Why ad tech is just what the doctor ordered
Roughly 17 percent of the U.S. GDP is currently spent on healthcare. Modern healthcare is a massive and complex system. While costs are growing at a slower rate than they were in prior decades, controlling cost remains a key question for all stakeholders—providers, insurers, and consumers. As we move past open enrollment season—our third since Obamacare took effect—providers and insurance companies increasingly look toward employing data analytics and technology as key ways to lower the cost of coverage. Despite the billions spent on tools like electronic medical records, American health technology still has a 1.0 feel. How can healthcare providers and insurers accelerate their adoption of modern marketing technologies and join the 21st century?
Here’s how ad tech can make significant contributions toward bending the cost curve of healthcare in three distinct areas: prevention, diagnosis, and access.
Prevention – The more we digitize healthcare and insurance, the more data we have available about the consumer. The more actionable data we have the better job we can do in the one-to-one mitigation of healthcare risk through prevention. In the last couple of years an entire consumer industry of wearable tech, Fitbits and Apple Watches are increasingly entrenched and like many other consumer products, these devices are carefully packaged as part of a lifestyle and image. The comparatively low risk consumers are the very ones that are incented with discount gym memberships and that the insurance companies find attractive. Some of the prevention formula has to do with matching the right incentives to the right insurer group. The other is using digital healthcare marketing as the most cost effective way to reach the right consumer with the right incentive.
Diagnostic – The key to improved diagnostic outcomes can be achieved with more access to actionable data from the healthcare providers, patient profiles, and their diagnostic outcomes. Historical public health data, localized to specific zip codes (or even clusters as small as 200 people that will safeguard consumers against privacy concerns), can be used to optimize better healthcare outcomes at lower costs. Some examples:
- • Providers can use public health data to make better local staffing decisions to address the need for certain specialties that are under-indexed in certain communities.
- • With doctors being accused of being vulnerable to undue influence from pharmaceutical representatives, insurers can counter costly influence peddling by reporting on prescriber data and drug distribution patterns supported with the cost of generic versus brand name drugs. Pharmaceutical companies can use the public data on healthcare providers, specialties, and drug distribution to tune their healthcare marketing strategies to the market need.
- • Clinical trials can be targeted to the demographic profiles that fit the study and the communities where a specific treatment is at its most acute.
Access – Access is the single largest challenge for health insurance companies — the balancing act between (still existing) mandates to offer coverage regardless of costly pre-existing conditions while maximizing profit by managing risk in the insurance pool. Ad tech measurement and targeting capabilities are one of the smaller tools in the toolbox that insurers need in order to excel at this challenge. Ad Tech targeting and use of data is key to defining and managing customer acquisition risk pools. The ability to segment potential ratepayers into risk profiles that can be managed to the most profitable outcome will allow insurers to do a better job of providing coverage and avoiding the bankruptcies that have plagued Obamacare carriers.
Semcasting has been an industry leader in audience building, onboarding, and qualification since 2009. We built our own Medical Healthcare Data Suite (MHD), supported by a patented predictive modeling technology. Our IP onboarding and qualification technology — Smart Zones — is backed by an initial patent granted in 2014 and a continuation patent granted in 2016 for device analytics and attribution in support of the Internet of Things. Semcasting’s Smart Zones technology is unique in that it allows for far more granular onboarding and targeting when compared to other IP-Geo services — being several thousand times more accurate than a zip-code on average.