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PART II: Leading the Way Into Digital Relationships

Session: Footprints in the digital space. From following to leading our health customers


Key Session Takeaways
• Understand and address human expectations in order to offer the best possible customer experience
• Examine the application of digital tools, technology, and data that reveal the human customer journey
• See how meaningful innovation is changing the experience today and the trends for the near future

Rob Rothschild, SVP, Strategy Director, MRM//McCann

Footprints in the digital space began with a serious look at what customers expect in the digital space, whether from Amazon, Uber, or the pharma industry. Rob Rothschild, SVP, Strategy Director, MRM//McCann, examined the application of innovative digital tools, technology, and data that reinforce the human customer journey and in fact change the customer’s experience in a meaningful way.

He jumped into this heady topic with a look at what these innovative technologies are, how we can give them meaning within the healing space, and what we can do to bring these new technologies forward to the consumers – from developing the product or service to marketing strategies to fulfilling promises that create meaningful relationships.

We’re in the business of healing; we’re no longer in the business of manufacturing and distributing products. It’s not just about the physician or the medicine. Pharma healthcare is a process – a promised experience – that ultimately helps healing.”

5th Generation Wireless Systems

5G, the fifth generation of wireless networking technology, aims to increase data communication speeds by up to three times compared to its predecessor, 4G. Just talking about 5G comes with a lot of promises to go from fast, to faster, to fastest. But what does that mean to the patient or physician? What promises are being met and experiences enhanced?

Rothschild offered one of many examples where 5G – with a little help from AI – is getting set to radically change healthcare as we know it. The case is set in Columbus, Ohio, where city officials harnessed 5G technology to develop a pilot for a specialized transportation service that would help connect expectant moms to healthcare.


Sensors, too, have officially made an imprint in the health space. Consider the FDA’s 2017 approval of the world’s first smart pill, with a sensor inside that tracks a patient’s drug intake. “It’s being used for patients with major depressive disorder and schizophrenia, since these are the patients least likely to have the cognitive skills to know whether or not they’ve taken their medication,” Rothschild emphasized.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence(AI) is today being used in conjunction with Twitter to scan tweets and identify with 90 percent accuracy whether or not the tweeter is suffering from a bipolar disorder. “This doesn’t gather names, but it does help us target tweeters with information and drive them to a next-best action,” Rothschild said.

Digital Language

How does digital language have meaning in the health space? “Studies told us that the brain processes information six and a half times faster and considerably better when visuals are present. So now we understand context,” Rothschild explained. And example that spotlights the importance of digital language is the Face with Tears of Joy emoji, which in 2015 earned Word of Year from Oxford Dictionaries – the first time in history a visual earned top spot. For the pharma industry, Rothschild said, “that means we need to figure out how to write safety information in advertising in this kind of visual language.”

Voice Technology

Voice technology is here to stay, and it’s only going to get stronger, Rothschild stressed. “Within two years, 30 percent of all web browsing sessions will be done by voice and without an actual web browser. We also predict that 85 percent of our interactions with a company will be managed without a human being. This goes back to our application of machine learning, or AI, which will work with voice technology to help us give customers a faster and better experience.”

Voice technology’s importance is expanding daily.

Voice is already influencing healthcare. An Israeli startup’s mHealth app is part of a new wave in digital health technology that mines speech and breathing patterns for COPD, heart disease, even mental health issues. This app can listen to the voice of COPD patients, as they talk on the phone, and identify if they’re improving, deteriorating, or on the verge of an exacerbation and alert them in advance.

These are digital experiences that patients and physicians expect. They’ve been trained, so to speak, by Disney, Amazon, and other major digital leaders to expect a level of experience that goes beyond just a product or service. “With this level of expectation, we need to break the human journey down and look for those missed human moments,” Rothschild said. “We need to see beyond transactions and begin to create something different – perhaps even bring in people to help create something that didn’t exist before.”

“We’re in the business of healing; we’re no longer in the business of manufacturing and distributing products. It’s not just about the physician or the medicine. Pharma healthcare is a process – a promised experience – that ultimately helps healing.”

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