It’s 2018. Pharma is an industry full of true innovation—rising above regulatory scrutiny and finding new ways to challenge convention—doing its best to empower and motivate the communities it serves. With the explosion of a trend called self-tracking, important lifestyle changes demand much less effort than previously. Electronic medical records can be linked across physicians and pharmacies back to patients’ self-tracking, giving HCPs real-time data that improves their ability to manage patients and, in turn, outcomes. Capturing and linking these data on an individual level has enabled the medical community to make strides in developing diagnostics, complex treatments supported by patient-driven management tools, and overall, more effective interactions.
Back to 2012. We are just at the start of this already-thriving, self-driven health trend. A recent market-research survey discovered how many consumers are using smartphones to accomplish their exercise goals: 43% of respondents use smartphones to track their pace; 74% state that technology improves weight-loss efforts; 72% say technology encourages them to workout more frequently; 75% share progress with friends through Facebook, texting, or email. The number of self-tracking tools reaching the market will increase the scope for large-scale data collection, enabling users to analyze their own data and aggregate them with those of others. Examples include:
- A wristwatch-like device from a startup called Basis, capable of measuring heart rate, skin conductance related to stress, and sleep patterns, all of which can then be displayed on a “health dashboard.”
Large tech companies known for innovation have also noted self-tracking implementations as a promising area for growth.
- Philips, for instance, launched Vital Signs, an experimental iPhone app that uses the built-in camera to measure a user’s heart rate and breathing rate, charting them over time.
- Intel has developed an app called Mobile Therapy that provides continuous stress monitoring coupled with timely mobile feedback. Cardiovascular, contextual, and subjective stress indicators—intended to improve emotional regulation and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease—prompt mobile interventions inspired by cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practices, translated to mobile interfaces.
Nike+ really started the momentum behind people measuring their actions, pointing to a realization that when people shared their results they had more success than without the social interaction component. Competition with others through the vast channels of social media gave the whole idea real traction.
An even more inventive concept is now unfolding, driven by competing with oneself. Gamification—turning everyday activities into games by awarding points and encouraging people to compete with friends—is furthering how people are quantifying their behaviors. Not only does competing with others fuel successful tracking; competing against yourself can also be fun… and it can make you healthier.
- A start-up called GreenGoose has created tiny motion sensors that can be attached to common items, sending a wireless signal to a base-station whenever the item is used, giving you points for healthy behaviors. For example, a sensor can be attached to a toothbrush, making it possible to measure and track how often you brush your teeth. GreenGoose sets out to harness the power of feedback loops to unlock the data in everyday activities.
Bundling products with personalized plans helped transform DTC; but that only went so far. Now it’s about bundling products with plans with products, through unique partnerships that can really shape brands in meaningful ways. The advent of Wi-Fi, near field, RFID, and accelerometers opened up the possibilities, now that convenient mobile tech has become so commonplace and self-tracking takes less work. Think about the multitude of potential out there, which you can help pioneer—connecting key customers with healthcare brands by empowering providers, patients, and consumers with practical technologies they can easily add to their everyday lives.