The Boom in Digital Healthcare.

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Those sage heads who predict next year’s trends declared that 2014 would be the year healthcare went digital, a prediction that is coming true in a big way.

As anticipated, the summer headlines have been grabbed by Apple and Google with their respective launches of Healthkit and Google Fit, frameworks that will allow smartphone users to record their activity, monitor their bodies and be guided to a healthier life. Never mind the Internet of Things, we have entered the age of The Quantified Self.

This pace of change is the result of consumer technology reaching a point where it can tackle many of the issues facing the healthcare sector. Mary Meeker summarises this in her report Internet Trends 2014, initially outlining the current state of health care in the US:

  • Spending on healthcare is gargantuan - in the US it’s 17% of GDP!
  • This is a wasteful industry - 27% of spend is excess
  • Individual costs are rising - more than 25% of the family income goes on healthcare
  • Chronic conditions account for more than 75% of the spend
  • Patient behaviour - e.g. smoking, not taking medicine - is the root cause of many conditions
  • Meeker finds that faced with these problems digital technology is providing a reason for optimism and below we will look at some of these key areas of progress:

EHR (Electronic Health Record)

It’s been a long time coming but moving patient data away from antiquated systems and into cloud databases is the first step to a single view of a patient, the holy grail that gives us the possibility of real-time data records, controlled by the patient and easily shared with healthcare professionals, family and carers. The offering is still fragmented but private initiatives such as How Are You have come to market far quicker than anything the NHS could roll out.

Wearable technology and monitoring apps have been with us for a while, but the introduction of Apple Healthkit and Google Fit is a step change that takes them from useful to truly compelling. With the launch of iOS8 in September data from devices and apps such as FitBit, Withings Blood Pressure Monitor and Nike+ will be integrated into Apple’s own Health app, giving users an unparalleled view of their health profile.

Mary Meeker highlights that as many as 50% of patients with chronic conditions aren’t taking their medicine as they should. Apps such as Mango Health are making a huge contribution in this area, reminding users when a dose is due, motivating them to keep on track with rewards and triggering reminders when repeat prescriptions are due.

As any first aider knows when a medical emergency occurs rapid expert intervention is critical - that’s why you dial 999 before administering cardiac massage. With constant digital monitoring, we have the potential for early warning systems that increase the likelihood of treatment within the ‘golden hour’ following an incident. For example, the Mayo Health app is being developed to monitor a user’s blood pressure and alert authorised healthcare providers automatically in the case of an emergency - it’s, therefore, possible for a doctor to know a patient is in danger before the patient themselves. What’s more, Apple’s Healthkit provides an Emergency Card that can be viewed on the lock screen of an iOS device giving first responders immediate knowledge of any conditions, allergies or medication.

Much of what we have seen so far could be classified as ‘nice to have’ (calorie tracking? Sleep monitoring?) and as yet we haven’t got to the ‘killer app’ that, in medical terminology, becomes endemic. But as real patient need is met by commercially-driven solution that tipping point is not far off.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.


Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

Alex Lee Thumbnail
Alex Lee
UX Lead
Alex is an award-winning producer with over a decade's experience in the industry. Alex has a wealth of experience in the creative and digital arenas with extensive knowledge of websites, mobile apps and social media campaigns for blue-chip global brands such as Sony, Pepsi, Tesco and Red Bull. Alex's mix of creative and development expertise ensure a strong connection between clients and the agency team.
Alex Lee Thumbnail

Alex Lee

21 Aug 2014 - 7 minute read
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