Like many other industries finding their way in the new Covid reality, the entire healthcare infrastructure has been turned upside down —and the biggest impact has come from the accelerated digitization of healthcare. Healthcare was always on the path to digitization, but the timeline for change has now shifted to warp speed. As this evolution into digitization continues, it will be more critical than ever to be mindful of the patient’s psychological state and make them feel understood at a very fundamental and emotional level. In spite of the seemingly non-personal nature of digital medicine, the goal should still be to talk with patients and not at or to them. It is critical that the treatment experience maintains its personal touch and connection. These factors converge into one simple goal: Demonstrating and working with empathy.
The concept of “digital empathy” isn’t new. With the advent of telemedicine, wearables and pharmaceutical driven apps, the need to bring in empathy has always been a goal – but not necessarily a budget priority despite knowing this is critical to how consumer make buying decisions. More than ever, consumers select brands that reflect their sensibilities, but also respect their time and unique situations. They want time back. They want to be remembered. They expect a brand experience to be easy and sensitive. As we move into this new era, there are multiple areas where digitization and empathy will need to come together
Focus on empathy maps and not just digital engagement maps: Traditionally, engagement maps in healthcare have focused largely on the various patient devices and channels. This approach was sufficient when part of a large ecosystem. But as the COVID era has shown us, to develop relationships that are truly sticky, we must dig deeper into the true motivations and emotional drivers behind patient engagement. Technology is important not just for accuracy and efficiency, but as an opportunity to address core emotional needs from patients and caregivers; speed, timeliness, access to data and convenience are all critical.