Digital Patient Engagement done the right way with MyHealth1st

On October 2, 2017 I published via Linkedin the article “Finally, truly targeted and meaningful advertising” which followed 1stGroup signing an important partnership with Australia’s most trusted health industry media company, Tonic Health Media. 1st Group’s business model around “advertising” is aligned directly with improving patient health literacy, in collaboration with its healthcare clients. We want to avoid patients self-diagnosing with Dr. Google and encourage patients to understand the benefits of early intervention and preventative care. This latter point is made extremely clear in a presentation I gave at the May 2018 HCF Catalyst “Demo Day” pitches to an audience of 500 – view it by clicking here on the video below:

Over the past three weeks there have been various revelations about one of our major competitors regarding alleged privacy breaches, modified patient reviews and now data breaches leading that company to announce publicly that they are making changes to their business model.

On Tuesday 26th June, 1st Group released an announcement on the ASX commenting on its own patient data privacy policy to reassure customers, partners and shareholders that 1st Group’s MyHealth1st platform operates appropriately. The Directors stated that they are “pleased to advise and confirm that 1st Group has always had in place, and rigorously manages, well established, lawful and ethical policies and controls that respect patients' privacy and data via its MyHealth1st platform”.

As I have stated publicly,

“People booking through our MyHealth1st platform do so because they are either worried or ill, and as such, are more vulnerable, so we really must be very sensitive to this. It is therefore paramount that we protect the interests and data of all parties, and it is this sensitivity that has shaped our privacy, data collection policies and business model

Clear, explicit and specific informed consent, ensuring complete transparency, is what patients and all online consumers expect when their information might be shared with a third party. This isn’t only a legal requirement, it is also an ethical one. And at no times should a patient’s consult details EVER be disclosed to anyone except the healthcare service provider whom they are seeing.

Healthcare practices struggle to educate, market to and engage their patients. It is completely legal and appropriate for a practice to market to their patients. Marketing campaigns include things like vaccinations for flu season and regular preventative care programs including services like teeth cleaning/whitening. Practices have the obligation of obtaining the appropriate consents from patients to contact them via email and SMS, and our company’s platform is specifically designed and built to assist with these compliance processes.

We see our platform MyHealth1st providing practices an opportunity to help educate patients about their choices; simplifying the referral process to specialists; and improving patient health literacy through comprehensive education programs which are conducted with a practice’s consent, and in collaboration with them.

A great example of this is how we help our Optometry practice clients introduce the opportunity for contact lenses to their patients. This comprehensive program was funded by a contact lens pharmaceutical organization, however each and every practice that was invited to be a part of it, had to opt-in to the program. We had strong take up of the initial campaign by practices. The basic principle of the program was to encourage the patient to discuss the option of contact lenses during their consult with the optometrist. The program engaged patients prior, during and post their appointments. Brand choice was led entirely by the clinical recommendation of the optometrist.

Internationally, 25% of people who wear glasses also wear contact lenses. But in Australia it is around 5%. Our campaign demonstrated that we were able to lift that to an average of 21% for practices on the program. A win for all stakeholders including patients who benefit from this option of improving their lifestyle. At no time did our platform share ANY patient personal details with a third party. See below just one element of the current workings of the campaign process in the MyHealth1st platform during the online appointment booking process, and note the very clear and transparent communications with the patient:

This online booking question was also coupled with online patient education content which you can view by clicking here.

At 1stGroup we have always been careful to develop our MyHealth1st platform and business model to ensure that we align ourselves with the interests of patients and the healthcare providers who adopt our solutions. We also operate our platform to the highest available security standards, a necessary overhead for any serious online business. 

As a company we continue to develop our online health content in response to our customers needs and navigate carefully how patients are engaged through our platform. We see this as a natural and sensible business opportunity and one that when executed properly, should drive excellent healthcare outcomes for all stakeholders, especially patients.

Klaus Bartosch
Managing Director/CEO at 1stGroup Ltd

Start engaging your patients the right way