Christine Slocumb is the President of Clarity Quest Marketing, one of the top healthcare technology marketing agencies in the U.S.
Here she discusses how healthcare technology has evolved and shares the trends she's following in the field. Read on:
Tell us about ClarityQuest. What services do you offer? Who should be using them?
Clarity Quest is a full-service marketing agency offering marketing strategy, budgeting, branding, public relations and tactical lead generation campaign execution. We work with firms as small as well-funded startups through large enterprises in the healthcare, life sciences and technology verticals.
How has healthcare technology evolved since you started your career? To what do you attribute this change?
Our agency has been in business for 15 years and for the first 10 years we saw the most demand for general technology and medical device marketing. In the last five years, with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its digitization mandates, the number of healthcare technology has skyrocketed.
Also, five years ago health systems and practices were afraid of cloud-based EHR and practice management, and now it's becoming much more widely accepted.
Why is it an exciting time to be involved with marketing healthcare technology?
Our agency is never bored - we learn something new every day. Healthcare technology is such a broad area that marketing must be customized to each target company and persona. For example, Facebook works for marketing to patients, but not to health systems in most cases. Marketing technology to behavioral health clinics is entirely different than promoting to ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs).
What are the most interesting innovations you're following in healthcare technology today? How will they change the way practices do business?
There are some fascinating technologies being developed, such as predictive analytics, enhanced speech to text, real-time location services (RTLS) and patient safety.
For practices, we're seeing much more development around templates to comply with state-specific HIE mandates. We're also witnessing innovations in document management, fax to digital conversion (at last), and EHR continuity and backups.
What are some ways you've observed medical practices using healthcare technology to improve efficiency and communication? How is it benefiting patients?
Having access to technology on mobile devices is certainly making a difference when clinicians are on call. Once a physician has mobile access to EHR data, when she's on call she can provide a better experience to a patient calling in with an urgent issue because she can access the patient record.
Installing integrated patient record and billing systems is improving efficiencies in practices. Believe it or not, many practices still have systems that don't talk to one another even within the practice.
Finally, we recently on boarded a client that offers a mobile app that shows coverage of every drug under every payer plan in every state. There's nothing more frustrating that going to a pharmacy to fill a prescription only to find your insurance doesn't cover it. With access to mobile formulary apps, this problem will be a thing of the past.
What is the future for healthcare technology? How will we be using these products to improve our overall health?
On the patient side, people in their 40s and 50s are very tech savvy and are going to be very comfortable using devices to monitor health. Devices like Fitbit and Apple watch are just the start. Look for mobile-enabled, self-testing, health-related games and definitely more telemedicine.
On the health system side, watch for innovations that decrease wait times in the ED and practices since patient satisfaction will be paramount to reducing leakage and increased reimbursements.
What advice can you offer medical practices on educating their patients/clients about taking advantage of things like EHR?
Your oldest patients might not be technically-literate, but there's a good chance their children or caregivers are. If the patient gives permission, allow family members and/or caregivers access to patient portals, text-based appointment reminders, etc.
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