Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Originally Published June 14th 2019
Healthcare Must Be Fan Worthy
I was intrigued by the joint-venture announcement from Comcast and Independent Blue Cross to bring healthcare into the home through traditional entertainment devices such as TV and smartphones. This unlikely duo may seem odd at first, but I suggest it’s actually a sneak peek into the future of Direct To Consumer (DTC) healthcare. As consumers, we have more options in healthcare than ever as technology continues to become increasingly more enmeshed in our daily lives.Health care must evolve into an experience worth repeating. It
must become fan worthy. It must become entertainment.
Big Tech’s Bet
Comcast is not alone in its pursuit of healthcare. Big tech companies, with established consumer products, are applying the principles of digital engagement and user-friendly tech, to the overwhelming nightmare that is US healthcare.
Some of these companies
Apple Watch’s new advance health and fitness capabilities,
Facebook’s recent launch of health support groups,
Amazon’s Alexa’s recent HIPPA compliance.
These companies have succeeded at engaging consumers with their tech and content offerings, yet will that engagement transfer to health? Can they turn patients into fans?
As DTC healthcare continues to provide consumer products, the opportunities to build fans of healthcare enormous. But what would this look like?
It will look a lot like entertainment consumer products.
Exercise While Being Entertained
For instance, Pokemon GO has made headlines for increasing activityand contributing to public health amongst a variety of populations. Did Pokemon Go’s publisher, Niantic Inc., intend to create a health product? Probably not. Instead they created an interactive, character-driven entertainment property; a game that allowed players to immerse themselves in the story and world of Pokemon. The healthy outcomes were a fortuitous byproduct of great entertainment. Since then, Niantinc Inc. has seized the opportunityof healthy entertainment by creating integrations for Apple Health and Google Fit. But Niantinc’s initial success did not come from the health tech; it comes from the characters, stories and fans of Pokemon. The value is in the entertainment.
As Niantic extends its entertainment offerings, their mission has expanded to include “exercise” as a key requisite of their games. I am eager to see how players react to their newest release Harry Potter: Wizards Unite!I believe Niantic will continue to create character-driven experiences that encourage players to explore their world and effortlessly stay fit.
I am deeply energized by the great work done by Niantic, but I know that we can do much more.
DTC healthcare’s user-friendly technology and digital engagement will surely improve health outcomes. Yet the full potential for DTC health cannot be realized until we start creating experiences worth repeating, until we create entertainment with health as a core by-product.