September 04, 2018 under
You would think most groundbreaking medical discoveries would happen within the industry. But with software development’s increasingly crucial role in the medical field, doctors, scientists, and researchers aren’t the only ones curing diseases. Technology and marketing experts are joining the fight to improve healthcare, proving they may be the key to unlocking medicine’s future and redefining how patients interact with their physicians.
Before we dive into how marketing technology is rewriting what's possible in healthcare, let's dig into how software is leading the charge to eradicate disease and improve lives. Several companies are applying their technical backgrounds to biomedical research, achieving unprecedented levels of innovation. Biotechnology company Illumina vastly reduced the cost of sequencing a human genome, benefiting pharmaceutical companies, universities, and a variety of research centers. Grail, Illumina’s spinoff company, uses these improvements to carry out blood testing for cancerous tumors.
It’s not just private companies using software design for an altruistic cause. Two researchers from UC Santa Cruz’s Jack Baskin School of Engineering finished the Human Genome Project before Celera Genomics, a private firm planning to patent hundreds of genes upon completion. UC Santa Cruz, like MIT and Princeton, doesn’t have a medical school. Yet when two of its core researchers completed this project, they not only achieved the same result as a company specializing in genomic research — they did so in a way that better served the public good by publishing their working draft to the internet, free for anyone to use, forever.
This "greater good" mentality isn't confined to medical breakthroughs. Healthcare marketers continue to seek digital ways to promote public health more efficiently and effectively, not to mention improve the customer journey. Knowledge is power, after all, and healthcare organizations are making a concerted effort to get this power to the people in new ways — from user-friendlier patient portals that contain a wealth of important data to compelling content that educates and inspires healthy living.
And none too soon. A CDW Healthcare survey found that fewer than 30 percent of patients score their healthcare providers' technology with an “A” grade, and nearly 90 percent cited negative experiences trying to access their health portals. Patients are demanding a more user-friendly experience.
Technology’s potential in the medical field isn’t just a supplement to existing projects. Software developers, in particular, are applying their expertise to a wide array of medical discoveries and are on the verge of epic breakthroughs.
CRISPR, for instance, may just be the landmark of the century. When used to its full capacity, CRISPR will allow individuals to make complex genetic modifications that have historically been impossible. This new process fine-tunes one of the body’s normal cycles involving DNA. Naturally, bacteria removes DNA threads carrying viruses, but with CRISPR, researchers can cut any threads they choose. CRISPR, then, could treat a variety of disorders and diseases and could pave the way for even more complex developments.
Technology also must adapt to how people use it. Voice searches, for instance, currently make up about 20 percent of all internet searches. By 2020, MD Connect predicts, there will be 200 billion voice searches per month. How many of those will be healthcare-related? Digital assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant will need to continue to sharpen their capabilities and learn from customer trends.
It's an exciting time, for sure.
Between upgrades to vaccines, better communication with patients, more effective cancer therapies, easier access to portals, and in-depth genetic enhancements, technological and marketing advancements are the bedrock of healthcare’s future. Experts are overhauling the traditional approaches to disease prevention and are expanding upon decades of previous work. The medical field has laid the groundwork for effective treatment. Now it’s time to maximize its benefits — for both the methods and the message.