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The Age of DIY Health

The Age of DIY Health

Sulaiman Beg

Sulaiman Beg

July 9, 2018

People trust Google more than pharma companies to reinvent medicine in the coming years.

It’s not a secret that in the last few years there has been a sizeable shift in how we view preventive self-care.

Havas Group’s latest Prosumer Report, “DIY + Data: Taking healthcare to the next level,” takes a closer look at this more prevalent approach to our health—because self-healthcare is increasingly becoming the primary focus of people’s lives.

We spoke with Clément Boisseau, Global Network Strategy Director, Havas, and Managing Director, BETC, about the report, how data is changing the healthcare industry, and how the role of doctors may change in the future.

 

The report finds that we’ve moved on from our “pill for every ill” cultural mindset  and have begun to focus more on maintaining good daily habits. What do you think caused this change?

People are paying more and more attention to their health. They have access to more information to make better choices, and they feel health is one of the most important assets to protect. So they don’t want to cure, but to prevent. And prevention is all about adopting good daily habits, like eating right, practicing sports, etc.

There’s also a rise of distrust toward the pharmaceutical industry, which explains why people are more reluctant to take a pill. The recent healthcare scandals have deeply impacted the way people rely on medications. They are less confident in the safety of pills, and so are less willing to opt for them as often as they used to.

How are brands working to meet this changing perception?

Many brands have understood the high potential of people’s health obsession in terms of business. They’ve developed products and services to help people in their daily quest for healthy habits. How to give people good recommendations for diets? How to become their best ally in their journey of change? Many brands ask themselves these questions every day. The paradox is that pharmaceutical companies ask these questions less often than do FMCG or tech brands. As a result, people trust Google more than pharma companies to reinvent medicine in the coming years.

From the patients’ perspective, what do they want to see more of from health insurers?

More guidance, more advice, more coaching to help them adopt and maintain healthful habits. And in return to pay less. People believe that if they make an effort to reduce risks to their health, insurers have to do their part on their side. It also raises a question about solidarity: People do not want to pay the same as those who don’t behave as well as they do. They expect more tailor-made pricing tied to their behaviors.

What role does data play in the future of the healthcare industry?

A huge role. And not in the future—now. People are more and more willing to monitor every aspect of their lives. So they can adapt how they eat and behave. Also, collecting billions of pieces of data will help the healthcare industry better understand people’s behaviors. Data can help predict diseases, viruses, pandemics, etc. Data is crucial to helping people have better health.

What are some of the more popular methods for monitoring one’s health?

Smartphones are definitely the kings of collecting and monitoring data. We can also expect a lot from voice assistants and all connected objects. This raises important questions of privacy and data security. People are willing to share their personal data as long as the trade-off between the data shared and the service provided is favorable to them. It’s a huge challenge for private companies.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of modifying a person’s DNA?

We are only at the beginning of what’s possible and what we’re allowed to do. It really depends on the legal context and the cultural context. Modifying personal DNA could prevent some diseases or cure them. But at the same time it will have implications for the human species and will raise a ton of fascinating questions: For which reasons will we be authorized to modify DNA? Who should opt to do so? What about people who don’t have the money to modify their DNA or the DNA of their children? These questions connect philosophy with economics and technology. I deeply believe we should start asking these questions and create opportunities to talk about it among citizens, scientists, and governments.

As technology continues to evolve, will we ever reach a point where doctors are no longer needed? Can we live without them—and would we want to?

Some people think so…and it’s true that with telemedicine and the constant progress of AI we can ask ourselves the question. Yet, I’m not sure I share this point of view. But it may have an impact on the role and definition of a doctor. A doctor may be less someone who cures something and more someone—a little bit like a coach—who helps his or her patient to maintain good health habits. Someone with whom to talk about health issues and decisions. I believe we will always need some human touch, contact, and interactions.

It’s not a secret that in the last few years there has been a sizeable shift in how we view preventive self-care.

Havas Group’s latest Prosumer Report, “DIY + Data: Taking healthcare to the next level,” takes a closer look at this more prevalent approach to our health—because self-healthcare is increasingly becoming the primary focus of people’s lives.

We spoke with Clément Boisseau, Global Network Strategy Director, Havas, and Managing Director, BETC, about the report, how data is changing the healthcare industry, and how the role of doctors may change in the future.

 

The report finds that we’ve moved on from our “pill for every ill” cultural mindset  and have begun to focus more on maintaining good daily habits. What do you think caused this change?

People are paying more and more attention to their health. They have access to more information to make better choices, and they feel health is one of the most important assets to protect. So they don’t want to cure, but to prevent. And prevention is all about adopting good daily habits, like eating right, practicing sports, etc.

There’s also a rise of distrust toward the pharmaceutical industry, which explains why people are more reluctant to take a pill. The recent healthcare scandals have deeply impacted the way people rely on medications. They are less confident in the safety of pills, and so are less willing to opt for them as often as they used to.

How are brands working to meet this changing perception?

Many brands have understood the high potential of people’s health obsession in terms of business. They’ve developed products and services to help people in their daily quest for healthy habits. How to give people good recommendations for diets? How to become their best ally in their journey of change? Many brands ask themselves these questions every day. The paradox is that pharmaceutical companies ask these questions less often than do FMCG or tech brands. As a result, people trust Google more than pharma companies to reinvent medicine in the coming years.

From the patients’ perspective, what do they want to see more of from health insurers?

More guidance, more advice, more coaching to help them adopt and maintain healthful habits. And in return to pay less. People believe that if they make an effort to reduce risks to their health, insurers have to do their part on their side. It also raises a question about solidarity: People do not want to pay the same as those who don’t behave as well as they do. They expect more tailor-made pricing tied to their behaviors.

What role does data play in the future of the healthcare industry?

A huge role. And not in the future—now. People are more and more willing to monitor every aspect of their lives. So they can adapt how they eat and behave. Also, collecting billions of pieces of data will help the healthcare industry better understand people’s behaviors. Data can help predict diseases, viruses, pandemics, etc. Data is crucial to helping people have better health.

What are some of the more popular methods for monitoring one’s health?

Smartphones are definitely the kings of collecting and monitoring data. We can also expect a lot from voice assistants and all connected objects. This raises important questions of privacy and data security. People are willing to share their personal data as long as the trade-off between the data shared and the service provided is favorable to them. It’s a huge challenge for private companies.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of modifying a person’s DNA?

We are only at the beginning of what’s possible and what we’re allowed to do. It really depends on the legal context and the cultural context. Modifying personal DNA could prevent some diseases or cure them. But at the same time it will have implications for the human species and will raise a ton of fascinating questions: For which reasons will we be authorized to modify DNA? Who should opt to do so? What about people who don’t have the money to modify their DNA or the DNA of their children? These questions connect philosophy with economics and technology. I deeply believe we should start asking these questions and create opportunities to talk about it among citizens, scientists, and governments.

As technology continues to evolve, will we ever reach a point where doctors are no longer needed? Can we live without them—and would we want to?

Some people think so…and it’s true that with telemedicine and the constant progress of AI we can ask ourselves the question. Yet, I’m not sure I share this point of view. But it may have an impact on the role and definition of a doctor. A doctor may be less someone who cures something and more someone—a little bit like a coach—who helps his or her patient to maintain good health habits. Someone with whom to talk about health issues and decisions. I believe we will always need some human touch, contact, and interactions.

Sulaiman Beg is Havas' Director of Global Internal Communications. He has never eaten canned tuna fish.

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