Each year, we forecast several trends that will influence life-sciences marketing the most in the months to come ahead. Success in 2023 will mean addressing each of those five issues meaningfully – understanding them fully and giving them real action, not just lip service. You can read our complete whitepaper — today, let’s talk about one of those pressing issues today: the medical metaverse.
The word “metaverse” has been the victim of hype, but the reality is a little less sci-fi and a lot more practical. Across medical education, diagnostics, treatments, therapeutics, telehealth, patient support, and more, you can see metaverse disruptors blending our virtual and real lives together to change the shape of medicine.
A brand’s ability to rise to the ever-growing need for personalization depends on their agility in technology adoption and business transformation. Moreover, what a healthcare brand is – just a pill? or technology, too? – is changing, and has big implications for the competitive marketplace.
You might remember the hesitancy of the late 1990s, when pharma eventually came to grips with the internet, and the hesitancy of the late 2000s, when the industry slowly tiptoed into social media. Web 3.0 in the 2020s is no different. Wise marketers will know not to be caught off guard, and not to lag behind customer expectations. Pharma marketers in 2023 need to:
- Look for blind spots. Think about how digital therapeutics fit into your patient journey, and how they help with challenges from diagnosis to treatment to adherence.
- Consider who might be sneaking up on you, and where. Assess competitive threats from medical metaverse innovators from the tech world. Brand managers can get ahead of this trend by working with experts to educate themselves about the medical metaverse and how to benefit from these technologies. It’s especially important in categories adopting metaverse efforts early, such as mental health (PTSD, anxiety, depression), neurology (ADHD, MS, pain management), and procedure-driven specialties like surgery.
- Evaluate potential synergies and partnerships with digital therapeutics. Especially in chronic conditions, you may find opportunities to better engage patients, providers, and payers and drive better health outcomes.
Current examples from the medical metaverse:
- A noninvasive wearable diagnostic device to treat diabetes (Nemaura, an EVERSANA partner)
- Immersive physician and surgeon training (Osso VR) and metaverse clinics and hospitals (Latus Health)
- Digital therapeutics delivering treatment via wearables (NightWare) and VR/AR devices (BehaVR)
- Music therapy (rhythmic auditory stimulation) to improve walking speed and ambulation in adults with chronic stroke walking deficits (Medrhythms, an EVERSANA partner)
- Real-time vein visualization mapped onto a patient’s arm to assist in IVs and blood draws (AccuVein)
- Prescription video-game treatment to improve attention function in 8-12-year-old children diagnosed with ADHD (Akili)
- The use of “digital twins” to pre-plan procedures (Dassault’s Living Heart) or prevent future health issues (Babylon Health’s Healthcheck)
- Patient support groups in the metaverse (Narcotics Anonymous)
- Digital therapeutics to improve quality of life and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms related to cancer (Prosoma, an EVERSANA partner)
Properly exploring the medical metaverse – and the other four issues we identified as vital to success in 2023 – isn’t the work of 12 months. It’s the work of a lifetime – a mission we’re privileged to share with you.