM360, we like to think so. But, we were more curious to learn what digital dreams marketers are having, so we asked them. Here are the best digital dream projects that marketers told us they would love to do if given the chance.
I would start by changing how marketers tell stories. We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” If that’s true, what will a cinematic, holographic mixed reality experience be worth?
Devices such as Microsoft’s HoloLens have done a great job of giving us an early preview into the potential of spatial computing. Will the light field display and spatial audio of Magic Leap’s eagerly anticipated device live up to its promise of seamlessly blurring the lines between digital and physical, where holograms can be overlaid on the real world and our eyes and ears not know the difference? Could these types of devices map our surroundings, and through a hyper-personalized contextual awareness, offer brands a way to tell more compelling stories?
Instead of visiting a website and reading about a topic of interest, could I have a natural conversation with a holographic brand representative that’s sitting on the couch in my living room, with its responses driven by chatbot-style AI? If there were no restrictions, I’d spend more time mapping out the human mind, pushing the boundaries of brain-to-computer interfaces, and tapping into the senses and imagination that construct our perceptions of reality. Let’s help change the way we deliver narratives.
See one. Do one. Teach one. This method has been employed for years in teaching HCPs how to practice medicine. But for a rare disease, if you’ve never seen one, how could you do one, let alone teach one? With more than 7,000 known rare diseases, this is a challenge HCPs face more often than they realize.
Simple apps such as Sky Guide (Fifth Star Labs LLC) turn our phones or iPads into handheld planetariums through AR. This technology allows us to view constellations and unlock the wonders of nature that are right in front of us but that we don’t see because we don’t know what to look for. Why couldn’t this same technology be used to help HCPs identify the rare disease that is right in front of them?
As a start, enhanced simulators applying AR can help HCPs learn how to more effectively spot anomalies in routine scans such as ultrasound or nuclear imaging. AR could also potentially give us the ability to overlay real patient scans and labs to enhance diagnostic capabilities. AR-enhanced simulators will give HCPs the opportunity to “see one and do one,” and, through AR-enhanced diagnostics, the tools to effectively diagnose a greater number of patients.
The best and most effective app is one the user doesn’t have to open at all. Most people who use health apps already have their preferred apps, whether they are tracking the food they eat, their workouts (steps), the medicines they take, or any other health-related information captured by a Bluetooth-device.
My dream digital project: A multiplatform app that allows users to collect all of the data in one place from the apps that they are already using without having to directly interact with the app after the initial setup. The organization of the data would be specific to the health issues that the patient is experiencing and easily sharable with a HCP through a patient portal.
This feature is an added benefit that the patient gets from using your product because you are supplying a useful tool that does not ask them to do anything additional. The HCP also benefits because the captured information provides a more comprehensive view of patients’ health factors without having to ask a lot of questions they probably don’t remember the answers to. The HCP will be able to look at what a patient has been doing between visits and determine more quickly whether the issues are related to lifestyle or to medication use.
MIT recently announced they developed a technology called AlterEgo that can capture and transcribe internal verbalizations to a computer system. Practically speaking, AlterEgo is a wearable system that recognizes and reacts to the words you “say” in your head, and then communicates those words to your computer.
This type of technology has the potential to transform the lives of patients living with conditions that have rendered them unable to communicate verbally, such as ALS and Parkinson’s disease, or those who have medical procedures such as tracheotomies that make speech difficult. The AlterEgo technology offers patients the chance to gain back more independence and better communicate with their physicians, caregivers, and treatment teams.
Our dream project: Using this technology, partner with a pharma company or hospital that treats patients with limited ability to speak to develop a support program that allows them to access and engage with digital content and educational materials at every stage of their disease and treatment journey. Collaborating with clients, patients, caregivers, physicians, and treatment teams, we would produce customized resources, programs to access financial and prior authorization support, medication and symptom trackers, and even better equip patients to participate in community and social media advocacy initiatives.
Emerging technologies such as supply chain transactional blockchain gets me jazzed while awake, so naturally I see it in my dreams, too. Only in this dream I see a new use for it: A solution using the principles of blockchain to re-establish trust in pharma and healthcare. The concept revolves around an economy of credibility that patients, care providers, health systems, and policy makers exchange to assign and glean confidence in everything from research data to campaign messaging.
The dream continues, and now blockchain is used to restore control of our personal data. I see a dashboard where we access our health and digitally curated social, behavioral, and online activity data. Flip a virtual switch and data is shared with a health system or third parties wishing to borrow or purchase it. Intentions for usage are clear and transactions are fully traceable. Our user knows who’s using their data, why, and how. Access to data is finite and the user can revoke access at any time.
Sharing also means a monetized incentive in the form of cryptocurrency mined by GPU cycles harnessed through the collective horsepower of this distributed platform, which is completely standardized and fully adopted, so everyone is on it. Hey, we’re dreaming here!
Until recently, customer service call centers have been the standard means to address patient inquiries. But for today’s patient, who has come to expect instant answers, pre-programmed chatbots provide a response instantaneously, any time of day or night, resulting in a positive brand experience.
Patient: “Is it covered by insurance?”
Chatbot: “Our product is reimbursed by nearly all insurance carriers.”
Patient: “What if my insurance doesn’t cover it?”
Chatbot: “Our patients savings program can help you save!”
Many brands have jumped on the chatbot bandwagon, but pharma has been slow to adopt. We often hear of a fear of losing control of the conversation or the risk of providing patients with an emotionless, inauthentic experience. In reality, chatbots can be programmed to answer multiple questions to facilitate a dialogue with the patient, responding on a 45-second delay to give the feel of a human response. And, when necessary, directing a patient to a live customer service agent for further assistance.
Since humans program chatbots, authentic responses can be scripted to provide meaningful and sensitive interactions. With chatbot programs starting as low as $10 per month, it makes sense for the healthcare industry to test both from a brand-building and cost-savings standpoint.
I’ll never forget visiting the Franklin Institute in fourth grade and using an aging machine, which took a snapshot of my face and, instantly, I was able to see myself aged by the number of years I decided. Seeing myself at 60 years old has been engrained in my head ever since. It wasn’t real, but it felt real, and that inspired an unforgettable moment.
Pharma could also be using virtual reality to encourage sufferers to envision their lives down the line with x disease. For example, though they may currently not adhere to their psoriasis treatment, here is what it will someday feel like to look down at your skin if the condition is left untreated. It’s one thing to be told what may happen, or to see others suffer from a progressive condition, but to formally envision one’s self in an exact, probable scenario—it’s hard to leave that unacknowledged. Similarly, HCPs getting to experience life as a patient is now possible in full surround.
Marketers have always been hoping to use VR in their creative, and with devices falling in price and adoption rising, we’re finally in a place where we can justify the tactic.
Pharma CTOs are eager to leverage marketing technology platforms, such as Adobe Experience Manager or Marketo, to provide personalized, Amazon-like experiences. However, with pharma companies’ restrictions, the best these platforms can deliver are slightly more refined audience segmentations or speedier execution on A/B testing. This leads to marketing limited by broad personas, rather than communications that harness the immense behavioral and demographic data available through MarTech engines and third-party data sets.
As the rest of the world moves towards AI and machine learning-driven experiences, which engage consumers without speedbumps and clumsiness, so should the digital world for the healthcare professional. HCPs are consumers who interact with services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify just like everyone else. Not only will they welcome digital health’s evolution toward personalization, soon they will demand it.
Moreover, HCPs interact with multiple pharma companies and brands each day. The experience is fractured and inconsistent. New technologies like AI could offer them effortless, treatment-specific content, without having to dig or log in to multiple brand-specific dashboards. In this ideal world, more time could be spent with patients, engaging, treating, and curing. Less time could be spent on time-wasting searching, irrelevant results, and rabbit holes.
A dream life sciences project: A partnership with a point-of-care provider system or payer that adds content as a key part of therapy. We would put content that inspires behavior through the same clinical rigor the industry uses for “discovering molecules.” Brands that are willing to shift their focus from blatant product promotion to engaging audiences with inventive content are ideal candidates for shifting beyond disease understanding to compelling patient compliance, monitoring, and treatment.
Proven behavioral models and insights derived from our customers’ digital exhaust create watershed moments for brand storytelling. In the future, we will stop wasting big, generous ideas on a restrictive 60-second spot. Forward-thinking healthcare partners will create a film, series, art installation, event experience, or a movement that excites consumers to manage their healthy lifestyles—then make ads about those.
The life sciences industry offers many amazing opportunities to start thinking about content differently. Burnt-out doctors are facing a global shortage in their ranks and need help. Data is changing the way we discover and study treatments, while AI is getting better at diagnosing disease. Genetics is hitting scale, changing the game around prevention and lifestyle. All of these categories represent areas where life sciences companies can dream big.
MedTech companies are under increased pressure to demonstrate the value of their products to their customers. But it’s no longer enough to present a list of features and benefits and hope healthcare professionals will buy in.
Augmented Reality (AR) offers a unique opportunity to do more than just communicate product benefits—if used correctly, it has the power to let customers experience that value first hand. AR can allow clinicians to not only see a product but to experience and visualize the end value of the product.
Typically, a new wound care technology used after knee replacement surgery would show images of the product on patients’ knees. Now imagine using the power of AR. The surgeon holds their smartphone over their knee and the product appears. They see it from multiple angles, details of the technology, experience the wound draining, and the incision healing.
And imagine the applications for the patient. Using only their smartphone, the surgeon shows patients how the device will look on them after surgery. They explain why it’s there and how it works. They show the proper instructions for use in a way that is so much more real. It’s a game-changer for the clinician-patient relationship.
When I think about current technology, I find myself considering where the trends are heading, what tech is generating the most interest, and what will have the biggest impact on creating memorable brand experiences.
With all of this in mind, the prospect of working with Mixed Reality, and specifically with Microsoft HoloLens, is becoming more of a reality with each passing day.
By harnessing the power of voice and gesture controls—and with the capability to map out any room environment to create a virtual playground—we can now create alternate realities that did not exist before. Combine that with the ability to overlay custom digital assets, and you are essentially merging the best of AR and VR into one powerful experience.
We have already seen the advantages of the Mixed Reality headset being embraced by the medical education community, where it allows physicians to use interactive 3D systems to get a more accurate view of the inside of a patient. Such advanced technology has the power to guide the user through challenges that were not possible before. Technology that was once highly experimental can now be applied to a number of industries, creating efficiencies and, more importantly, improving lives.