Updated on 13 September 2013
Patient care programs acroos the world are incresingly adopting a personalized approach to deliver services by using EMRs, telemedicine, social media, SMS and mobile apps
Key tenets pervade the way in which healthcare ecosystems are rapidly changing: quality, outcomes, cost (efficiencies and return on investment), and accessibility. Whether a country has a nationalized/universal healthcare program (Japan, UK, Taiwan), privatized healthcare program (US), or hybrid model (Singapore), key stakeholders are all faced with addressing fundamental issues - driving down cost, making healthcare more accessible, finding ways to improve patient outcomes, and ultimately improving the quality of care for their citizens.
There are many global communication trends that could be better utilized in the Asia Pacific region; and, while the region is often considered to be conservative and averse to change, it will begin coming into its own, particularly in the digital space. Pharmaceuticals, governments, non-government organizations (NGOs) and health institutions around the region are looking to become more versatile in order to capitalize on these trends and to ensure healthy messages reach and influence the right audiences.
One of the first ways that this will happen is through the 'normalization of disease.' Stigma is the enemy of understanding and as such, we can expect more direct messaging through social networks, SMSes, and mobile applications that make people consider diseases or topics that are traditionally taboo, such as mental illness or obesity. By communicating openly about them and ensuring that terminology is not filled with medical jargon, the idea is that people will be more open to discussing these issues with their family, friends and healthcare providers. Digital technology, particularly mobile and social platforms, will allow this to happen in a familiar setting with a veil of anonymity and foster people to connect in the real world around shared ideas.
The trend towards mobile communications has not been lost on the healthcare industry. Mobile apps that can read a person's pulse or blood sugar levels are already gaining traction in the US. Expect to see more regionally relevant, multi-language apps and services that help people to live healthy lifestyles 'on the go.' What's more is that the personalized messaging power of mobile and social media fits well with the medical trend of personalized healthcare. Expect more digital health solutions that speak to patients' direct needs and are linked to targeted therapies.