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Last week Alex (last name unknown) was just a regular teen working at Target after school. When someone snapped a photo of him in his red Target shirt and attached the hashtag #alexfromtarget, he became an internet superstar. Overnight.
To read the full article, click here.
Sarah Campbell insight: It seems silly, but as we see more and more of our clients in the healthcare space using Twitter, it’s important to remember how quickly information can spread via social media. A hashtag can be a powerful tool to help us get the word out about a campaign, it can serve as the organizational device behind a Twitter chat or provide a rallying cry for advocates. And sometimes we’ve even seen our hashtags trending. But at times, it can put us in the middle of a conversation that we don’t want or are not prepared to have which is why it’s so important to think carefully about how a hashtag might be used before we recommend it.
“Although most of us use our phones for things like texting, taking photos and playing games, there’s a movement out there to harness the power of that giant community of cellphone users to help people living the poorest countries on Earth. Developing countries don’t have the high-tech equipment needed to quickly diagnose Ebola, but they do have millions of cellphones. UCLA professor, Dr. Aydogan Ozcan, has a way to turn those phones into diagnostic centers that can be used thousands of miles away from labs with expensive hospital equipment. Ozcan has created software and hardware that turn cellphones into microscopes and diagnostic machines.” With this new technology, ordinary cell phones can become powerful microscopes. The new developments in 3D printing has allowed these devices to be affordable enough to send to third world countries to help stop the spread of diseases including HIV and Ebola. If a cellphone is equipped with a 3D printed microscope, doctors need not wait to see if their patient is responding to treatment. With the focus now on Ebola, Dr. Ozcan is working to develop a way to test bodily fluids for Ebola using the device.
Read the full article at Huffington Post.
Alyssa Kaden insight: In places where the latest technology is most necessary, it is sadly lacking. Technology like Ozcan’s further solidifies proof that we are on the brink of great technological advances in the healthcare industry through mobile devices. As cellphone technology continues to rapidly improve, we should expect to persistently see new developments in healthcare innovation on a global scale. Technological innovations such as Ozcan’s can still be a huge factor in slowing down the rapid spread of Ebola and other diseases. His technology may mean the difference between life and death for millions of people in developing countries that do not have access to high quality care and testing. Perhaps if Ozcan’s technology had already been in place at the start of the epidemic, the latest outbreak could have been better contained and the widespread panic in places such as the United States may not exist.
In a recent article for the Huffington Post, Rajeev Kapoor wrote about the emerging marketplace for digital health applications. His hypothesis is that the consumption and utility of digital health apps is set to skyrocket because of the convergence of a myriad of external factors. The thinking is that digital health apps have long been centered on the manufacturer and not the patient. As companies like Apple, Samsung and Google jump into the mix and provide the technology backbone for the data sharing, the time might be right for more powerful and meaningful digital health apps.
Read the full story on Huffington Post.
Chris Iafolla insight: I agree with Rajeev’s take – mostly. Apple, Samsung, and Google (among others) are making it easier to create digital health applications that fit into a person’s life. Notice that in the previous sentence I used the word person and not patient. This is exactly the shift in thinking that needs to happen for digital health apps to gain mainstream success. Companies need to start thinking beyond the patient and think about how that person’s condition impacts their daily life. Apps need to move beyond simple “tracking” and “journaling” to integrate with other data points across the health spectrum.
Between smart phone adoption, growing broadband internet access, the capability of wireless sensors and the connectivity of data sources – the environment is ready for the next generation of health apps. However, the failure to date was not solely a result of a lack of infrastructure. The failure to date was also due in large part to an insular approach to creating health applications. Moving forward, those companies that look are willing to take an outside-in approach to developing health applications will win the day.
This weekend Mashable announced what they believe to be the five most successful social media campaigns of 2014 “each of which was able to tap genuine emotion to make a lasting impact on consumers.” Included on the list was one health initiative – Chevy and American Cancer Society’s “Purple Roads” campaign. As noted by Mashable, the campaign raised awareness and paid homage to cancer survivors, kicking off with a moving 60-second Chevy commercial during the 2014 Super Bowl entitled “Life.” Via a campaign landing page, social media posts and paid media strategy, the brand encouraged users to “purple” their Facebook profile photo or Twitter handle photo, and pledged to donate $1 to the American Cancer Society for each person that participated. Over two million users purpled their profile photos in just a few weeks (1.3 million+ Facebook users and 700K+ Twitter users).
Read the full article on Mashable.
Julie Colletti insight: The overwhelming success of Purple Roads highlights the importance of several “must have” campaign elements we should be thinking about when brainstorming around new client programs: A simple call-to-action; incentivized participation (e.g. donation for every purpled profile); authentic emotional connection; paid media strategy; and cross-channel promotion. Additionally, it demonstrated the importance of leveraging the most appropriate social media channels for your call-to-action and target audience.