2. Preisträger beim Poster Award der GOR 2017!

Digitalization of health: Examining the business potential of a medical self-diagnosis app using an experimental online research approach

Dirk Frank und Manuela Richter, ISM GLOBAL DYNAMICS

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Relevance & Research Question: Digital Health describes a multitude of electronic and internet- based trends and developments in the healthcare sector, having a disruptive impact on all stakeholders: consumers/patients, healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies. The promise of new prospects for value creation goes along with the menace of a future decline of traditional business models in the pharmaceutical industry. Medical apps for self-diagnosis empower patients and consumers, but challenge the traditional routes of diagnosis and medical consultancy provided by professionals. Medical apps provide digital touchpoints and the decision about their use is made autonomously by consumers. Forced-exposure studies can therefore not predict the probability that a health app is used, nor how likely it is that consumers follow a solution proposed by the app (e.g. buying a proposed self-medication product).

Methods & Data: The study implements a quantitative approach to check usage probability of a health app in a given indication and to derive an early forecast of the future business potential for a pharmaceutical product recommended by the app.  Respondents were invited to a “health-related study”, survey flow simulated all steps of the self-diagnosis process including critical drop-out points to measure probabilities for each phase realistically.

Results: The research design provides data for every single step of the customer journey: interest in the health indication, probability to install the app, probability to provide data needed for diagnosis and probability to purchase recommended product – helping companies to assess the impact of health apps for promoting and successfully launching new products or services.

Added Value: Classical concept tests force respondents to evaluate a given stimulus (e.g. a medical app) which almost certainly leads to an overestimation of future usage in the target group. The alternative observational-experimental design used in our study provides more valid input for business planning as all process steps (and potential barriers) are simulated in a realistic manner.