Augmented Engagement: The Future of Pharma And Health Care Marketing

An article on Forbes offers a perspective on the benefits of AR in pharma and healthcare.  When people think of augmented reality (AR) in marketing, most gravitate toward the work that has been done by major consumer product companies, however, the author argues the biggest opportunity to impact people’s lives is through pharma and healthcare AR engagements.  According to a report from West, 91% of people with chronic diseases need help managing those diseases between doctor's appointments.

With the advancements in augmented reality and low-cost computing, healthcare providers (HCPs) and pharma companies alike can leverage interactive marketing methods to virtually reach the patient in their time of need with treatment and prevention information. Here are three ways in which AR marketing will enhance the patient experience in the future:

Dynamic Interactive Learning

Patients often struggle to grasp the complex concepts of their conditions in a 2D learning format. Printed materials and even video can lack the immersive engagement needed for a patient to truly understand the depths of their diseases and how best to treat them. By immersing the patient in AR content – such as looking at a skin condition overlaid on their actual arm through a pair of smart glasses – knowledge becomes ingrained because the patient is involved in the learning. In addition to learning about the condition, the patient can practice treatment options with augmented reality. For instance, the patient can walk through the application of a topical ointment overlaid on their arm in real time. This reduces errors in treatment and improves patient confidence.

Prosthetics And Implant Virtual Experiences

It can be unnerving for a patient to deal with a major catastrophe such as the loss of a limb. In these times, empathy and guidance are critical to the patient’s mental and physical well-being. One example of empathizing with patients and immersing them in the experience is to allow them to use AR to overlay prosthetics and other medical implants (facial or other) to understand the impact and outcome of such a life-changing event. This provides comfort by giving the patient a sense of control and choice over the outcome in an otherwise uncontrollable situation.

Product Visualization And Advertising

Patients can be overwhelmed when trying to understand and select the correct over-the-counter medication in a supermarket or pharmacy. Without knowing dietary restrictions, drug interaction information and side effects at a glance, they can make incorrect selections, leading to further medical issues. Soon, consumers will be able to interact with products in the store simply by looking at them through smart glasses or their phone. By providing consumers with an engaging and immersive experience, pharma companies are able to distinguish their brands and create stronger bonds and loyalty going forward.

In summary, the need for more immersive and self-sustaining patient engagement is top of mind for patients and HCPs. Rising healthcare and pharmaceutical costs coupled with the increase in chronic illnesses creates an opportunity for the emergence of a new model. As marketing professionals, we have a unique opportunity to leverage AR in our marketing and content strategies to drive deeper patient engagement while showing empathy, driving brand awareness and improving lives. With the improvement in smart glasses and immersive AR applications, the market is primed to evolve into this new mode of health care.

 

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