We’ve just wrapped up our Cybercitizen Health® U.S. 2016 study, and in going through the findings, we were struck again and again by the degree to which digital is now at the heart of the patient’s healthcare experience. Already, one in five healthcare consumers has used virtual consultations, and nearly half (46%) have communicated with a doctor digitally (including via text, IM, email, patient portal or online video conferencing).

It’s early days yet for the digital health revolution – telemedicine is in its infancy, and while connected health is coming together, it’s still largely slideware, a collection of disparate, yet-to-be-integrated, first- and second-wave technologies. A vanguard of patients and physicians is nonetheless using data to better health – with this study, we found that 45% of U.S. adults track their health measurements digitally, and half of these self-trackers share health data with their doctors.

Empowered patients show up for physician visits having done their homework online. They’re increasingly comparing notes and sharing information with their peers through social channels, as doctors have noted, and that shared content carries extra clout.

These trends create opportunities for pharma to engage patients and enrich the patient-physician dialogue through shareable digital content and beyond-the-pill digital solutions that help patients make use of health data. Taking advantage of these opportunities requires that pharma marketers shift from the traditional ‘push’ modality to focus on pulling consumers in through content that engages by giving them something of value.

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