Doctorpreneurs are revolutionising healthcare
We are experiencing one of the most disruptive periods in many of our lifetimes as the global pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the world's global health infrastructure. What will be decisive in these precarious times are our efforts and decisions to collectively combat COVID-19, sustain our healthcare systems, and improve upon them for any future pandemics and crises.
Therefore, it is crucial to rethink our health systems and look for better solutions, and who better to address the challenges in the healthcare systems than the medical professionals who confront them day in and day out? These medical professionals have given themselves the name doctorpreneurs.
What is a doctorpreneur?
Who and what are doctorpreneurs? Doctorpreneurs are individuals with experience in the medical field who have actively worked to improve the healthcare system through technology or other means.
By combining first-hand experience from their medical field with an entrepreneurial spirit, doctorpreneurs can use their knowledge to create professional networks and widen their impact, which is critical in an overburdened healthcare system confronted by increasingly complex patient needs. Doctorpreneurs are intrepid and refuse to remain confined within the medical profession alone, as they continually seek opportunities to innovate.
How do doctorpreneurs improve the healthcare system?
It is often idealism that leads many young students to pursue a professional career in medicine. It certainly takes compassion, and care for those around them, but what makes a doctorpreneur different from other medical professionals is their aptitude and capacity for business. It is a rare combination to find a compassionate doctor who is also business savvy, and that is why these individuals are primed to revolutionise and improve the healthcare system.
Doctorpreneurs seek out the newest developing technologies that can be used to improve the healthcare system. Where some may simply admire the burgeoning tech, doctorpreneurs instead see how they can be used to improve a function within their medical fields. Sometimes they even take the initiative to create new technologies when the right ones don’t exist. This nose for business, coupled with an eye for quality and experience in medicine, allows doctorpreneurs to spot areas of fragility that could become liabilities during the pandemic.
Take these three doctorpreneur businesses. In each of them, their ideas were born through their experiences and day-to-day life in medicine, and each aimed to improve the healthcare system from within.
Medical Realities is the first end-to-end immersive platform for healthcare professionals in the world, that allows professionals to train and educate themselves with the help of VR and immersive technologies. It was founded by surgeon and cancer specialist Dr. Shafi Ahmed.
Ahmed’s savvy eye for technological progress and an awareness of what was missing in the profession enabled him to conjure up this concept. With the help of VR and immersive technologies, Medical Realities is able to train surgical students around the world, all at the same time.
Like Medical Realities, Touch Surgery harnesses the power of technology to improve upon the surgical aspect of the medical profession. Founded by two surgeons, Dr. Jean Nehme and Dr. Andre Chow, Touch Surgery endeavours to solve the problem of surgical inequality, as some countries do not have access to adequate training and methods to practice and develop their surgeon’s skills. They provide an interactive surgical simulator for healthcare professionals for a realistic and detailed guide to every step of a surgical procedure.
Unlike the two previous doctorpreneur founded businesses, Amboss is not focused on training and improving the surgical profession; instead its founders, doctors Kenan Hasan, Madjid Salimi, and Sievert Weiss devised Amboss with an eye to improve medical studies.
Amboss is a modern learning software and digital reference book, providing both students and doctors with instant access to information on eveything from diagnostics to medications. Its aim is to alleviate the burden of slowly retrieving the same information from textbooks and case notes.
Why did I become a doctorpreneur?
While still a surgeon-in-training, the processes and methods of communication between medical professionals were still antiquated, like faxes, or were slowly adopting to new messengers like WhatsApp.
Messengers were certainly quicker and more efficient than faxes, but ultimately the realisation was that there was an urgent need for the digitalisation of communication in healthcare. A lack of transparency and knowledge sharing among different departments was stopping medical professionals from providing the best and most efficient care for patients. This was something that only a medical insider would have understood when analysing the problem’s complexity and in order to find a solution.
That is how Siilo came to be. During the pandemic, Siilo connected medical professionals in Europe through its app and provided them with the ability to safely communicate, collaborate, and coordinate with one another to combat COVID-19.
Doctorpreneurs may be an unusual name, but it is these entrepreneurs with their firsthand knowledge of the healthcare industry who are the key players in finding unusual solutions to many of healthcare’s most pressing problems. And ultimately, the healthcare system could use a few more of them.
Joost Bruggeman, MD, PhD, Co-founder and CEO of Siilo, chose to transition into entrepreneurship after experiencing first-hand how inefficiency in medical communications can negatively impact the quality of patient care. He co-founded Siilo to focus on secure, reliable communication and collaboration tools so that medical professionals everywhere can safely collaborate on patient care.
How can the healthcare industry build trust with consumers?
One of the many ways the pandemic has impacted society is that it has firmly cast the healthcare industry in the public spotlight. From producing ventilators and PPE to developing life-saving vaccines, consumers have looked to pharmaceutical and healthcare companies to keep us safe and find a way out of the Covid-19 crisis.
As a result, healthcare companies have an opportunity to build upon this and utilise their marketing to drive greater engagement and trust with consumers. When it comes to effective marketing, it’s vital to remember the important role which visuals play. Consumers increasingly engage with brands through the visual communications and storytelling they absorb while online or browsing through media channels. These visual communications can have a huge impact not only on consumer purchasing decisions but also the relationship between brands and customers.
At Getty Images, we work with healthcare companies throughout Europe to advise them on their visual content. This study forms part of the research for our insight platform Visual GPS, which looks at the key factors affecting consumer decision making and how that impacts their visual choices.
In partnership with YouGov, we surveyed 10,000 consumers globally and have been tracking this consumer sentiment for the past two years. This latest deep-dive into the healthcare industry is part of our wider on-going research, and aims to better understand how consumers in different regions are interacting with the healthcare sector and what motivates their visual preferences.
Our research revealed that many companies are not using visuals as effectively as they could. In the UK, for instance, the vast majority of consumers do not feel represented by the visual communications which businesses are producing – only 7% of British respondents to our global Visual GPS survey say they felt represented. That is even lower than the global average of 14%.
This latest deep dive into the healthcare industry has uncovered some important insights that can help us better understand how consumers in different regions are interacting with the healthcare sector.
Mental health should be centre stage
A key finding shows that mental health remains a highly relevant issue for consumers. Over nine in ten British consumers think it is important to talk about mental health and put it on an equal footing with physical and emotional health. Not surprisingly, 55% of British consumers believe that more people are being diagnosed with depression due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is a growing awareness of the importance of mental health across Europe. Health and pharmaceutical companies should acknowledge this in their visual communications but do so in an empathetic and compassionate way. Only five years ago, visuals around mental health often depicted people alone, isolated and expressing feelings of shame, whereas now we are seeing a more empathetic and supportive approach to visualising mental health - with an increasing number of positive visuals showing support groups, or individuals proactively seeking and finding support.
Visual communications that show support for mental well-being in a meaningful way will resonate deeply with consumers.
A more holistic approach
Another key finding is that consumers want to focus more on holistic health. Our survey found that the majority of UK consumers place an almost equal importance on emotional, physical and mental health, and almost three quarters (73%) placed the health and well-being of family as a top priority.
It’s important that healthcare companies reflect this. Our research paired with ongoing image testing revealed that consumers want to see visuals that humanise healthcare, so companies should consider visualising inclusive care across intersecting factors such as age, ethnicity and gender. Brands can help establish trust with their customers by highlighting a collaborative relationship between medical professional and patient, as well as ensuring that their visual choices feel genuine.
Technology and innovation in healthcare are gaining traction
Thirdly, eHealth and purposeful innovation was another key finding. Consumers want innovation that will meaningfully support their care. Particularly in Europe, the older generation will pay more for brands that use technology to provide advice and recommendations, while Gen Z & Millennials are willing to pay for self-service capabilities. It’s important therefore for healthcare companies to incorporate purposeful innovation in their visual communication and demonstrate consumers at the centre of accessible eHealth.
Given these insights, what visual content do consumers expect to see from pharmaceutical brands? Our research highlighted three key themes.
- Consumers want to see how healthcare companies fit into people’s lives. Accessible health services are a key factor here. Decision makers should build trust by showing consumers at the centre of a holistic healthcare ecosystem.
- Consumers want to see the emotional rewards others get from using a healthcare company. This can be achieved by building brand loyalty through empathetic and inclusive visual storytelling.
- Finally, consumers want to see people who are similar to them and their lives. British consumers want to see people that look like them and reflect their lived experiences in advertising and brand communication. Decision-makers should ensure that their visual communication is inclusive and authentic and represents the diverse population of the market in which they’re operating.
Ultimately, the key to successful visual storytelling for pharma and healthcare businesses is to ensure that they understand what matters to their audience while establishing trust of care. An important element of this is authentically representing the full spectrum of the population. That means representing all ethnicities, ages, abilities, body shapes, sexuality, religion and genders, to ensure patients of all backgrounds feel included and represented.
Healthcare brands should bear in mind that, as a result of the pandemic’s impact on healthcare systems around the world, consumers may be feeling anxious about whether they will be able to access care if they need it. The healthcare industry has an opportunity to reassure customers and build greater engagement and trust by showing them that they matter through inclusive visuals that represents them authentically at the heart of brand storytelling.