Columbus, OH — People increasingly expect to be active participants in their healthcare. They’re bringing their own data and research into the exam room and self-treating with food and apps. It’s part of a new way they want to collaborate with their doctors.

These people don’t want just a prescription; they want a solution. One that’s about more than medication and more than just their physical symptoms. They want choices that put them in the driver’s seat, that let them participate, and that understand the deep mind+body connection.

Key clues to this trend:

  • Already 21% of people use digital devices to track their health data
  • The wearable device market (think: Fitbit) is expected to grow by 100 million units in 2014, that number will only increase in years to come
  • Heather Bowerman,McKinsey former White House Science and Technology advisor noted, “The next phase of quantified self will combine physiological data with medical knowledge, transitioning us from self-awareness around a few data points (like the number of steps we’ve taken) to real potential for the prevention of diseases like diabetes.”

The real shift though is how it’s changing conversations in the exam room:

  • A recent study of 2,000 people living with chronic disease found that 66% would accept a prescription for a new medicine from their doctor, but nearly all (90%) would take the offer of a mobile app.

People are looking for solutions that are more than just taking a drug. Solutions that allow them track progress towards a disease goal, to see if a loved one is sticking with treatment, and better understand what really is takes to eat better.

Solutions to these needs are starting arise. Here are a few of our favorites:


Worried there might be gluten in a dish? Tellspec is working on a device that you simply wave over your meal and get an instant yes-no readout to questions about your food or beverage’s allergen, chemical, calorie on ingredient properties on your smartphone.


LifeVest is offering real cash incentives for improving your health. It lets you, your friends and family, even your company put real cash on the line. By measuring the improvements you make to your modifiable health metrics, LifeVest rewards you for making positive changes in your life.


Alivecor puts daily healthcare in the hands of its users by turning their phones into electrocardiograms. In order to get a read, a user presses the device against the skin near the heart.

Despite the range of new solutions available, these new patient expectations and wants come with real barriers.

For starters your personal data is not part of the current exam room conversations. And only 17% of people have ever sent an online message to their doctor. Even if these wants were part of doctor-patient conversations, many doctors don’t have time or expertise to review your personal data, and if not the doctors themselves, then what about privacy?

The barriers are big, but the right combination of functionality and experience can solve them. When we sketched the new map of needs and barriers out on a whiteboard the other day to take on our crack at the next big idea, we noticed it started to look like a very familiar game – and, not a bad ideation tool, too.

Try your own ideas out on Battleship Brainstorm. The next big patient-centric app or solution could be yours.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.