A new report from eMarketer titled “Mobile Healthcare Marketing: Prescriptions for Health and Wellness on the Go,” takes a deep look at the impact (and potential impact) of mobile devices on personal health and well-being.
From a consumer-user perspective, mobile health initiatives – apps, tracking services and the like – not only offer practical and useful tools, but they also lead to a sense of responsibility and empowerment – essentially, a way to maintain or improve one’s health.
Beyond the consumer benefits, it’s apparent that mobile-enabled healthcare also has the opportunity to impact provider decisions and best practices. It can also help shape the way we as communications professionals devise healthcare marketing and public relations strategies for our clients.
Promise has not been without challenge, though. Regulation, privacy issues and a lack of mobile standards have stalled major advancements forward. “There have been experiments with mobile programs,” said Victoria Petrock, eMarketer research analyst and author of the new report. “But many efforts to market and deliver large-scale healthcare via mobile have, to date, been siloed and ineffectively measured.”
On that note, to address the regulation issue, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this summer released draft guidance on mobile medical applications. They’re seeking public comment and it will be interesting to see how this guidance evolves.
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Despite the challenges, let’s take a look at two key insights from eMarketer:
Smartphones lead the pack: a survey of mobile health developers and marketers around the world by research2guidance finds that smartphones will offer the best mobile health business opportunities over the next several years.
Mobile health usage varies by demographic: according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, more men than women used apps to track their health in 2010. In addition, Black and Hispanic consumers, those who lived in urban areas and adults 18 to 29 also showed higher-than-average use of the mobile web and apps for healthcare.
For healthcare public relations professionals or just public relations professionals in general, this ties back nicely to some key fundamentals of PR strategy: know your audience and know the best channels in which to reach them.
What are your thoughts on mobile healthcare? Do you see a place for it in the work you do or in your personal life?