Partner Forum: Are Wearables a Pharma Field Day?

The arrival of the Apple Watch—following hardware from Samsung and others—has sparked interest among app developers for use in consumer healthcare. Do wearables have a role in life-science sales and CRM?

Michelle Keefe
President and CEO, Publicis Touchpoint Solutions
Like anything that is a game changer for how sales representatives plan their inter-actions with HCPs, ongoing training will need to be a critical component to optimize the impact of Apple Watch and other smartwatches. In theory it should significantly help representatives in the field. An example of where Apple Watch could be very useful is when a representative calls on integrated delivery networks and large group practices as reps often don't know which HCPs they will have the opportunity to engage with. Technology like Apple Watch armed with CRM and analytic apps could give representatives the flexibility to plan in real time. It will be interesting to see whether this new technology does improve customer engagement and allow sales representatives to have greater impact on each call.

Yan Fossat
Vice president, strategic innovation, INVIVO
It is not often that the entire healthcare industry pours all of its hopes and dreams into a humble gadget. The Apple Watch, somehow, got the industry to do just that. Smart-watches do offer some tantalizing new potential in the ephemeral interaction domain. We use phones, tablets and laptops to access documents and emails created over the past few months or years. Smartwatches deal with the now. They are not the next mobile platform. They are single-serving interaction channels. This novel class of transient interaction is uncharted territory and will require new thinking that does not come from traditional UX design but from the world of sales. While the “killer app” for life-sciences sales has yet to emerge, stealth notifications, remote controls and intelligent agents look encouraging.

Emily Tower
VP, digital strategy and analytics, AbelsonTaylor
 With the proliferation of wearables, brands seeking to provide additional value to patients in managing their condition have the opportunity to start participating. Consider adherence: Data demonstrate that patients who manage or track any elements of their health are more likely to be adherent with their medications as well. This presents an opportunity for brands to establish partner-ships with wearables and develop apps that can help patients understand more about their conditions and tools to improve their overall condition management. One example: MS patients who maintain healthier activity levels tend to have stronger outcomes and a slower disease progression. Partnering with a Fitbit (or other step-tracking wearable) can help patients manage their condition.

David Ormesher
CEO, closerlook
“The home is ultimately going to be the major site of care for all but the sickest patients,” says George Halverson, CEO of Kaiser. Lightweight wearable sensors will provide benefits in three major areas of healthcare: consumer and patient self-management, allowing a tight feedback loop on lifestyle and therapy compliance; early detection of deterioration leading to timely intervention for recovering ambulatory patients; and access to vital signs for the emerging practice of tele-health. Each provides value by increasing quality metrics and personalized patient care. Wearable apps integrated with therapy regimens translate into engaged patient experiences.

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