• Ari Mostov

What if Disney did Healthcare?



What if Disney did healthcare?

I spent three years asking health executives this very question. Many found the question intriguing, but impossible to realize. Why would the most beloved brand in the world be crazy enough to take on healthcare?


Well, why not?


This past spring, Phillips and Disney announced a partnership to bring Disney’s beloved characters into the MRI experience. The program is being launched in six pediatric units across Europe and is Disney’s first foray into clinical research.

One of the most beloved brands in the world, Disney’s prowess stems from their incredible storytelling capabilities. Disney has cracked the code for audience affinity and brand loyalty, using character-driven narratives to create generations of fans who can interact with their stories whenever and however they want.


By leveraging its most valuable asset — characters — Disney is breaking down the walls of health stigma and siloization, helping create a new health experience that could transform the way we interact with our health.

No longer will healthcare be scary, alienating and disempowering. Instead, our favorite Disney characters will incorporate health into our lives through interactive storytelling, innovative consumer experiences and character driven narratives.



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While Phillips and Disney work together to make MRIs a more tolerable experience, here are some ways Disney could expand its reach in health:


Storylines

Media representation is a powerful tool, one that Disney understands well. Disney’s show Doc MacStuffins is frequently praised for its positive health behavior modeling and accessible, empowering storylines for preschool age kids. Hopefully, Disney is expanding its slate to include more characters and stories set in the health space to help demystify complex health topics, like the immune system and chronic conditions.




Health Visits

There’s been a bit of discussion about what healthcare can learn from theme parks, but beyond experience design, there’s a massive opportunity for Disney’s characters to be a part of our health visits. Would kids be more excited to get their booster shots if they were administered by Elsa from Frozen? Would we be willing to withstand long wait times if there was an interactive exhibit on The Mandalorian in the waiting room? I believe in a future where our visits to the doctor’s office are a lot less anxiety inducing and a lot more enthralling if we’re able to incorporate our favorite characters into the mix.



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Medical Devices and Procedures

While there are some consumer health products featuring our favorite Disney characters (Moana toothbrush, anyone?) I believe we will start seeing more medical devices and procedures being reimagined to be more character driven and a part of our favorite worlds. Trade in your boring inhaler for the same model used by Buzz Lightyear. Or maybe the next time you get an Xray, you can hang out with Miguel from Coco in VR.



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The possibilities are endless, and although these ideas are fun to tinker with, we can only measure their value based on their ability to improve health outcomes.


Will Disney and Phillips’ bet pay off? We’re still waiting on results for that one, but if any company has what it takes to transform healthcare into a more engaging, consumer friendly experience, it’s going to be Disney.

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