VPOC: Virtual Point Of Care


It’s the new way to look at our expanding point of care space

By Hensley Evans, Principal, ZS Associates


Remember back in the 1980s when you had to physically go to your bank (generally between 9 and 5 on a weekday) to deposit your paycheck or get cash for the weekend? The closest thing to an ATM at that time was the drive-through lane that used those little pneumatic tubes! Fast forward to today, when you can deposit a check from your home using your phone, or travel to virtually any city in any country in the world and withdraw cash, in local currency, from a bank machine on a street corner.

The health care market is undergoing a similar transformation. It’s not too hard to imagine a time in the future when you’ll be able – from anywhere in the world – to have a video consultation with your physician, assisted by a few gadgets linked to your phone, during which your physician will be able to make a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment, which will then be delivered directly to you via Amazon or made available for pickup at the local pharmacy.

This evolution is changing the very definition of point of care – where and how we receive health care. Marketers would be wise to pay attention! Being able to communicate to consumers in this new, Virtual Point of Care, or vPOC – whether from their home, their office, or a vacation trip – will be incredibly important in supporting patients with appropriate information to make an informed decision. I presented recently at the Point of Care Summit in NYC, highlighting recent trends that we’ve discovered in point of care marketing and what vPOC might mean for healthcare marketers. Here’s a summary.

The recent trend in the POC sector has been a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 10%. This looks likely to continue, and has contributed to growing the industry to a current size of $440 million. See figure 1.Pc0520200

Figure 1

That will bring the industry to over $500 million sometime between 2016 and 2017. This growth is driven by factors like access to technology, aging Baby Boomers, healthcare regulations, less sales force access to HCPs, and more. See figure 2.Pc0520300

Figure 2

What’s more, consumers seem to trust and be comfortable with point of care communications. Statistics show that marketing and education over these channels are driving consumer behavior. We’ve seen an average 62% increase in Rx conversions among patients exposed to POC vs. those who were not. See figure 3.Pc0520000

Figure 3

Of course, what this is doing is upending our previous image of what defines “point of care.” It keeps expanding, both in the definition of locations and in its influence. See figure 4.Pc0530200

Figure 4

The telehealth segment of POC is projected to grow rapidly:

• An estimated 16 million patients will have contacted their physicians remotely by the end of 2015

• There are 200 telehealth networks currently operating just in the U.S., connecting 3500 sites

• Many of the telehealth services are partnering with major payors: NowClinic with United Healthcare, LiveHealth Online with Anthem, MDLive with Cigna, to name a few

• We see a projected annual growth of 56% in the next year

(Sources: Healthcare, April 2014;, December 2014, Forbes, December 2013)

This is being driven by, and is driving, consumer expectations. See figure 5.Pc0530400



It’s also being influenced by policy regulations on both the state and national level. See figure 6.Pc0530300

Figure 6

What does this do to the POC landscape? It creates a new, broader picture, changing the definition significantly. See figure 7.Pc0530100

Figure 7

Point of Care noun Sponsored health and wellness education and marketing communications provided in venues where consumers receive healthcare —doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, and anywhere else the consumer happens to be.



Hensley Evans, Principal, ZS Associates. Hensley draws on her 15-year tenure working with many of the world’s top healthcare, biopharmaceutical, and consumer packaged goods brands to offer strategic direction and insight. She has played an instrumental role in delivering strategic solutions for healthcare clients such as Pfizer, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Serono, Eli Lilly and Company and Ortho Biotech, as well as consumer products including PrilosecOTC and alli. For biopharm clients, Hensley has led the strategy for programs throughout the product lifecycle, ranging from pre-launch awareness campaigns, DTC and GA campaigns for new products and new indication launches, to post-LOE marketing and retention. She has also led the development of many broad lifestyle and wellness support programs both within and outside of the biopharmaceutical space. Hensley’s career has also included twelve years in healthcare and CPG marketing on both the client and agency side, and thirteen years with Andersen Consulting and Price Waterhouse. During her consulting years she worked and traveled extensively in Europe, Central Asia and the former Soviet Union.

ZS is the world’s largest firm focused exclusively on improving business performance through sales and marketing solutions, from customer insights and strategy to analytics, operations and technology. More than 4,000 ZS professionals in 22 offices worldwide draw on deep industry and domain expertise to deliver impact where it matters for clients across multiple industries.

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