I couldn’t be more excited about the impact of technology on the business of healthcare, and the explosion of startups that are just now hitting the market. This revolution is being led by innovative entrepreneurs who understand the intersection between healthcare and technology and create new consumer products that allow for self-measurement, self-quantification, and self-management. (A big thanks to David Blair, head of Google’s Healthcare practice, for turning me on to these companies.)
- PingMD – If Fathom designed an app, this would be it. PingMD connects patients with their doctors for better healthcare communications and better outcomes. I foresee large hospital systems and small private practices signing up in the near future.
- AliveCor – Another innovative use of the smartphone, AliveCor provide an electrocardiogram on your iPhone. More than 4 million Americans have an irregular heartbeat; here is a simple and user-friendly way of addressing that condition.
- Teddy the Guardian – I have two daughters, and they would LOVE a teddy bear like this one! The idea of coupling such a lovable icon with a heart-rate monitor and other basic metrics is brilliant. Watch for more devices—like sneakers and headphones—that integrate health-monitoring technology with everyday objects.
- Scanadu Scout – Similar to Teddy, but for adults as well, the Scanadu Scout purports to be “the world’s first tricorder.” Swiping the small monitor over your forehead beams a wide range of information to your smartphone, from temperature to oxymetry.
- Open Cancer Network – We’ve all heard the terms “big data,” “mobile health,” “self quantification” and “crowdsourcing,” but here is a company that molds them all into one technology solution. What I love about OCN is that it brings together so many important trends into one solution, leveraging technology and data to both improve healthcare and make money. This is the vanguard of the next generation of healthcare apps: Apps that go far beyond simple pedometers or monitors that claim to improve your sleep, and move instead into the complex realm of chronic disease management, big data analysis, and population health.
So, how could these startup companies benefit from digital marketing? Well, as with any product or service, there is all sorts of opportunity for pay-per-click campaigns to attract clicks and even new customers around these very specific terms (for OCN, think “cancer research big data”). What this also means is that search-engine optimization (SEO) and thought leadership need to happen now … before the market has caught up, and just as the initial consumer demand is starting. If you check out their websites, you’ll notice that very few of these companies have a blog or have taken advantage of successful e-commerce strategies or are really demonstrating thought leadership. As these products flood the market, patients and consumers will look for trusted brands, so these startups need to establish their credibility and effectiveness through their website content.
In the end, these healthcare startups are about empowering consumers to take control of their own healthcare. The revolution may not be televised, but it will be available as an app on your smartphone.
Check out Fathom’s white paper on social media in the top 15 health systems.