In a feature published in April 2013, a well-intentioned MM&M scribe touted Google Glass as The Next Big Thing in patient care, describing it as “a hands-free, camera-enabled, voice-recognizing, non-invasive smartphone for, like, your face.” The scribe further speculated that “for physicians and other HCPs, it could prove a godsend. Google Glass will allow them to access a patient’s medical records or the results of a lab test while examining them.”
That scribe was the opposite of right, a common occupational hazard of attempting to suss out what the months and years ahead might hold. For every mind-blowingly prescient prediction about the future of media and technology, there are roughly 92,750 that don’t come close to panning out. So please enjoy these 2020 predictions in the spirit in which they’re intended: As informed speculation from some of the industry’s smartest media minds, rather than as Gladwellian fodder for a full year’s worth of Hot Takes.
I’ll go first. In 2020, point-of-care isn’t just going to build on the incremental gains of the last three or four years; it’s going to blow them out of the water. The most traditional POC location, physicians’ offices, has already been infused with the necessary technological infrastructure. In 2020, the content will finally prove screen-worthy, opening up a host of opportunities for the dwindling number of still-skeptical marketers.
Furthermore, the notion of “point of care everywhere” will be more fully realized as Americans become more and more comfortable with telehealth consults. Companies like Populus are set to capitalize on this surging acceptance, bringing educational and marketing content to televisits in a manner that’s neither intrusive nor overwhelming.
Telehealth’s time is now. As with most other things POC-related, your window to get in on or near the ground floor is just about shut.
Here are some other predictions from health media A-listers:
What are the health media trends you expect to see during 2020?
“Cookie-less solutions: With GDPR-like policies permeating the United States (see the California Consumer Privacy Act, which went into effect on January 1), it is only a matter of time until we, as health media folks, need to revise the way we target. Obviously pharma media comes with its own set of added privacy stipulations, but expect those to be amped up to the nth degree in the very near future. To comply with such policies, cookie-less solutions are going to start to become the norm rather than the exception. There are a handful now that look promising: In particular, using mobile activity, behavior and app usage as one analogue for the cookie could continue to pan out positively, especially as it’s become almost a given that patients and HCPs will be engaging with a brand on their mobile phone at some point during their journey.
“Advanced TV: With the rise of cord-cutting and the digitization of television (OTT, SVOD, AVOD), the excitement around advanced TV – and more specifically, addressable TV – is palpable. As younger generations move away from traditional linear TV, the level of data that health media agencies can collect, and then use to retarget, is growing. Add into the mix automatic content recognition, which is the ability for smart devices to identify and target off TV creative (think Shazam for TV). The ultimate goal is to be able to show far more personalized commercials on both live and time-shifted programming. All this makes for a really exciting time in television.
“Programmatic everything: Everyone in media understands the attraction to programmatic, and that allure is only going to continue to grow in 2020. With inventory beyond digital (audio, TV and out-of-home) becoming available to purchase programmatically or via real-time bidding, the level of access to inventory is increasing, as are the speed and efficiency with which it can be bought. Add to that the increasing transparency and safety standards, and you have a landscape that is becoming more and more favorable to health advertisers who want to scale, while at the same time manage costs.” — Justin Chase, EVP, innovation and media, Intouch Solutions
“There will be a significant and growing interest from a wider variety of healthcare brands who see the value of connecting with patients at the point of care. Video will continue to see significant growth in the health industry, with the focus on – and importance of – empathy really gaining traction. Brands that create authentic, high-quality video content through the eyes of the patient will stand out. And audio is having a renaissance through streaming platforms and podcasts; I think we’ll continue to see advertisers get creative with this channel.” — Greg Reilly, EVP, head of customer experience, Outcome Health
“With the launch of 5G expanding in 2020, as well as continued need, we will continue to see the rise of telehealth and real-time health monitoring. Companies like Tyto Health, which provides on-demand virtual doctor visits, will become much more prevalent. Healthcare providers will continue to roll out telehealth offerings much like Aetna’s Teledoc.” — Mark Pappas, SVP, innovation, CMI/Compas
“Next year is bound to get interesting as the fiercest presidential election of our times heats up, with both parties pointing at drug prices looking to score political points. As a result, expect to see more attention on the cost, access and quality of healthcare. Another top trend will be increased concerns and regulations around data privacy, resulting in improved transparency. I also expect content authority and relevance to continue as a priority for healthcare marketers as they look to educate consumers.” — John Kenyon, VP, managing director POC, Meredith/Targeted Media Health
“2020 will see health brands break through the clutter with cultural relevancy, and it will be essential to deliver value with a whole-person approach to health and wellness. Media needs to move from pushing authenticity to enabling personal agency (both self and community advocacy).
“Tried-and-true digital efforts on contextual and content marketing will win in the new realm of internet browser changes and privacy regulations. Metrics of success and benchmarks will be heavily impacted as a result of an inability to track specific performance measures.” — Ingrid Eberly, VP corporate marketing, Healthline Media
“We’ll see even more consolidation of publishers, manufacturers, health care delivery systems and data providers. There will be continued health market disruption from large tech companies, and continued proliferation of video content creators, consumers and novel applications.” — Jose Ferreira, SVP, product and innovation, CMI/Compas
Which organizations and individuals will you be paying close attention to during 2020, and why?
“Best Buy has been pivoting into health care, specifically senior health care. One look at the health section of its site and you will see countless connected patient monitoring options, from glucose monitoring to medication adherence devices. Additionally, Best Buy has acquired Jitterbug mobile phones aimed at seniors and a data-driven clinical trial company. It hired BioSensics’ data science and engineering team, which is responsible for pushing innovation in wearable sensors, to help detect falls and other issues affecting seniors. Finally, Best Buy has one killer feature Amazon and Walmart do not: its 20,000-strong Geek Squad, members of which can be deployed to install and educate users on these new health offerings. Who’s to say there will not be a caregiver/physician feature rolled into it?” — Mark Pappas, SVP, innovation, CMI/Compas
“As the election heats up, I’ll be watching the PhRMA newsfeed in the hopes that the organization is able to counter some of the market distortions. I hope they’ll ultimately be successful in highlighting all the great work done by pharma companies in their pursuit to advance new cures and treatment options for the world.” — John Kenyon, VP, managing director POC, Meredith/Targeted Media Health
“The American electorate will be making an important decision this year. The ACA will turn ten years old, but it isn’t settled law. The results of the election could lead to anything from complete repeal to significant expansion, which will have a ripple effect across the entire health industry.” — Jose Ferreira, SVP, product and innovation, CMI/Compas
“I am really interested in health systems that are exploring ways to integrate voice technologies into the moments of care along a patient’s health journey in order to improve treatment experiences.” — Greg Reilly, EVP, head of customer experience, Outcome Health
“I’m anxious to see what the Point of Care Communication Council will do in 2020. It made great strides in 2019 via the introduction of new auditing guidelines and the inaugural PoC3 Summit under new leadership. I firmly believe there’s more the organization will do to further the growth and relevance of the point-of-care space in 2020 and beyond.” — Rodnell Workman, chief marketing officer, Health Monitor Network