Allison+Partners study: Storytellers ‘have a leading role’ in health tech adoption

The firm found opportunities and challenges in the march to ‘Health 4.0.’

Communicating positive healthcare outcomes is one takeaway from the report. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

NEW YORK: Amid fluctuations in funding for digital health startups over the last year, industry storytellers “have a leading role to play” to ensure health-tech adoption doesn’t fall to pre-pandemic levels, according to a study from Allison+Partners.

The agency conducted a survey of 500 U.S. senior employees and leaders at healthcare and health-tech companies and found that 57% say it will be possible in three to five years to achieve “Health 4.0.” It defines that term as an ideal future state in which technology connects our fragmented system and clears the path for a seamless patient experience. 

The report, entitled Health Tech's Post-Pandemic Pivot: Implications for Marketers and Communications Professionals, refers to the record levels of investment in digital health startups in 2021. However, funding in the space fell during the first two quarters of this year, according to a report from CB Insights.

Asked what types of technology will be most important in shaping the future of healthcare in the long term, respondents pointed more to backend tech (42%) or a combination of backend and frontend platforms (35%) than to consumer services (23%). 

Most respondents also predicted telemedicine and telehealth (63%), remote patient monitoring and diagnostics (55%) and automation (54%) will flourish amid the evolution to Health 4.0. Forty-nine percent also said the Internet of Things will be critical. 

The biggest hurdles to achieving Health 4.0, respondents to the Allison survey said, were legislative and regulatory policies; a lack of healthcare-specific tech talent and little understanding of advanced health technologies.

The respondents expected progress to come from telemedicine and telehealth, remote patient monitoring and diagnostics, automation and the “Internet of Things,” which describes connected devices.

The report also shared the agency’s conclusions on the role healthcare marketing and PR professionals can play in achieving Health 4.0, including with issues related to laws and regulation.

The report concluded that storytelling in a highly regulated industry like healthcare should help to address compliance. It also found a question on respondents’ minds is whether technology enables customers to improve healthcare’s infrastructure while staying in compliance with laws and regulations.

Companies should also explain how a technology connects with consumers and whether it has a direct or indirect impact. 

The report also determined that sound internal and external communications can help to address the talent shortage in healthcare. It noted that healthcare professionals want to feel a connection to a higher purpose, and companies should use communications that show positive health outcomes due to their healthcare technology. 

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