Partner and Chief Digital Officer
Larry Mickelberg, partner and chief digital officer at communications company Havas Health, spoke with eMarketer’s Tobi Elkin about healthcare providers’ use of electronic health records and his vision for mobile services-based healthcare.
eMarketer: How is the mobile channel changing the way healthcare providers (HCPs) communicate with patients?
Larry Mickelberg: For physicians in particular, the EHR [Electronic Health Record] is becoming the central focal point and the way that they are practicing medicine.
In the recent past, the EHR had been on a desktop computer somewhere in the office. The physician would turn his or her back to the patient while they entered information into the medical record. Because of tablets, and the iPad in particular, most of the leading EHR platforms have or will move to an iPad-based platform, which enables a richer sort of dialogue between doctor and patient.
eMarketer: How are physicians using smartphones and tablets?
Mickelberg: Like most consumers, physicians are adopting a multiscreen approach. They’re using the best features of their smartphones or tablets and EHRs collectively. They have different needs during the course of their workday. When they’re in patient consultations, they’re in a lean-forward mode and need to find information relatively quickly. They’re looking for quick information on coverage, treatment guidelines or evidence-based guidelines. They’re also interfacing throughout the day with their staff.
“Like most consumers, physicians are adopting a multiscreen approach.”
The best mobile strategies will map to physicians’ clinical workday. Physicians are asking for a seamless experience that is as non-interruptive as possible.
eMarketer: Where do smartphones figure into the equation?
Mickelberg: HCPs are using them in great numbers during their workday, and in fact probably more so than the EHR platform. The smartphone is used in the office for information retrieval and for looking up formulary coverage. But physicians are still seeking information on their smartphones outside the context of the consultation, too.
The smartphone shines in the moments in between patient consultations and during patient consultations. It’s really the first place physicians go for any type of information today. HCPs also use smartphones to interface with their peers for a point of view or second opinion. That’s changing a bit as tablet-based EHRs become more prevalent. Moving forward, we’ll see a multiscreen approach but the smartphone will still have a place.
eMarketer: Has the patent cliff changed the way marketing is done to physicians vs. consumers?
Mickelberg: I see the focus shifting very broadly to digital and particularly mobile. I think future pharma products will be offered through a cross-platform services package that comes with the product. Pharmaceutical products will be brought to market within an ecosystem of digital and mobile services. We see a number of our clients taking a “pill plus platform” combination into clinical trials. Most pharmaceutical marketers realize that this digital mobile ecosystem is going to be critical to how they launch and market their products going forward.
eMarketer: Can you elaborate on the “pill plus platform” approach?
“The smartphone shines in the moments in between patient consultations and during patient consultations. It’s really the first place physicians go for any type of information today.”
An example would be a patient who is undergoing a diffused therapy for something like rheumatoid arthritis, and they go to an infusion center. You can set an alert so that when they approach the vicinity of the infusion center, a reminder is triggered to either track the experience or open up an app that serves as a companion to the infusion experience.
So if you’re going to be sitting for two hours and getting infused, a marketer might create a companion app that allows the patient to engage with the brand in some way during the infusion experience. I think we’ll see more of these kinds of things. Sanofi has a blood-glucose tracker device that hooks up to the iPhone and transmits glucose readings through the iPhone and creates a dashboard for users. It’s an early and great example of what’s coming.
A longer version of this interview is available to eMarketer Total Access clients only. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Total Access client, click here.
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