Healthcare and health technology are areas that the marketing and advertising industry don't really talk too much about, so I thought it would be good to shine the spotlight there for a change. There are lots of lessons to be learnt from healthcare that are extremely applicable to planning. I thoroughly enjoyed Atul Gawande's Checklist Manifesto for example, which narrates a number of real-life incidents in medicine that people learnt from, using those lessons to improve day-to-day working processes in hospitals. 

Earlier this month, the UK Technology Strategy Board took 19 healthcare technology companies to San Francisco as part of the Future Health Mission, with the aim of giving these companies the opportunity to explore growth, partnership and investment in Silicon Valley. One of them is DocCom, which has positioned itself as a sort of Facebook for doctors, giving medical professionals the chance to connect online to "solve key issues related to safety, efficiency and productivity". This website asks a rather obvious question: is the future of healthcare communications in social media? It's always tricky with healthcare because it's such a personal thing, but I'd wager that social media is changing the way that not only we, but medical professionals themselves are looking at their industry.

We aren't at the beginning of the revolution, of course - it's well in progress already. I was chatting with Annabel Bentley (a.k.a @doctorblogs), medical director at Bupa Health & Wellbeing and a surgeon by training, who pointed out that while looking at advances in healthcare technology for consumers, it is important to take note of the priorities of different markets. The UK and the US have different drivers - the UK has universal healthcare in the NHS while the US has competing health funds and doctors. As a result, there are more sites that focus on rating doctors and medical professionals in the US, such as ratemds.com

In terms of health technology, the UK isn't far behind: there are a number of  iPhone apps by the British Medical Journal for medical professionals, and if we go into fitness there are plenty, including an iPhone and iPad fitness app from Bupa. 

I've put together a list of companies that are doing interesting stuff in the healthcare space here, and there are others in these lists herehere and here.

Image by juhansonin via Flickr courtesy a Creative Commons license

Anjali Ramachandran

Anjali Ramachandran

Anjali couldn't shake off the habit of calling herself a 'citizen of the world' for the last decade, having lived in 5 countries so far, but has now amended that to 'citizen of the internetz'. She is a strong believer in technology as an agent of social change and likes exploring the relationship between digital services and physical objects. Robots and transmedia storytelling projects intrigue her.

@anjali28