Our quest for immortality and the advances in health technology

Gustavo Pratt explores how health technology has advanced and shares five tips on how we can potentialise healthcare technology.

Since the beginning of time, mankind has yearned to be immortal like the gods. There was a little problem with that desire, our own humanity, we were simply mortals. Since the day we are born we have an expiration date hidden in our future. We can’t change that, and we don’t know when that will be… or which symptoms will accompany the fatal end.

As we strived to live longer we developed the discipline of medicine. The healing profession was seen as a call, very much like the priests that dedicated their lives to the gods, Doctors were viewed as mystical figures, almost beings with supernatural powers. This concept was maintained until the end of the 20th Century, because medicine was practiced only in hospitals and doctor’s offices and only by doctors or healthcare professionals. They spent 10 years becoming a specialist and they dedicated their entire lives to studying new ways of practicing medicine. It was viewed as a “secret society”.

But all of that changed with technology and the internet. With the emergence of these, that was the moment when technology opened the door to helping us to manage our own diseases and brought the patient and doctor closer together. Health technology created a more sophisticated, savvy, informed patient… a patient that can converse with a doctor, at the same level.

“That was the moment when technology opened the door to helping us to manage our own diseases.”

Technology has made a more responsible patient, one that is concerned about their health. This patient now has access to tools that actually help with everyday life, such as diets, exercise, sleep and healthy routines in devices that are already inserted in their lives, like mobile phones, tablets, computers etc.

Technology surrounds us, from the tiny app that lives in a digital realm to the million dollar CAT scan that rests in a hospital. Apps that help us check our glucose levels and then share them with our doctor on a real time basis; apps to keep track of our hypertension; automated systems in a hospital and an EMR that helps doctors get more insightful information from patients. Technology brings new life into the healthcare world, every single innovation is received with open arms, because it has the potential to change the world and make it better for patients and doctors… for the entire human race.

“Health technology created a more sophisticated, savvy, informed patient… a patient that can actually converse with a doctor, at the same level”

Healthcare technology is here to stay and it is growing, we as a society need to embrace it, because if we do, we will start to win the battle against diseases. Here are five tips to help us potentialise healthcare technology:

1) Use it, don’t be shy: healthcare technology can be complicated and even scary, but it has been developed for patients, so try it, don’t worry if you make mistakes at the beginning. You will become comfortable with it. On the other hand, if you are developing it, please put yourself in the shoes of the patient and consider every step of their journey.

2) Create a team and share: healthcare technology is here not to create “Lone Rangers”, but quite the opposite. Today’s diseases are more complicated to handle. Technology can help us to break up the big problems into smaller ones that are easier to solve. Use the apps, the internet websites, the new CAT scans that now connect to your doctor’s iphone in real time… so that everybody in the healthcare team can have, in real time, up to date accurate information to make decisions on the patient’s health.

3) Talk, talk, talk: this topic was all over the pharma advertising community five years ago with slogans or selling lines like “change the conversation”, “start talking”, “sit down and discuss with your patient”. These phrases have a really powerful message that speaks more to doctors than to patients. We are human beings, we talk. By talking we share everything… so let’s talk, if we see each other as equals and TALK about it, we can accomplish more than by just delivering a one-way conversation. For example, if I have a chronic disease like colon cancer, as a patient, I would like to have all the information about the disease and how small things (like changing my diet & exercise) can help improve my treatment outcomes. Healthcare technology has built that bridge between patients and doctors, so let’s use it.

4) Look to new companies and developers: Bigger is not always better. Technology is available to everyone, especially small companies that have great ideas and the flexibility to move and to create them. Small companies can create amazing technology so move your focus to them. If you are an investor, they present a great opportunity; if you are a big company like Cardinal Health, Welch-Allyn or GE, then use them as your innovation lab and then potentialise the technology with your resources.

5) Innovate: never stop thinking of what could come next. A great idea can come from anyone, anytime, anyplace. If you have a great idea to innovate in the healthcare technology world the resources exists to develop your idea. Who knows, you could develop a way to win the battle with cancer while next taking your shower! We know that we will never be immortal, but healthcare technology will accomplish that our years are spent in better health. The great question is, what will come next?



About the author:

“Innovation distinguishes a leader from a follower.”

Gustavo Pratt has always been on the quest of innovation, change and challenge in the status quo of pharma advertising. His story is very rich and solid in both the creative and strategic environments. He started his career in advertising at BBDO Mexico where he worked on the Pepsi, Gamesa and FedEx accounts. After that, he joined Ammirati Puris Lintas and was in charge of accounts like GE, Nestlé chocolates, Tetra Pak, and Bayer. Later he worked for Bancomer, Sonrics candy, Janssen-Cilag, Volkswagen and McDonald’s at DDB. At Saatchi & Saatchi, he launched SKY Satellite TV in Mexico. Finally, he worked for Young & Rubicam as Creative Director for AT&T and AT&T Latam, Danone and Phillip Morris. Then he ventured as a partner in CMV Advertising (small creative boutique that later turn into a full agency) where he worked for Bally Total Fitness Gyms, Starbucks, Royal & SunAlliance, Reebok, Xerox and Pfizer (Viagra, Detrol, Dostinex & Norvasc). And there a relationship started with GSW to handle the Lilly accounts for Diabetes and CNS, which enabled recognition for the agency in the marketplace and set the course of becoming a full healthcare ad agency.

After participating in three Global Creative Exercises for GSW, Gustavo was “abducted” by GSW to become the VP International Creative Director, responsible for organizing and participating in the Global Creative Waves; also been the link internationally to keep the creative teams together, inspiring them to do great and liberating work. He worked for the global brands of the Lilly Diabetes Franchise, Renagel, Saflutan and Byetta, etc. He created the Global Diabetes Franchise Campaign for Lilly, The Bydureon Global Campaign and also on the Zyprexa and Relprevv global campaigns. He also did creative training for the GSW offices around the world, coordinating creative ideation, execution and production. Then he was selected to lead the new GSW agency in Mexico as General Manager and led the agency to have more 30 brands in 2 years. After that, Gustavo joined the Sudler&Hennessey team as managing director and taking the agency into new creative territory.

Now, following in the footsteps of many entrepreneurs in the industry, Gustavo has decided to open his own agency: *Asterisco. His agency will focus on creative innovation to push the pharma advertising world forward. *Asterisco is currently working with the following clients: AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Genzyme, Lundbeck, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Stendhal, 3M, Liomont, Biomédica de Referencia and Alestra.

Closing thought: What does the future hold for health technology?