An interview with Ashik Desai, Executive Vice President of Business Growth & Analytics, ContextMedia:Health
We have all heard the statistic: 17.5% of U.S. GDP is currently spent on healthcare, and 80% of these costs are attributable to chronic condition treatments, according to the CDC. One of the key remedies to this trend is improving comprehension, conversion and compliance of chronic disease treatments and lifestyle choices. ContextMedia, having recently acquired AccentHealth, is the leading healthcare decision platform at the point of care in the U.S. Because their combined technologies are now a major influence on the structure, efficiency, information delivery and physician/ patient interaction in offices across the U.S., we interviewed EVP Ashik Desai to get a picture of what the office of the future will look like.
Where will this sector of healthcare be in a few years?
In speaking about the point-of-care sector, all signs indicate that we will continue to see a level of growth in market size that exceeds growth of other DTC channels year over year. That said, I encourage those that work in healthcare sales and marketing to avoid bucketing these technologies into “point-of-care,” as the value proposition transcends the traditional scope of that sector. We have improved the metrics of success for life sciences marketers in the pursuit of helping patients live healthier. We have a vision of how the actual consultation and decision-making process between the patient and physician will continue to improve significantly over the next few years.
What is the office of the future going to look like? What advantages will it provide?
As we continue to integrate into the consultation, marketers will receive a solution for one of the most pressing issues: a lack of access to physicians that is being experienced by those that work in life science sales. A well-circulated study by ZS Associates points out that in 2008, 80% of physicians were considered accessible by healthcare sales reps, while today, that number has dropped to 44%. An estimated $1B is spent on sales efforts that never actually result in a meeting with a physician.
Faced with this decreased access, health marketers can still drive impact by delivering information that would be most helpful to providers during consultations and time of prescription, from Patient Savings Programs to MOA’s to new side-effect management guides. With the right messaging, marketers can deliver the information that target physicians want and need to deliver to patients.
While it is fun to speculate about what these technologies will look like, what we can count on is a further integration into the consultations. We are continuing to find new and exciting approaches to messaging through platform that can drive impact and returns. How powerful would it be to use this as a portal to initiate rep activity for samples, or even enable the platform for brand rep use when on site to better explain treatment and disease information? No one wants to be sold—especially at the physician practice—but we have the opportunity to deliver the urgent intelligence and information that consumers and providers actively seek about conditions and treatment options.
What progress have we made so far in achieving the office of the future?
We are making tremendous inroads today. To give you a glimpse into the rate at which we are building these technologies, one of our most popular products, the Digital Exam Room Wallboard, which provides 3D anatomical diagrams of the human anatomy and condition states, went from idea to product launch in a period of just over four months. Through a partnership with BioDigital, we recently started deploying enhanced 3D images and video of even more parts of the anatomy and condition states. In addition, we have enhanced the user interface to better serve the needs of all of providers to make it easier for them to use the information and intelligence they need the most.
We’ve also worked with some of our strategic partners to develop and deploy early detection self-assessment technology, and have some groundbreaking innovations that will make a brand’s information more accessible to consumers not only during, but in the time after consultation.
Is it all dependent on technology, or do physicians also have to adapt in the way they interact with patients?
The physician interaction is the most important part of the dialogue—it is the human element, and it’s what makes this type of technology so powerful. I’d also like to dispel the idea that technology creates a distance between the provider and their patient. In our experience, we’ve found that physicians are actually more engaged than ever, and are trying to be more impactful with the short time that they have with patients. We want to help them do their jobs even better.
As a result, response from physicians has been overwhelmingly positive. The communication of conditions and treatments can be complex, and there is no reason why patients should still be learning this information on the back of a photocopy, or using a plastic model. The growth in scale is explosive, with a recent uptick in demand from larger health systems.
How will these changes improve the quality of education of patients, and reduce the amount of misinformation we are now awash in?
There is a lot of information out there—which is a good thing—but we seek to improve the quality of content available. We work with some of the top associations and healthcare organizations in the industry, from the American Lung Association to the American Heart Association, to help curate the best content available. This ensures that the millions of patients that we impact get access to top tier content. Taking a step back, we can leverage this information, scale and technology to tackle the biggest issues facing healthcare, including comprehension, conversion, and compliance of chronic disease treatments.
What is happening outside the waiting room and exam room that is helping patients?
Today, we’re seeing greater overall patient advocacy and access to information. Patients are more engaged and have more resources than they ever have, so if we, as healthcare marketers, can continue to provide life-saving information in a compelling and meaningful way, our best work is still ahead of us.
What were the opportunities you saw that provided the fuel for your growth?
Ten years ago, ContextMedia saw an opportunity to use technology to deliver actionable information at the time and place where providers and consumers made healthcare decisions: the point of care. We have consistently and proactively listened to the needs of life science brands, healthcare providers and consumers in order to drive better outcomes for all. With improved outcomes as our North Star, our growth has been fueled by a commitment to developing technology innovation and scale to deliver those results.
It isn’t true that healthcare is resistant to innovation—it’s just that some of the biggest issues in healthcare are ambitious, and it takes a combination of empathy, execution and ambitiousness to tackle these problems. Ten years ago, Context-Media initially started out with a pure focus in media, but in the past few years, our technology has become increasingly interactive. Today, we delivering information and intelligence during the actual consultation.
What significant successes have your clients had that show the benefits of adopting the new technology? What benefits overall has the industry experienced?
I’ll use our Digital Exam Room Wallboard as a case study. From an engagement standpoint, usage on the wallboard has been impressive. As an example, in the third quarter of 2016, over 1 million anatomy models were used by physicians. The wallboards give providers the ability to digitally annotate the diagrams, and 65% of all consultations with patients involved annotations to the wallboard. Meanwhile, brand messages were shown over 282 million times during patient showcase. There is tangible utility for providers and patients in driving a more robust dialogue. With our third party analytics partners, we are measuring results for brands that see patients living with chronic conditions get onto treatments sooner and stay on them longer.
In one recent Quality Resource Use Report conducted by the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services, a medical group utilizing the ContextMedia decision platform saw a 10% incremental cost savings per Medicare patient after incorporating our technologies, in addition to reporting a 58% lower hospitalization rate for patients with diabetes against the national average. If you think about the fact that we are in 20% of all offices in the country, the positive impact that we can have on economic and social outcomes is significant. •
Ashik Desai EVP of Business Growth & Analytics ContextMedia:Health Ashik leads ContextMedia’s many growth initiatives with a strong focus on measured, data-supported execution and success. Ashik attended Northwestern University where he completed the Honors Program in Medical Education at the Feinberg School of Medicine and earned a Finance Certificate from the Kellogg School of Management. While there, he served as the Vice-President of the Institute for Student Business Education, Northwestern’s largest undergraduate business organization. He now sits on the organization’s Board of Directors.
ContextMedia develops healthcare technologies to deliver better health outcomes and impact the human condition positively. Founded in 2006 by Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal, the company has doubled each year in its scale of technology implementation at outpatient health care facilities, business partnerships with global life sciences and medical device companies, product innovation and team growth. Decision platforms such as digital anatomy boards, interactive educational tablets and mobile connectivity in consultation rooms deliver measurable patient outcomes through actionable intelligence on conditions, treatments and lifestyle changes to improve the quality of life. In 2016, ContextMedia has been adding nearly one percent of all practices in the country each month. www.contextmediainc.com
AccentHealth, LLC is a leading patient-education media company at the point of care, with a mission to inspire patients to live healthier lives. AccentHealth’s Patient Engagement Platform combines innovative digital products including the waiting room television network, interactive tablets for the exam room and mobile touchpoints. Its content is produced by CNN’s Medical Unit, hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and by Harvard Medical School. www.accenthealth.com