Article | July 17, 2020
The COVID-19 virus (C19) pandemic is turning out to be the event of the century. Even World War seems timid in comparison. We are in the 4th month of the virus (in non-China countries) and have gone past the lockdown in many places. Isn’t it time we re-think the approach? What if there is another wave of C19 coming soon? What if C19 is the first of many such events in the future?
Before we get into analysis and solution design, summarizing the C19 quirks:
While a large section of the affected population is asymptomatic, for some it can be lethal
There isn’t clarity on all the ways C19 spreads
It’s known to affect the lungs, heart, and kidneys in patients with weak immunity
It has been hard to identify a definitive pattern of the virus. Some observations in managing the C19 situation are:
With no vaccine in sight, the end of this epidemic looks months or years away
Health care personnel in hospitals need additional protection to treat patients
Lockdowns lead to severe economic hardship and its repeated application can be damaging
Quarantining people has an economic cost, especially in the weaker sections of society
If one takes a step back to re-think about this, we are primarily solving 2 problems:
Minimise deaths: Minimise the death of C19 and non-C19 patients in this period
Maximise economic growth: The GDP output/growth should equal or higher than pre-C19 levels
One needs to achieve the 2 goals in an environment of rising number of C19 cases.
An approach that can be applied to achieve this is:
Data driven health care capacity planning
Build a health repository of all the citizens with details like pre-existing diseases, comorbidity, health status, etc. The repository needs to be updated quarterly to account for patient data changes
This health repository data is combined with the C19 profile (disease susceptibility) and/or other seasonal diseases to determine the healthcare capacity (medicines, doctors, etc.) needed
The healthcare capacity deficit/excess needs to be analysed in categories (beds, equipment, medicine, personnel, etc.) and regions (city, state, etc.) and actions taken accordingly
Regular capacity management will ensure patients aren’t deprived of timely treatment. In addition, such planning helps in the equitable distribution of healthcare across regions and optimising health care costs. Healthcare sector is better prepared to scale-up/down their operations
Based on the analysis citizens can be informed about their probability of needing hospitalisation on contracting C19. Citizens with a higher health risk on C19 infection should be personally trained on prevention and tips to manage the disease on occurrence
The diagram below explains the process
Mechanism to increase hospital capacity without cost escalation
Due to the nature of C19, health personnel are prone to infection and their safety is a big issue. There is also a shortage of hospitable beds available. Even non-C19 patients aren’t getting the required treatment because health personnel seek it as a risk. This resulted in, healthcare costs going up and availability reducing.
To mitigate such issues, hospital layouts may need to be altered (as shown in the diagram below). The altered layout improves hospital capacity and availability of health care personnel. It also reduces the need for the arduous C19 protection procedures. Such procedures reduce the patient treatment capacity and puts a toll on hospital management.
Over a period, the number of recovered C19 persons are going to increase significantly. We need to start tapping into their services to reduce the burden on the system. The hospitals need to be divided into 3 zones. The hospital zoning illustration shown below explains how this could be done. In the diagram, patients are shown in green and health care personnel are in light red.
**Assumption: Infected and recovered C19 patients are immune to the disease. This is not clearly established
Better enforcement of social factors
The other reason for high number of infections in countries like India is a glaring disregard in following C19 rules in public places and the laxity in enforcement. Enforcement covers 2 parts, tracking incidents of violation and penalising the behaviour. Government should use modern mechanisms like crowd sourcing to track incidents and ride on the growing public fear to ensure penalty enforcement succeeds. The C19 pandemic has exposed governance limitations in not just following C19 rules, but also in other areas of public safety like road travel, sanitation, dietary habits, etc.
Maximise economic growth
The earlier lockdown has strained the economy. Adequate measures need to be taken to get the economy back on track. Some of the areas that need to be addressed are:
One needs to evaluate the development needs of the country in different categories like growth impetus factors (e.g. building roads, electricity capacity increase), social factors (e.g. waste water treatment plants, health care capacity), and environmental factors (e.g. solar energy generation, EV charging stations). Governments need to accelerate funding in such projects so that that large numbers of unemployed people are hired and trained. Besides giving an immediate boost to the ailing economy such projects have a future payback. The governments should not get bogged down by the huge fiscal deficit such measures can create. Such a mechanism to get money out in the economy is far than better measures like QE (Quantitative Easing) or free money transfer into people’s bank accounts
Certain items like smartphone, internet, masks, etc. have become critical (for work, education, critical government announcements). It’s essential to subsidise or reduce taxes so that these items are affordable and accessible to everyone without a financial impact
The government shouldn’t put too many C19 related controls on service offerings (e.g. shops, schools, restaurants, cabs). Putting many controls increases the cost of the service which neither the seller not buyer is willing or able to pay. Where controls are put, the Govt should bear the costs or reduce taxes or figure out a mechanism so that the cost can be absorbed.
An event like the C19 pandemic is a great opportunity to rationalise development imbalances in the country. Government funding should be channelized more to under-developed regions. This drives growth in regions that need it most. It also prevents excess migration that has resulted in uncontrolled and bad urbanisation that has made C19 management hard (guidelines like social distance are impossible to follow)
Post-C19 lockdown, the business environment (need for sanitizers, masks, home furniture) has changed. To make people employable in new flourishing businesses there could be a need to re-skill people. Such an initiative can be taken up by the public/private sector
The number of C19 infected asymptomatic patients is going to keep increasing. Building an economy around them (existing, recovered C19 patients) may not be a far-fetched idea. E.g. jobs for C19 infected daily wage earners, C19 infected taxi drivers to transport C19 patients, etc.
In the last 100 years, mankind has conquered the destructive aspects of many a disease and natural mishap (hurricanes, floods, etc.). Human lives lost in such events has dramatically dropped over the years and our preparedness has never been this good. Nature seems to have caught up with mankind’s big strides in science and technology. C19 has been hard to reign in with no breakthrough yet. The C19 pandemic is here to stay for the near future. The more we accept this reality and change ourselves to live with it amidst us, the faster we can return to a new normal. A quote from Edward Jenner (inventor of Small Pox) seems apt in the situation – “The deviation of man from the state in which he was originally placed by nature seems to have proved to him a prolific source of diseases”.
Article | February 24, 2020
Technology is only as useful as the value it helps us deliver. For us to get to the next phase of this evolution, technology must fit into a patient-centric care model. When I shifted my role from a full-time practicing physician to a healthcare administrator 20 years ago, there were no national standards on quality measurements, let alone for performance-based payment or value-based payment models. Today, value-based initiatives are shifting care delivery from compensating volume to compensating value and redefining financial incentives toward better patient outcomes. In this model, providers must think about the entire patient experience across all care settings and between episodic visits. On top of this, consumer behavior is changing the way patients choose and receive care. Patients are increasingly embracing convenient options for their healthcare that match their lifestyle, but still want the peace of mind that comes with support from a consistent primary care provider or care team.
Article | April 21, 2020
Artificial Intelligence is here to improve our lives, by not just making things more efficient, but also increasing our lifespan. Companies across industries are experiencing the advantages that come with AI innovation, especially the healthcare space. Throughout human history, we’ve been able to understand the parameters that determine health better, and we’ve developed accompanying technology. With vaccines in the late 1700s, anesthesia and medical imaging in the 1800s, to organ transplant and immunology in the 1900s, healthcare innovation has been on an upward slope.
Article | March 26, 2021
Health tech marketers tend to have a real bias problem. Everyone wants to believe that they have the best product available in the market, and are quite vocal about it on social platforms. But, are those the things your buyers want to know about your products?
The biggest mistake you can ever make in health tech marketing is leading it with a technology bias. It will immediately create a distance between your audience and you. If you are working in technology, you can easily assume that everyone knows what you are talking about all the time. You breathe and live your industry. And as the marketer of your company's products, it's your responsibility to go to prospects with your tech company’s message. In your personal life, too, you may talk to your friends and families about your work and realize they have no interest in what you say as they have no idea what you are talking about. That is because they are not immersed in your company or industry.
The same can happen in your health tech marketing process with your prospects and customers. Instead of focusing on their problems, if you lead with your technology solution and features of your products and company, you will lose them. It is vital to step back and see the bias you have in your company’s marketing initiatives.
How Technology Bias Affects Health Tech Marketing
The effects of technology bias in health tech marketing are strongest when the health tech marketer focuses more on technology, product, or company than the buyer's pain points. Customers do not want to know everything about your product. They probably want to know how your product can solve their issues. When approaching buyers with your product, this health tech marketing technology bias can have many adverse effects on the buying process.
Technology bias in health tech marketing will lead to failure to get the customers' trust. They feel you are just trying to sell your product by explaining your product's features rather than solving the customer's issues. Technology bias in health tech marketing also will result in a negative effect on brand performance. As a health tech marketer, you are wrong in assuming you can sell your products by boosting the company or products of the company. It will only result in losing the customer's trust if you are not considering the buyers' problems. If you are going on with the practice, it will eventually affect your brand's performance as buyers view you as not genuine.
This unfair practice of technology bias in health tech marketing will make you realize that you are losing the customers, even the existing ones. No buyer wants to hear more about the features or the technologies used in your products. They are focused on their issues and want to know how your product can solve those issues. Thus, as a health tech marketer, you may have to focus more on the customer pain points when approaching buyers; this will help you convert potential customers into clients.
How to Get Rid of Technology Bias and Improve Health Tech Sales
FPX Digital Transformation Study 2019 says that B2B companies have shifted their focus to customer experience from internal efficiency. Most of the respondents agree that they spend much of their digital transformation funds improving the customer experience.
An important way to implement a buyer-centric or customer-centric marketing approach is to remove bias about your product from your health tech marketing efforts. Mainly, this has to be removed from the messages you send out in the early stages of the buyer journey. However, making it practical is difficult as it is ingrained in how you write, speak, and present your company to external and internal audiences.
Here are some tips to get out of technology bias in health tech marketing and get closer to your customers.
Listen to Customers Clearly
Successful marketers excel not only in communicating but also in listening. It is impossible to create a message about your health tech product if you do not know what problem it can really solve. It will help if you take the time to know your prospects and customers. Do not let your mind wander thinking about which benefits and features you have to push in your health tech marketing. Remain fully present in video, phone, and in-person meetings. That will help you find they have different problems, and you can solve them differently.
When you give importance to listening, you will not waste time and effort solving a problem that you think exists. Instead, you will start developing buyer-centric health tech marketing messages that align with your business.
Don’t Assume Anything
You hate being in a room where people are talking about a subject you know nothing about. Your health tech buyers may have the same experience if you assume your customers know what you do and how they fit into your space.
That’s why it’s essential not to take a “features-first” approach in your marketing interactions. You understand your product's ins and outs, but your prospects don’t and are likely not ready for that. As an effective health tech marketing technique, before you assume anything, give them the complete picture of who you are.
Simplify the Message
A product-driven language full of jargon will make your brand unapproachable for your audience. You can apply the old phrase here, “keep it simple stupid.” You have to position your technology as sophisticated and robust, not convoluted and tricky, through an effective health tech marketing process.
Your health tech marketing content should make sense to people both outside and inside your industry and company. Visitors of your website should not go for additional research to understand what you do precisely. It should be clear from your content. Thus, simplifying your content is essential.
Make Your Customer the Hero
The hero of your health tech marketing story is not you but your customer. After all, your customers in your industry work hard to deliver better service and results to their customers.
Your messages should position you as a mentor for your customers that provides technology support in the job of your customers to drive success. The “customer hero” approach should have a fundamental change in how you speak to your customers. The approach is not fully taken hold in the B2B health tech marketing space so far.
Share Real World Stories
One of the most practical ways to eliminate technology bias from your health tech marketing is to talk more about your customers and less about your products and company. You have to show you have the purpose of bringing in a fundamental change in your industry that enhances the day-to-day business lives of people and not just sell great technology.
Testimonials and customer case studies help a lot in shaping your brand story. Using them, narratives can be created about your customers' journey after and before using your technology. Rather than detailing the benefits and features of technology, narratives highlight the platform's tangible business value for real people in businesses.
Technology brings a change in companies, and most people do not accept changes so quickly. It is because the change pushes people to do things differently by moving beyond their comfort zones.
As part of health tech marketing, your job is not to make this change terrifying, but compelling for your buyers. This will happen only when you take your technology out of your head and start focusing on your clients' requirements, problems they face, and what exactly they need from you. It will then surely make you put your product and technology bias aside. And you will be capable of effectively executing your health tech marketing initiatives.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does health tech marketing become effective?
Effective health tech marketing is essential to reach out to potential clients and grab their attention. Health tech marketing becomes effective only when the marketer focuses on the requirements of the clients rather than on the features of the product or company.
What is technology bias in marketing?
Technology bias in marketing is focusing much on your product or technology when you market a technology product to your prospects. Getting rid of this bias will make you attract more clients and successful in your marketing.
How to get rid of technology bias in health tech marketing?
Technology bias in your health tech marketing makes the customers put a distance from you. The best way to get rid of it is to make the customer the hero of your marketing messages by focusing on their issues.
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"name": "What is technology bias in marketing?",
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