Anyone in the medical device marketing industry knows that medical device apps are changing the marketing landscape. Five hundred million smartphone users worldwide, according to industry estimates, will be using a healthcare application by 2015. By 2018, 50% of the more than 3.4 billion smartphone and tablet users will have downloaded mobile health applications. These include healthcare professionals, patients and consumers.
Knowing that all roads may ultimately lead to the smartphone, agencies have the opportunity to take a strategic approach toward mobile as the end game. Many established medical device companies have been slower to enter the digital realm, but are now looking to quickly get on board. For marketing agencies with strong digital chops, it’s an opportunity to bring needed expertise to the partnership.
Establishing a Mobility Center of Excellence
An agency’s design and development team’s knowledge of, and interface with, large company IT departments is at the core of this expertise, especially when patient information is being captured and stored in the app. Agencies work with corporate clients to establish a “Mobility Center of Excellence (mCoE),” which goes far beyond the design and development of apps.
By establishing an mCoE, it is possible to centralize governance standards and activities around a set of agreed upon principles for the most effective and efficient use of mobile technology. This effort makes mobile possible through a commitment to user experience in design, framework development, analytics support and agile processes.
Staying On Top of Regulations
A true mCoE stays abreast of global regulations around medical device apps, global laws about patient data and privacy issues, and needed certifications to ensure HIPAA compliance. In the medical device industry, it’s often important to build custom apps designed to meet the specific needs of individual clients, incorporating and managing an ecosystem of mobile providers and channels.
The mCoE approach is rooted in traditional, strategic brand thinking. It’s critical to look for meaningful and measurable ways to optimize mobile deliverables, including integration with smart packaging or with smart chip-connectors into a medical device.
IT and Marketing Come Together
As medical device companies look toward mobile strategies, we find that for the first time, IT departments of large companies are working closely with the marketing side as these companies scramble to become more nimble to accommodate the most cutting-edge, secure and meaningful app development.
Highlight the Benefits
Of course there are challenges that come with establishing a mobile center of excellence. Change is hard, and agencies will need to learn how to work with both early adopters—and those who are slower to adopt new technologies—to show the benefits of a mobile initiative. Ultimately, creating an mCoE initiative does require upfront costs to set up a unified structure and process for deployment. But once the initiative is established, there are economies of scale that will decrease the overall long-term costs and help standardize the user experience and brand awareness.