By Kristin Villiotte, Vice President, Healthcare
Healthcare in the metaverse? To many, that sounds like something out a sci-fi movie, conjuring up images of robots administering medication or avatars of doctors dispensing automated virtual advice.
In reality, we’re already living in a version of the metaverse. Metaverse is simply a term to describe the evolution of the digital world into one that is even more immersive and interconnected. While perhaps best understood in the context of gaming and virtual reality, the metaverse is quickly becoming an important space for healthcare companies.
Digital health is bigger than ever
It’s a great time for healthcare brands and all of us as consumers of healthcare. People are taking a more active role than ever in their health and wellbeing. Conversations around public health are at the forefront (thanks to COVID-19).
In step with this, the digital health marketplace has exploded. Hundreds of organizations — from healthcare IT, biotech and life sciences companies to tech giants like Amazon, Apple and Google — are expanding their offerings. They’re bringing to market new options to better detect, diagnose and treat diseases and to help people stay well.
With seven in 10 Gen Z and Millennials interested in interacting within the metaverse, it’s a natural next step to make healthcare more personal and engaging. As these generations (who already spend hours each day on social media) age, they will have greater need for healthcare services. They’ll expect many to be available wherever and whenever they need them.
Metaverse healthcare communications opportunities
Product differentiation is important to help consumers understand their choices and why they should select one healthcare option over another. But even the coolest healthcare tech or most cutting-edge services or therapies won’t generate sustainable relevance if the consumer doesn’t see how it will help them or a loved one improve their health and wellbeing. For many brands, a social and emotional connection with their audience can outweigh the “tech” in the long run.
Authentic, meaningful connections with patients and consumers will be key in the metaverse. Healthcare companies will need to cut through the noise with compelling, value-adding communications that address the personal experiences and needs of their audience members.
There are endless experiential healthcare opportunities that fit those criteria, including:
- Simulations: Providers using artificial intelligence and augmented reality to better visualize how a patient may respond to a particular treatment in a clinical trial
- Revolutionized treatments: Patients experiencing therapeutic services in non-threatening settings, such as a meeting with a mental healthcare provider as a digital avatar, or consider the first META-tation centers and mental health NFTs
- Hands-on learning: Medical students using virtual reality and augmented reality to train for surgical procedures before encountering their first patient in a hospital
- Community & advocacy: From disease awareness campaigns to more immersive communities for information exchange among patient groups
Multichannel healthcare communications
Healthcare’s digital transformation is all around us. Look at telemedicine making it easier to access specialized care, wearables helping us take a more proactive role in monitoring our health and achieving wellness goals, or AI built into imaging technologies to help clinicians deliver more precise care.
Healthcare communicators should embrace the metaverse as an opportunity to transform how they are connecting with their audiences; to make those interactions more meaningful and dynamic. The key to success is ensuring that all communications are rooted in empathy and taking place on the right channels. There are three key considerations for forging these connections in a multichannel world:
- Data and insights to uncover the needs, wants and motivations of an audience and to understand the communications channels with which they are most likely to engage
- Personalized communications that consider how the consumer lives, works and plays will resonate more deeply than a one-size-fits-all eblast or text message
- Ongoing engagement via channels consumers regularly use is important for fostering trust and loyalty in the brand and its offerings
By understanding consumers’ individual health journeys, how they live, and how and where they like to access support, communicators can develop content and experiences that will resonate on a personal, emotional level and offer services that ultimately may help improve health outcomes. The metaverse will soon be a part of that.
If you want to discuss how we can help your health tech brand communicate effectively with your target audiences, get in touch.
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