Apple recently released a report reviewing the company’s healthcare accomplishments and future opportunities. The report contains information about how Apple technology breaks down barriers between users and their health information to empower users on their personal health journey. 

This represents a monumental shift in power dynamics between HCPs and patients.  

Patients, equipped with holistic personal health data, may establish their role as  the  expert in their own health. They will have more intimate knowledge and connection to their bodies and their needs. They can control what and how much they share, and with whom. Not only will they have more data at their fingertips (or on their wrists), but they will have access to new interventions and ideas that they can implement on their own to support their health – without always needing to consult their physicians. 

This has the potential to undermine the role and expertise of HCPs. But it doesn’t have to. We can redefine and amplify the role of HCPs in how they help patients achieve optimal outcomes. Here are a few considerations: 

·         Patients will need guidance on how to interpret their health data and what it means for them. It will be easy for them to get overwhelmed by all the data, and difficult to prioritize which data points are most critical for their health management. HCPs can mitigate their information overload and help them understand the most critical information. 

·         HCPs can be more strategic in how they spend their time, as they will no longer be hunting down data to support their recommendations. Doctors can test and iterate and get granular to see what is working with a patient and what they should try next. 

·         More than ever, an HCP’s recommendation holds credence. Their encouragement to use an app, or even recommending a specific app and explaining the benefit to the patient, will help people focus on meaningful actions and drive greater utilization and engagement. They can also help patients make sense of their health status in comparison to other patients like them. 

 The opportunity to amplify HCPs will also create resistance to change. Based on our expertise in behavioral science, we know that it will be critical to:  

·         Support physicians’ need for mastery. They need to feel confident in how to best work with their patients to interpret and act on the data, and how this enables them to enhance their clinical care. This will reinforce their motivation to embrace new data and implement it into their treatment routines. 

·         Reinforce their sense of purpose. HCPs are experts in how to guide their patients toward optimal health. Demonstrating their unique value will strengthen HCP perceptions of how to achieve the best possible outcomes. 


About the Author:

Kathy Moriarty, MSW, Director, Behavioral Strategy, has over 12 years of experience in the life science and marketing industries. Her career has spanned providing care directly to patients, to developing strategic marketing plans and deliverables, to applying behavioral science insights to address audiences’ needs and challenges.

Kathy’s therapeutic expertise includes oncology, chronic kidney disease, narcolepsy, obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and mental health conditions. She is experienced in supporting behavior change on both a micro and macro level, including defining key behavioral challenges and identifying evidence-based techniques to drive change. 

Kathy has an MSW from Loyola University Chicago. She has worked as a therapist at a community-based mental health clinic and at an employee assistance program. She has also worked in marketing and advertising at companies including at IQVIA and evoke micromass.