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The Future Of Consumer Healthcare: Unleashing The Power Of AI For a Holistic Approach




Every individual's healthcare journey is deeply personal, even if they have issues that we think of as common, such as back pain or headaches. For instance, someone experiencing chronic back pain may also have accompanying insomnia, anxiety or lack of mobility. Many have all of the above, causing diminished quality of life.

At the same time, the current healthcare system is fragmented, designed to treat individual health issues in siloes rather than addressing them comprehensively. This approach typically forces patients to cobble together whatever solutions they can find for relief but rarely leads to ideal outcomes.

This is why the answer lies with holistic care, and technology now allows consumer health companies to deliver. 

AI is Propelling Consumer Health Toward High-Performance Holistic Solutions

From medication to meditation, consumer health brands are seeing new, exciting opportunities to support individuals by offering highly personalized care in all aspects of health. 

Pharmacogenomics is one avenue that is experiencing huge advancements – examining how your genes affect your body's responses to medications. This type of precision medicine gives pharmaceutical companies and physicians the potential to offer customized drug delivery optimized for the individual, leading to better patient outcomes with less trial and error. 

AI and ML tools are already helping patients become more informed. Amazon's AI-powered voice assistant Alexa is one such tool, aiding users with health-related voice searches and facilitating virtual telehealth provider consultations. Additionally, pharmaceutical giant Roche Diabetes Care has used the power of virtual assistants to introduce Sulli the Diabetes Guru. This voice-activated assistant helps those with Type 2 diabetes manage the condition more effectively. Sulli's advice is based on scientifically validated medical data, offering a comprehensive, easy-to-understand resource for anyone new to a diabetes diagnosis.

These advancements are just the beginning of what technology-fueled holistic care can look like. 

Technology Provides Greater Visibility

AI and machine learning can give brands a deeper, more complete understanding of what customers truly need from their healthcare. 

Companies can now analyze a person's DNA and microbiome to identify nutrition gaps and other easy-to-miss deficiencies that could contribute to fatigue, hair loss or chronic aches.

This kind of AI-powered individualized analysis can be found with brands like Inside Tracker, which utilizes 48 blood biomarkers to provide insights into how to best optimize each person's health. Other companies like Nutrigenomix use genetic testing to help determine how a person's genetics affect their performance, heart health, fertility and overall body composition.

The ability to offer simple tests that can deliver potentially life-changing results is a fantastic opportunity to gain a broad user base and get deep, meaningful user insights. 

Consumer-Centricity Drives Product Innovation

For consumer packaged goods brands, innovation is a critical ingredient for growth. Taking a consumer-centric view opens a wider spectrum of innovation opportunities while creating a sustainable competitive advantage. 

For instance, a pain brand might have a full product catalog addressing different types of pain. However, pain sufferers have many related issues this brand could help alleviate. This opens the door to broadening the brand portfolio to meet additional needs and create a deeper connection with that consumer.

A logical next step is enhancing the physical product offering with digital overlays to provide additional support or enable better outcomes from using the physical products. 

Smoking cessation brand Nicorette is taking this approach. Research shows that it takes an average of seven attempts before a smoker can truly quit, though some may fail at much higher rates. However, offering as much comprehensive, holistic support as possible gives smokers a far better chance of successfully quitting. 

Besides providing a range of physical products, Nicorette now offers an app that teaches smokers new behaviors at their own pace, helping them manage and reduce nicotine cravings over the long term until they no longer need Nicorette products

Retail Can Play a Major Role

Retailers also have a major opportunity to curate holistic solution sets for customers. Most organize products by category, so solutions may be spread across multiple aisles and behind the pharmacy counter. This means customers must do a lot of legwork to find treatments for issues like chronic pain and its comorbidities. 

Retailers can delight customers by curating their offerings for convenience and simplicity. These solutions can be delivered by bringing a digital overlay to the retail experience, offering virtual consultation tools with product suggestions across an array of interrelated issues. This approach offers the kind of support that creates deep brand loyalty and creates’ competitive advantage.

Holistic Care Opens Doors For Powerhouse Partnerships

Collaboration is the key to enhancing brand loyalty, cultivating a sustainable competitive advantage and building better solutions that add genuine user value. By opting for partnerships focusing on boosting an individual's overall well-being instead of only treating isolated issues, brands can create transformative experiences to elevate the industry. 

A recent example is Unilever's partnership with gut microbiome researchers at Holobiome. The brands are working together to identify food ingredients that could target the gut-brain axis to improve mental well-being, which could profoundly impact how we treat mental health.

Pharmaceutical giant Bayer is a major manufacturer of women’s health products. They’ve partnered with Pollie, a startup with a mobile app helping women manage complex conditions like PCOS. This is a great example of how bringing a digital overlay to a physical product delivers better patient outcomes.

Technology is Empowering a Holistic Future

Leading consumer health giants are already embracing integrating physical and digital health solutions to provide a more holistic healthcare approach, and AI is taking a prime role in this evolution. 

Brands that have yet to venture into AI-powered holistic care are missing out on a critical opportunity for innovation and growth. Merely existing as a product on a store shelf makes a brand susceptible to being replaced. In such a fast-paced and changeable industry, it is vital to a company's success to establish an indispensable role in consumers' everyday lives with a multifaceted experience. 

Marni Allen, CMO at Bioniq, a health platform offering bespoke nutrition supplements worldwide. Named one of EY UK's 50 Women to Watch in 2022, passionate consumer marketeer and innovator with 23+ years of strong business expertise in consumer and precision health.