Monday, July 14, 2008

eHealth conversations


There is a lot of talk going on regarding eHealth these days. Hence, it will be appropriate to explore the eHealth frontier, and try and understand how it will impact societal life, patients, and pharmaceuticals. Here is a great write-up on eHealth CLICK HERE.

eHealth refers to the application of information technology, and technological developments in electronics, to healthcare science. For eg., the internet itself is a part of the eHealth ecosystem. However, given the ever increasing penetration of mobile phones - this communication gadget is seen increasingly as a tool for healthcare. There are reports that Revolution Health and the Google 2.0 initiatives will tap in to mobile phone technologies to create value in healthcare.

One of the high impact areas of eHealth will be on EVIDENCE BASED MEDICINE. The revolution here will be, access to therapy evidence to one and all, and sharing of knowledge in real time fashion. Google's initiative - Google Health and Microsoft with its Healthvault, can go beyond digitizing medical records to capturing knowledge for the practice of evidence based medicine. The result will be integration of healthcare knowledge: beyond the silos of allopathy, ayurveda, herbalism, and the other systems of healthcare. Because, ultimately the patient or consumer wants safe, effective and value-for-money healthcare.

The growth of evidence based medicine in eHealth platforms has significant implications to pharmaceutical marketing. No longer will the doctors as healthcare opinion builders hold complete sway on the consumption of pharmaceutical products. The informed patient will take decisions in consultation and collaboration with medical and healthcare practitioners. The rise of collaborative medical care and healthcare is imminent, and eHealth will inevitably strengthen OTX (over-the-counter plus prescription) and OTC (over-the-counter) brands.

The growth of case study analysis
The impact of eHealth can maximize case study documentation and analysis. When herbal and medical products lack in-depth clinical studies, case studies can play a critical role in helping informed patients and healthcare professionals to try and understand the behavior of specific herbs or other healthcare products, and thereby add value to the decision making process. In fact, today, the benefits of pranayama are being boosted through case study documentation by Swami Ramdev.
Case study analysis for OTC healthcare products
One of the interesting benefits of IT and eHealth to society, is the ability to create platforms to share and document knowledge, and in turn, this can add to the word-of-mouth regarding product benefits. Let us take a hypothetical example: Horlicks.
Let us say (HYPOTHETICALLY) Horlicks creates a web based platform: ! This website encourages end consumers, and other healthcare professionals to share their experiences of the benefits of Horlicks in real case studies. This web site can also, let us say, up load photos, videos, and other material that document specific case studies (from families, medical colleges, pediatricians, and other institutions) of how Horlicks has helped a patient recover from illness, or a child grow taller, or how Mother's Horlicks has helped a mother-to-be and so on. One can integrate alerts and other short messages to interested recipients from the web to the mobile phone too. The critical impact of this approach of harnessing currently available eHealth approches (such as the above hypothetical eg.,) is that it increases the knowledge related to the wellness aspect and the product. And knowledge sharing creates ideas, images, and HOPE. This will market the product further through connecting people, opinion builders, and strengthening word-of-mouth. The buzz of a brand depends on the knowledge associated with a brand and application of this knowledge.

Thus, with the increased penetration of the internet, PCs, and the mobile phones, we can expect to see accelerated changes in the healthcare sector due to the eHealth dimension. THE BEST IMPACT OF EVIDENCE BASED CASE STUDY WILL BE TO INCREASE TRUST BETWEEN BRANDS AND TARGET AUDIENCES. I can hear IBM saying, we are ideating - Not Talking!! (seen the latest IBM ads on ideating?!) Thnks for reading this blogpost, please scroll down and read all other blogposts, by clicking on older posts, where necessary.

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