Newtown, PA — Every week, our contributors send in tons of great finds – from a how a new generation is handling midlife crises, to the radical shifts in how primary care is being delivered around the world, to how mood recognition is creating entirely new experiences in the living room. Here are a few of the very best we’re reading right now:

Fun hospital visits & MRI scans for kids

Jen Oleski and one of her favorite clients shared this video about how GE transformed MRI machines to create a better experience for kids. It’s a great example how simple shifts in design and tone can transform healthcare from scary to almost fun.


To get users to make smarter choices now, show them their future

Lynn Longbrake spotted this new tool that helps people project their “future selves.” In financial services, the results are designed to be jarring – an often-needed scare into better long-term thinking, but in healthcare, she says, they could focus on the positive potential of better decisions. Fair warning – the results of this particular simulator can be pretty upsetting. I did it myself, but I’m only posting the promotional sample photo:

“In a series of experiments conducted by a team from NYU, Microsoft Research, and Stanford, researchers showed people either a present-day or digitally aged photo of themselves and asked them how much of their income they would allocate to retirement savings. People who saw their aged photos said they would allocate more money to savings–6.17% compared to 4.41%. The aged photos helped people more vividly imagine their futures, which made those futures seem more tangible. They also increased people’s sense of self-continuity–the psychological connectedness they felt with their future selves.” Full article.


iQ Intel

Jude Divierte has been tracking the predictions coming out of Intel and PSFK. One big shift he’s expecting is media that can actually respond to his mood. From simple shifts like Netflix suggesting a movie based on your current emotions to a much more complex interconnected household. He explains, “In the home of the future, you walk into your house and a sound-capturing device will recognize a dog barking for over five minutes. A facial recognition hardware will sense frustration. The voice command tool you use to turn on the TV will confirm your high level of anxiety. Then when you start watching a show, you’ll see commercial offers targeted to your current experience, like dog training programs offered through national pet store chains.” Take a look at the lab.


Squeezing out the doctor

This Economist piece is the best article we’ve read lately about the massive evolution of how healthcare is delivered – from the medical home model in the United States to new medical degrees and deeper teams in India.

” Whereas America’s overall labour productivity has increased by 1.8% annually for the past two decades, the figure for health care has declined by 0.6% each year,” according to Robert Kocher of the Brookings Institution and Nikhil Sahni, until recently of Harvard University. But it is in poor countries that the interest in alternative ways of training doctors and alternatives to doctors themselves has produced the most innovation.” Full article.


The Pixel Painter

Katie Beller was moved by this man’s story of personal creativity. Hal was a graphic artist back in days when everything was done by hand. Long after he retired and lost much of his eyesight, his family introduced him to Microsoft paint and he got back to work, creating images that are a mix between pointillism and 8-Bit art.


Generation X gets really old: How do slackers have a midlife crisis?

Our friends at Edelman shared this fascinating article about how a new generation is handling middle age and the key cultural shifts that have shaped their lives and expectations so far.

“And one thing that’s clear: No one else is going to care that we’re moving into red-Ferrari territory. Sure we’ve been screwed. And there may be no Ellsberg in our bunch, but we drank plenty of American Dream Kool-Aid: the idea of real estate being a good investment, the platitude about working hard and getting a good education to secure a solid footing, and the assurance that you need to follow your dreams and not compromise. We are now the most educated American generation – and the first one not doing better than its parents.” Full article.


Changing the definition of “cancer” isn’t going to be a cure-all

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the recommendation made in The Journal of the American Medical Association that we redefine cancer. Evan Fleischer at Qz put together an interesting point of view on why the change might be foolhardy.

“There is the medical reality to consider. Anything that encourages greater accuracy in understanding and treating disease is worthy of our attention. But simply changing the words without the necessary dialogue will likely leave patients sick as well as confused.” Full article.


Nearly half of all video-gamers are women

Dave Sonderman shared this proof that gaming is changing experience for everyone:

“According to the “2013 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry” report, produced by the Entertainment Software Association, 45% of all game players, and 46% of the most frequent purchasers of games, are female. Adult women make up 31% of the game-playing population.” Full article.


Talia Castellano, the world’s most inspiring CoverGirl, dies of cancer at 13

Talia Castellano, the 13-year-old honorary CoverGirl who inspired and entertained hundreds of thousands with her fighting spirit and her YouTube makeup tutorials, died earlier this month. Very sad end to an inspiring story. But, also a very good example of how a brand can be empathetic and connected when a beloved spokesperson dies. Full article.


Obamacare’s other surprise

Bobbi Casey Howell spotted this big surge in healthcare startups spawned by a combination of the new healthcare regulations, incentives in the recovery act for doctors, and the shift to electronic medical records.

“We’ll just have to wait and see whether the Affordable Care Act, as the health care law is officially known, surprises us on the downside. But there is one area where the law already appears to be surprising on the upside. And that is the number of health care information start-ups it’s spurring. This is a big deal.” Full article.


Posted by: Leigh Householder

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.