10 Insights on Healthcare

Updated: Jan 11, 2019

There are many ways to discover opportunities for innovation in the healthcare market. studiomem supports healthcare players to explore this potential and to design the future of healthcare in their specific market. Here are some of our insights to start with.

1. Design for behavior change

In almost all healthcare systems today, payers increasingly only pay for health outcomes. As such, designing behavioral interventions for better adherence and outcomes has become a way for new entrants to disrupt the market. Start-ups like Omada Health for example design new, comparatively low investment behavioral interventions that significantly improve patient outcomes for chronic, preventable diseases. Such programs combine behavior change around diet, coaching and digital connectivity. In some cases, patients already diagnosed with diabetes can reverse their diagnosis and avoid insulin therapy, thereby also saving payer systems exponentially. Designing for behavior change at a variety of touchpoints is a specialty of ours. What are you doing to create change in behavior?

2. The business of managing personal data

Most developed countries have highly evolved laws and protections on sharing health data. However, in the much-hyped industry of wearable fitness trackers, there is growing disillusion about who controls personal data. Recently the Quantified Self community initiated measures to force companies to allow users to reclaim the personal data that they have generated themselves (calories, steps, sleep patterns, etc.) It is surprisingly difficult to determine how such data is currently used by companies. New start-ups such as Human API and TicTrac are developing APIs and services to enable people to integrate and control their personal health data that might have been collected across a variety of platforms. How are you empowering users to manage their own data?

3. New services instead of blockbusters

Innovation in pharma is increasingly coming from service propositions around compounds, which serve as important brand extensions. New, innovative services often aim not only at patients and physicians, but also at nurses or family members. These agents in the ecosystem of care have been traditionally unaddressed, although they have a significant impact on therapy outcomes. While traditional blockbusters keep falling off the proverbial patent cliff, new services around compounds add more stickiness, higher value and better outcomes to branded offerings. What are you doing about designing new services?

4. New commercial models

In the established single-payer systems in Northern Europe and now also in the US only measurable treatment success is paid. So, for big companies designing for patient outcomes in a single-payer environment is one of the most significant commercial challenge for years to come. We see big companies going with leaner sales staff and use more budget to build efficient interventions in collaboration with their single-payer customers. We have even seen companies cut outcome-based risk-sharing deals with governments. It is time to build innovative commercial propositions. What are you doing about designing innovative commercial models across different markets?

5. Different doctors treat risk differently

Having spent a lot of time talking to doctors and putting it simply, there are basically two types of doctors regarding their risk assessment: Those who perceive the most risk in new, not yet proven therapies and those who perceive the most risk in an unsatisfying outcome without the newest therapies. There are opportunities within the design of new commercial models and interventions acknowledging the fundamental differences between physicians’ mindset. What are you doing about designing for physicians’ individual mindsets?

6. Challenging the throughput model

Most doctors follow a business model that requires them to see one patient with each passing minute. Both doctors and patients aspire to a more meaningful interaction than simply sprinting through protocols and treatment algorithms. The Internet of Things offers ways to capture and visualize data related to patient behaviors and vitals to save time for higher quality doctor-patient interaction in the future. Other innovations include office management and automation of repetitive tasks through new services for physicians. We are only at the beginning of creating new possibilities for a more humane care.  What are you doing about challenging the throughput model?

7. More lifestyle, less stigma

As the developed world ages, baby boomers are recasting “illness” into degrees of “wellness.” The normalization of diabetes, which continues to rise, could be perceived in the future as something more akin to having freckles. This normalization has also resulted in a glut of phone apps for blood glucose measurement that look and feel more like lifestyle accessories than traditional medical equipment. At the point of care, the lines between healthcare and lifestyle are also blurring. There are new resort and hospital hybrids all over Europe and the Middle East. Travel companies targeting a wealthier ageing clientele offer traveling caregivers on their holiday tours. We see a growing proliferation of more elegant and less intrusive “medical” interventions everywhere. How are you designing treatment options that fit into patients‘ lifestyles?

8. Designing for personalized medicine

The emerging field of molecular diagnostics promises tests to determine which treatment is most suitable for my body and my individual illness. While such tests are still in their infancy, the field is rapidly developing. Predictive measures promise to disrupt current treatment algorithms in the future. Molecular diagnostics is poised to become the engine room of personalized medicine. There is a need to design clear propositions, packaging and other touchpoints for the new individual offerings. What are you doing to create personalized medicine?

9. Jugaad: learning from the emerging economies

There are some brilliant, low cost medical interventions practiced in the developing world that could teach how to reduce healthcare cost with alternative interventions in the developed world. The book “Jugaad Innovation” explains how emerging economies are pioneering the art of 'frugal engineering,' and how Western companies can likewise do more with less. Jugaad is a Hindi word meaning roughly “overcoming harsh constraints by improvising an effective solution using limited resources”. What are you doing about using Jugaad to inspire lean, disruptive innovation?

10. Competing on pain management

Propositions around painless treatments have become differentiators in private care. Minimizing pain and anxiety will be an important competitive advantage for the ageing baby-boomer patient population. This is particularly true in managing chronic diseases. However, we have seen the consequences of the random, over-prescription of opiates – particularly in the US. This has resulted in addiction and provided gateways into black market opiates, even among affluent patient populations. How will you responsibly balance the need for pain management with the unintended side-effects of dopamine?

By studiomem

Revised: December 2017

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