Technology On Our Bodies? Mom Will Decide.
5:33 PM Jun 12, 2013
By: Marcus Fischer, President / Chief Strategy Officer
It wasn’t too long ago that health fears of holding a cell phone to your head were in the news. Now we’re wearing things like Nike Fuel Band or Jawbone Flex to track our activity and sleep patterns. Sometimes it is functional, sometimes it is a fashion statement. Google Glass has brought this topic to a new level.
Either way, technology is getting closer and closer to our bodies. For now, it is early adopters who will drive the trend.
It is my opinion that adoption of technology on (or in) your body will first come in the health care space. Technology in your body already exists for more serious medical conditions and chronic care. A more mass adoption will come when we have technology on our bodies for non-urgent, day-to-day management of our health.
This kind of technology adoption will happen only if one person agrees to it: Mom.
Mom decides when to go to the doctor, when to go to urgent care centers and when to go to the hospital. For on-body technology to go from novelty to the norm, Mom will have to give it the green light.
So, what might mom be looking for?
Let’s face it, Mom is the primary nurse or doctor. The first diagnosis and remedy is made and administered by Mom. She asks the same first questions that any center asks: what is your temperature? Where does it hurt? How did it happen?
Technology can help with some of those questions. If Dr. Mom had some of those answers, she’d be able to assess the next step. Call a doctor? Visit an urgent care center? Whatever Mom decides, she’ll have key information at her fingertips to make decisions.
So, what can marketers do?
In any health care setting, trust is first and foremost. Trust is built on reputation, reliability, empathy and results. If you’re going to want to build a relationship with Dr. Mom, functionality comes first.
Technology is getting better at designing for human behavior. Experiences are being built with consumers in mind, not the engineers that built them. Ease of use, intuitiveness and simplicity are a must. Branding must come from the experience itself, not over-imposed.
Map out the user journey and help make decisions or recommendations. The first basic decision Dr. Mom has to make is whether or not to bring her child to an urgent care center. It quickly gets more complicated from there. Which center to go to? What is the wait time? Which center is closest? Can I make an appointment? What are the hours? What paperwork can get started now, so we don’t have to wait longer? What is the reputation of the different center options?
A good relationship isn’t one sided. This can’t just be Dr. Mom reaching out to urgent care centers. The centers themselves have to continue to reach out to Dr. Mom. Not only in times of need, but they need to become part of the community.
The health care industry will continue to be at the forefront of policy, budget and political discussions. There will be debates and controversy. Technology will inevitably come up on both sides as a solution or next step. As it does, it will continue to get closer and closer to our bodies, until it’s under our skin. It will take readings, measurements and make recommendations. But if it isn’t approved by, and designed to help Dr. Mom, it will remain a novelty.