If you’re a football fan, something interesting happened this NFL season. More and more, both on game telecasts and popular outlets like Bill Simmons’ podcast, you heard ads for Roman. If you’re not familiar, that’s a discrete, app-based process for getting treated for erectile dysfunction.
This is a sea change in many ways: for decades, we’d almost never associate, or market to, “guys’ guys” watching NFL with any notion that they might have an ED or general health problem. It would be all beer ads, maybe a few snack commercials like Doritos and other “masculine” product placements. That was the game for generations.
But the game is shifting. Health care is a massive industry, but its execution-level -- i.e. scheduling appointments, seeing doctors, filling out paperwork, etc. -- is not often sleek or user-friendly. And when there’s a lot of money at stake and the issue is “easier use,” tech comes calling. The same thing happened (and is happening) with recruiting.
What are some of the bigger players? What’s happening in the space?
Fro $40 per consultation, you can see a doctor via video, have the doctor write you prescriptions, or simply get questions answered. Mobile video has been hot for years -- and again, there are parallels here to the recruiting space, where interviewing candidates on video, or letting them pre-record answers to questions on mobile, also recently got hot. Since the actual idea of getting into a doctor’s office and seeing one can be a challenge (we recently got told the next appointment at a given doctor was in 3.2 months), bringing mobile video into the equation is a potential game-changer. Others are in the space too, like Teladoc through Aetna.
Here you get quick access to specialists for follow-up questions or in-person appointments. Again: meeting that need through a better user experience and faster connectivity. This is where traditional health care delivery models have struggled and where mobile tech can close the gap.
Think of all the meal kits out there, or other subscription-based models. Now imagine you can manage all your pill prescriptions from one app, they get automatically refilled four weeks before they’re set to run out, and they get sent to you with containers in order of how to take them + instructions. Life-saver for some, right? Indeed. That’s exactly what PillPack does, and it has one of the better marketing tag lines we’ve seen recently: “Pharmacy simplified.”
You knew AI would make this list somewhere, didn’t you? Doc.ai has attracted millions in investment already. It uses AI to help people enroll in clinical trials, help determine the healthiest places they’ve lived, and see what their genetic data can tell them about health and longevity. It’s partnered with Anthem Health on an end-to-end data trial that resides on blockchain, and some have called it “the human face of healthcare AI.”
… has a 78 percent favorability rating among initial users, and this is happening at the same time former Apple boss John Sculley is saying the company will disrupt healthcare in the same way the iPhone disrupted mobile. Stay tuned on whether that’s true, although it’s clearly a major focus of the company, and that focus is largely tied to mobile.
VR holds particular promise for the noninvasive, non-addictive treatment of patients with chronic or acute pain, potentially offering an alternative to opiates and other traditional pain treatments. Clinical trials performed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA have shown that VR-based treatments are an effective tool for reducing pain. In a randomized controlled trial enrolling 120 patients, hospitalized patients experienced a 52% reduction in pain when receiving the VR treatment, with pain relief extending even after the headset was removed. Additional studies are underway to determine how VR solutions, when used in tandem with other digital tools including wearables and nerve stimulation devices, may reduce pain and lower costs for patients with orthopedic work-related injuries.
The entire goal of mobile in healthcare started out as better user experience or faster access to key resources. But now the picture is evolving very rapidly: healthcare could be completely shifted by mobile tech within the next few years. And whether that means discrete ED ads during NFL games become almost normative or whether that means Apple recaptures its mojo by understanding your unique health data, we don’t know exactly. But we do know the future of the space is in mobile.
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