With the confluence of ground breaking technologies, we are entering into an ultra high-tech era that we call the post digital world. The effect of this transformation is vividly reflected in the pharmaceutical sector while pushing its potential to the edges.

Digital marketing has disrupted the conventional face of the pharma industry. With the introduction of innovative technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), pharma industry is witnessing a revolutionary change in its approach towards marketing. From educating doctors to supplementing surgical manoeuvres to empowering the pharmaceutical sales force, AR applications will provide real value to patients and healthcare professionals alike.

Augmented Reality is a live direct or indirect view of the real world whose elements are augmented or supplementedusing computer simulated inputs such as sound, video, graphics and GPS data. In lay man terms, augmented reality or virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one. A few years back, AR was the main content of science fiction movies and games, but with the advent of technologies like Google glass and Oculus VR, it has now become accessible in the real world.

Google Glass: Google Glass is a type of wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD). It was developed by Google X with the mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Google Glass displays information in a smart phone-like hands-free format.

Oculus VR: Oculus VR is an American virtual reality technology company founded by Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe. Their first product, still in development, is the Oculus Rift, a head-mounted display for immersive technology virtual reality (VR).

With a considerable portion of the global population now having access to smart phones and tablets equipped with a camera and high speed internet access, these 3D interactive displays are suddenly a viable mass-marketing medium. However, many people find augmented reality to be a clever approach, but few find the technology useful and viable owing to the mass hype associated with it!

Pharmaceutical Industry has always taken a back seat when it comes to pro-active marketing, owing to the numerous regulation in place. However technology always finds its way to accommodate itself within the regulations. Some classic examples of the employment of augmented reality in this avenue would be

  • Enabling patients to see what is going to happen inside their body or how certain drugs work inside one’s body.
  • Helping doctors get a better understanding of each and every step of a procedure or treatment would be another usage of AR.
  • Empowering patients by enabling effective engagement with them through the experiential approach.

When it comes to marketing, today’s consumer no longer believes in static information. They want to interact, visualise and know it for themselves, how a certain thing is going to work, or proceed. And healthcare being a very personalised and sensitive subject, the consumer’s expectation is generally high, thus raising the bar. Today’s consumers want information first hand, and the only way to achieve it, is by making them experience it! The only thing limiting pharma’s use of AR now is our imaginations. The technology has reached the point where the possibilities are endless.

Below is a video where Dr. Suzanna of Genzyme explains potential use of augmented reality. Genzyme has used AR to explain calcification of heart.

Video Source: www.medicalvision.de