What's next for Telehealth (part 2)

Updated: Apr 11

A Healthusiasm world.


Welcome to “A Healthusiasm World”, a newsletter by Christophe Jauquet on the latest healthcare and self-care trends impacting all types of industries.


1. Discover how both healthcare and consumer companies are experience-driven health businesses now.

2. Learn what's next for customer experience, purpose-driven marketing and digital health across all industries.

3. Be inspired to design the most engaging health experiences yourself.



Two weeks ago, I shared the first part of the future for Telehealth with you. I explained how this must have been one of the biggest hypes I've ever seen in the healthcare industry. Everyone always seemed overly joyed about using what has already been commonly used - outside of health care - for 15 years.


And yes, it was indeed a significant achievement. However, I want to share my view on what to expect next for Telehealth with the newsletter. I want to point out the experiences people are getting used to right now. Because in turn, these experiences will once again rapidly change patients' expectations towards their Telehealth experience.





(Did you miss the first newsletter? You can easily find it via this link).


In the previous newsletter, I’ve shared three experiences you certainly did recognise since they are already present everywhere in our lives: the rise of Aggregators, the importance of Jobs to be Done and the need for Remote Control. The following five may seem a little further in the future. However, the reality is that these are gradually beginning to find an entrance into our lives today. That is what I want to show you with this letter and these examples. Let these newer experiences inspire you on how Telehealth will evolve in the coming years. Let these experiences prepare you for what is sure to come.


4. Home labs


First consumption was democratised. Now production is being democratised. What previously was deeper into the value chain and further away from the end-consumer now becomes widely available for everyone. We don't rely on a Kodak production plant anymore for our photos. We print the pictures ourselves at home


What’s next? >> TeleHealth brings the patient further into the value chain. What (earlier) part of your value chain is ready to be democratised?

  • Blood samples are being sold as monthly subscriptions in Sweden by Werlabs. Without the blessings of an overseeing physician, consumers are provided with an affordable and convenient way to privately learn about up to 33 different health markers (e.g. renal, liver, cardio, diabetes, thyroid, paternity, fertility, …). The monthly blood results are then discussed during a teleconsultation with a doctor from that company.

  • Thriva is a personalised at-home finger-prick blood test that delivers the results within 48 hours, along with the advice of a GP.

  • CueHealth is a connected diagnostic platform for use directly by and even at consumers' home. It enables fast and convenient access to self-serve tests that deliver results to your mobile device within minutes.


5. Emotive digital assistance


Today, a website isn't considered customer-centric without the available assistance of chatbots. We are getting used to this type of assistance. Every Operating System also has a virtual assistant: Google Assistant, Siri on Apple devices and Cortana by Microsoft. Nowadays, people are increasingly talking to virtual assistants about all kinds of things: about their stressful day, about some worries or even in case of emergencies. No wonder Apple has hired psychologists to optimise human-to-computer interaction. As virtual assistants become smarter in human interaction, they can help people when they need guidance on living a healthier life. Conversation, expression, emotion, and understanding turn virtual assistants into the most engaging user experiences.


What’s next >> Telehealth is more than human-to-human interaction. What (part of) teleservices would be the first emotive digital assistance you can offer?

  • Amelia automates the healthcare payment administration and streamlines the overall experience for patients by adding a (digital) human touch. Thanks to these teleservices by Amelia, Healthcare providers can focus more on the care plan and deliver personalised services.

  • But virtual assistants can do more than managing administration. Replika is an always-on virtual companion who actually cares about you. One of Replika's aims is to help people deal with their problems, loneliness, and mental health. It helps people by discussing emotions and memorable periods in life. Replika can even call to listen to how you are doing.


6. Virtual world


Amidst the first wave of the pandemic, WHO ambassador for global strategy Ray Chambers said in a statement that he hopes the gaming industry can motivate millions of people to #PlayApartTogether. So it happened: exclusive packages, additional activities, exceptional rewards and even special events were launched in games. Fornite gathered 11 million people inside its virtual world for a live concert by Travis Scott, and Roblox gathered 33 million people for the four music shows by Lil Nas. Japanese kids built their school within Minecraft to hold their graduation ceremony within the virtual environment. Animal Crossing became the world that everyone wanted to escape to. This laid-back, island-life gameplay has proven therapeutic and even life-affirming. Brands started creating entire housing complexes to invite people to discover new health products. Amsterdam-based creative agency Achtung! recreated its office in virtual reality for after-work drinks. Meanwhile, Lil Miquela, a computer-animated model, gathered 3 million followers on Instagram, where she talks about her human emotions (and product endorsements with fashion brands).

What’s next >> Telehealth will be more than human. It can be entirely virtual. What part of your services could live in a virtual world?

  • Bump Galaxy is a virtual world created in Minecraft as a community for mental health. This virtual, open format offers new ways of interacting between practitioners and clients from anywhere in the world, giving more people access to different kinds of therapy in various places: a virtual forest, a beach, a snowfield, sand dunes, an underwater temple, shadow portals, and a symbiotic jungle. Each site offers a particular healing process.


7. 3-dimensional


Diseased artists like 2pac Shakur, Whitney Houston, Roy Orbinson, or Frank Zappa are still on a world tour, albeit as hologram today. In 2016, this was still an expensive technological set-up that could only be performed on professional stages. Last year, we saw Kanye West surprising his wife with a hologram of her late father on her 40th birthday. And yes, it is becoming even more widely available today. Holexia wanted to immerse its users with holographic videoconferencing in 3D (without the need to wear glasses or headsets) in a pandemic world inundated with zoom calls. This technology humanises digital communications through 3D holographic technology. What more can we expect from Telehealth than making it as human as possible?


What’s next >> Telehealth will evolve into Telepresence that will feel less virtual. In what situations would this make sense for your services, if not today, then tomorrow?

  • The Japanese popular messaging app Line has brought its ambition to make loveable artificially intelligent characters to life by launching Clova. This AI-driven hologram functions in similar ways to Alexa. It also provides intelligent conversations about the weather, news, music or, simply, your day. But on top of this, this holographic, interactive friend is a great companion against loneliness. At least, as soon as you overcome the initial self-conscious weirdness of talking to a projected anime character. But be aware, she will contact you via phone to ask you when you will be home tonight. The bright side is that she will already have turned on the lights and heating for you. You will never have to enter a dark, cold house again.



8. Robotic assistance


During the covid disaster in the Italian Lombardia last March, the Circolo Hospital used Tommy. This robot monitored patients' blood pressure and oxygen saturation and enabled patients to speak with human doctors remotely. Already one year prior, the world's first restaurant with a fully robot-run kitchen opened its doors in Beijing, followed by a robotic restaurant complex a couple of months later. It's only a small step for these robots to enter our homes.


What’s next >> Telehealth (or Telemedicine) will go beyond conversations or monitoring. Soon physical actions will be executed.

  • Pria, a health companion by Black & Dekker, makes even the most complex health routines simple. It's a smart medicine assistant that will actively seek out and speak to specific people in the room about their health care needs and gently encourage them to engage. Pria will share basic healthcare information upon demand. But it also integrates with existing (Telehealth) services for video calls with both healthcare providers or loved ones.

  • ElliQ is designed for the elderly to aid in healthier and happier ageing. It might look like a table light, but its cylindrical head moves and holds vocal conversations with people. The voice-enabled assistant helps seniors make video calls, sets medication reminders, and arranges doctor visits. And of course,... it plays bridge.

  • While previous examples are stationary, Samsung is already shipping mobile robots who take care of the details in your life (Samsung Bot™ Care) or help you with work around the house (Samsung Bot™ Handy).



Conclusion:

It’s fair to be excited about the achievements of Telehealth so far. But it wouldn’t mind realising that we only caught up with old technology. I wanted to focus on how new technology is already designing new experiences with this newsletter. These experiences are or will be setting new patient expectations. But none the least, ifs offer unique opportunities to create better health experiences.


Are you Healthusiastic already?



Before I close this writing, there is one more thing I’d like to ask you. If you think this newsletter could be of interest to a colleague, friend or acquaintance, do not hesitate to forward this to them. By building a Healthusiasm community of people interested in customer experience, purpose-driven strategies and digital health, we can make a difference together.


Talk to you in two weeks.


-Christophe-

Health Experience expert






PS. This newsletter is a run-up to my new Healthuisasm book. This new book should offer yet another piece of the puzzle to make the world healthier and happier. With these newsletters, I want to gradually share my views and opinions with a broad community of Healthusiasts. Let this newsletter be an open invitation to reach out and discuss.


PPS. You can also find the newsletters on my website, podcast or Youtube, or Substack.