Apple has made several forays into the world of healthcare in recent years and 2022 was no exception

Earlier this year, Apple announced that it would add medication tracking to the iPhone and Apple Watch. The new features allow users to manage their medications, create lists of what they take, set reminders and view information on their medications in the Health app. 

Months later, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Ultra, which includes several new capabilities related to health, wellness and activity such as temperature-sensing functionality and Heart Rate Zones. 

With the tech giant making significant strides in the healthcare space, it’s worth wondering how its efforts will disrupt the industry. More specifically, how will the medication tracking feature impact the specialty patient journey and what do medical marketers need to do in response?

HelpAround CEO Yishai Knobel said this is a step by Apple to become something of a one-stop-shop for aggregating notifications to patients around their medications. He added that it puts the role of medical marketers into question and forces them to reevaluate their position in the value chain. 

This is a tricky situation to navigate, Knobel said, because of the rise of consumerism in healthcare and the growing expectation that experiences along the patient journey are generally going to be frictionless in nature. 

“The big question for marketers is what do you do in a world where the patient is just so used to transactions being short and sweet, as opposed to a long-term relationship?” he asked. “You’ve got to rethink how to engage patients and how to fit into the narrow window of attention that the patient is getting.”

He said another dilemma facing pharma marketers is in collecting consent from the patient without interrupting the process along the way. Patients aren’t concerned with what’s happening on the back end as it relates to vendors and handling medication tracking capabilities so long as the front-facing experience is streamlined, he noted. 

To succeed in this area, from Knobel’s perspective, marketers need to emphasize the moment of interaction with a patient in a simple, transparent way. He said that tech disruptors like Google, Apple and Amazon have entered the healthcare industry from the consumer experience side of business and put healthcare brands on notice as a result.

“It’s only going to happen more and more; you’re going to have more and more big tech players invading healthcare,” he said. “So pharma companies and big health systems will need to figure out how they fit in because Apple does not ask for permission from anyone.”