Healthcare Social Linkups
In September 2008, Informa Telecoms & Media conducted the annual Mobile Content & Services Industry Survey. Of the 307 telecom industry professionals who participated in the survey, 71% believed that social networking & community services will have a significant impact on driving P2P uptake of mobile content. Healthcare services can therefore be benefited using social networking to doctor to doctor, doctor to patient and patient to patient social networking.
Will this work?
Mobile operators and service providers are increasingly integrating social networking and community features in their value added services. For example, if we look at some of the popular mobile music services such as MusicStation, Cyloop Mobile, Shazam, Bebo Mobile and Vodafone Music Reporter; they all include community features. Prima-facie looks like it will work for Healthcare based Information as well, Reason being:
- “Word of Mouth” (as in endorsement of a particular treatment, mode of treatment, prevention or home based healthcare) spread is high in healthcare related business. Also, there is a preponderance of data that confirms that word of mouth remains the most trusted form of advertising across the globe. According to Allbusiness.com, Vision of People Picking Providers Based on Price and Quality Information Far from Reality (So here comparisons database don’t work), Word of mouth is the most effective marketing for medical practices. Specialists generate new patients mostly from physician referrals.
- Spending Power (See todays news Economic Times- INDIA will get back to 9% growth by September 2010- reiterating the Centre’s commitment to create more spending power in the hands of people especially growth of rural India. This will call for convenience and better health standards. Success will hence be particularly in the area of health awareness schemes and training health care professionals. Mobile phones are generally affordable and available to the population at large, making them more accessible than computers and far more cost-effective than hospital beds.
- Encouragement and Assurance Say a doctor recommends an insulin pump for a newly diagnosed diabetic, here the patient has no idea what that is, so it can be scary for him. In that case, going to a handy mobile community and being in contact with others who have the same thing happening to them can be reassuring.( SMS to encourage medication- SIMpill is another example of SMS, being used to help combat diseases. This time it is about making sure people take their medication. It was used during a 2007 trial in
to ensure people took their medication for TB. In the pilot, 90% of patients complied with their TB medication compared to 22% to 60% take-up without it.) South Africa
- Support Groups - According to the Jupiter Research report, 17 percent of "online health connectors" said they used the Internet "to get emotional support" for a health condition. Mobile based social networking would help connect patients to each other through disease-specific online communities, virtual support groups, real-time Web chats, and other features whereby patients share experiences and advice, and even rate their doctors.
Value Added Services in Healthcare
Customized knowledge services company Boston Analytics forecasts a 50 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in India's Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS) industry that will lead to a US$348.8 million market by 2009.Timely convergence of a saturated mobile voice market, little government involvement, an emerging ecosystem and rich consumer demand will lead to rapid development and adoption of Healthcare VAS content within the country. Last year, the Government of India, through its enterprise -- Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) -- soft-launched third generation or 3G services in
Competitive Landscape of VAS