The Continued Rise of Digital in Health

Listen to article

Almost every business is a health business, whether that is Amazon moving into telehealth or Louis Vuitton making hand sanitizers

As we are coming out of the pandemic, we are seeing a dramatic shift across all industries reevaluating their offerings through the lens of their health impact.

At Publicis Health (PH), our motto is, “Engagement is medicine.” It is underpinned by the belief that providing the right information is as important to improving patient outcomes as research and development, especially in the era of misinformation and “fake news."

Our clients share that imperative with the ultimate goal of delivering the right information to the right person at the right time so that the end consumer can make informed decisions—and this is where I come in as Publicis Health’s recently appointed Chief Digital Platforms Officer. Building platforms (data, tech, people and process) that enable our clients to gain better insight of their customers and deliver on that imperative.

What value can a Chief Digital Platforms Officer play? I may be biased, but I see three key ways that someone in my role or a position comparable to mine can enhance a business.

Health in the Platform World

Almost every platform is evolving to have some essence of health, whether that is Apple, Google or traditional players such as CVS Health providing more vertically integrated platform and services. Part of my role is to work with the rest of PH leadership to observe these trends and their implications to our network and clients, and help formulate strategies for growth. This can include everything from acquisitions, to partnerships and investments, to standing up our own platforms and capabilities. Some recent examples include the role of machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), precision media with the loss of 3rd Party cookies, and now Web 3.0 / Metaverse. For example, to solve for the loss of 3rd Party cookies, with the added complexity of our health regulatory environment, I helped tailor Epsilon’s Identity and Media platform (PeopleCloud), and created PeopleCloud Rx, which is the only healthcare-focused, identity-driven engagement platform for better business and patient outcomes.

Modernizing Marketing

There has been accelerated migration to digital and virtual channels for customers to consume information and engage with brands. As we move into the “new normal,” our clients are consolidating more of their analog and digital customer journeys into one integrated experience. For example, consider physicians. Since COVID-19, many prefer fewer face-to-face interactions, and as a result, our clients are evolving their sales channels. They are shifting from reps who go out in the field to talk to health care professionals (HCPs), into the “Digital Rep of the Future.” They are doing so by arming their field reps with the right data, insights and decisions to maximize the value from Rep-HCP interactions, and augmenting the sales channel with digital communications such as e-mails, especially for HCPs that Reps aren’t able to reach. All of this requires new and better integrated digital capabilities and new ways of working.

I work with our clients in shaping their digital vision, defining the strategy and roadmap (data, tech, people and process) to achieve it, and finally, partnering with our network to deliver on that vision.

Overcoming Shiny Object Syndrome

Innovation is essential for business success, and it happens at a much more rapid pace than companies can usually adapt to. There are usually not enough resources to chase every new “shiny object.”

Synthesizing the innovation that matters, and driving adoption and application, helps organizations to stay competitive and deliver incremental value. Take machine learning, for example: while there are many applications in healthcare, there is still a lot of foundational work around data and business readiness that needs to be in place to truly harness the power of ML. For one of our large pharma clients that was keen on leveraging ML for its marketing and sales channel, before taking on a large enterprise program, it was important for us to align cross-functional stakeholders on what it will truly take to scale such a program. We conducted a 90-day pilot to demonstrate the value ML can bring to the organization, while at the same time gaining cross-functional alignment and defining a phased roadmap to achieve their vision. In this way, we balanced innovation with business readiness.

Ethos of the road ahead and implications to industry as a whole

We are in the midst of some substantial changes in healthcare with tech giants such as Apple, Google making serious strides in health, digital world shifting from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, and our clients making digital a core part of their business strategies. I am excited to be part of this journey, partnering with great minds and unlocking growth, all while delivering on our ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes.