A new report from advertising giant McCann reveals several insights on shifting attitudes toward health from an attitude shift away from doctors having the biggest impact on wellness to a stronger sense of personal responsibility. It also highlighted the role of data and medtech in our lives.
New wellness ecosystem: There is a shift under way from the doctor being central to our wellness to ourselves. Personal responsibility seems to be a growing mantra. And although we’re not exactly fending for ourselves in the near future, doctors will be only one aspect of our wellness. Pharmacists will play a bigger role; so will technology, from online diagnostic tools to healthcare social media.
Doctors have an important role to play: Although responsibility might be shifting away from doctors alone, they aren’t going to be replaced by technology anytime soon. And that’s not just because 21 percent of consumers surveyed as part of this report said that. If we didn’t need doctors why would telemedicine be such a huge area of expansion? It’s because examining a patient and talking to him, and addressing his concerns is an experience that requires more than a robot or interactive computer program to understand and process. Technology is imperfect because it’s designed by people who are also imperfect.
Brands could make wellness more fashionable: The most successful companies will design wellness into every aspect of what they do. The report uses L’Or al as an example, but it could easily apply to any healthcare company as well. It points out that by developing an app for the XBox 360, L’Or al consumers could customize their experiences and receive tailored beauty product recommendations as well as unique how-to content and video tutorials. Customized content is a key area that several healthcare entrepreneurs are developing.
Impact of data capture: The more data people have about their wellness the more in control they will feel of their lives and their ability to track when they get better and when they get sick. Data capture will make us more self-aware of our health. As Unity Stoakes, co-founder and partner for StartUp Health, observes that by holding onto a steering wheel of a car, data can be collected on your stress level and heart rate. “We’ll have a better understanding of what’s keeping us healthy and what’s making us sick.”
Optimal age for wellness? Leafing through the executive summary of The Truth About Wellness, my eyes landed on one insight that made me shiver: The optimal age to “achieve wellness” is 34. To be honest, that was news to me. It’s useful information that healthcare entrepreneurs can use in developing products for a younger audience to help them achieve the necessary goals to get to this point. But before I could get too depressed, it quickly added that the optimum age for achieving wellness in Turkey is 23 and in Japan it’s 44. Nice sensible country, Japan. It also points out that women can achieve wellness more easily than men. I’d say that’s debatable.