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Delivering digital value

Improving outcomes, the digital responsibility

Lucid Toby O'BrienNot many people know that the first email was sent by Ray Tomlinson - to himself - in 1971, before the world-wide web was invented. This first message created the @ symbol and many of the features we see in email today. This is an early example of something 'digital' being synonymous with 'innovation'. There are countless more.

However, some digital initiatives fail. Incredibly good technologies have been developed but few users download them - for example, iTunes and Google Play have a graveyard of healthcare apps. Why do some succeed while others fail? I believe it is because technology must address a customer need to be truly innovative. In the healthcare industry, there is sometimes the assumption that digital and innovation are the same thing, and that if we do something digital, we innovate. But do we always work hard to understand the customer's real need?

At Lucid, our goal is to make a difference to patients' lives. Our focus is therefore not on how much digital we can pack into a medical educational programme, but on how much value we can add to a programme by doing things digitally, so that we change clinical behaviour and ultimately help the patient.

We use digital to:

  • Identify our audience
  • Deliver appropriately
  • Measure outcomes.

Identify our audience
We no longer have to rely on in-person surveys to understand our target audiences. Instead, we have developed approaches that help us record and track the performance of our programmes, so that we can identify challenges such as poor understanding of content and low content retention. This allows us modify the delivery of our programmes, utilising the channels that our audiences access for education.

In addition, we've created questionnaires that help us to understand where people are in their implementation of a particular behaviour change - whether they are becoming more aware of the change required, trying to change, or implementing change regularly in their practice. This allows us to further tailor our medical education for a better effect.

How do we answer the question: How does this help us to change behaviour to ultimately help the patient?

Deliver appropriately
Once our audience is identified, digital provides us with opportunities to enhance the ongoing education experience. We aim to support the audience, from understanding learning habits, to creating reminders that emphasise key data through animations, to best-practice toolkits tailored for an individual's circumstances.

Measure outcomes
We track the success of our programmes so that we can evolve our approach. We record outcomes by measuring healthcare professionals' self-reported actions through applications, and by creating simple audits and post-consultation patient questionnaires.

The future
In the coming years, technology will allow us to track patients more easily, enabling us to measure changes in symptoms, quality of life and well-being resulting from intervention by a healthcare professional. We will be able to record patients' data through smart-watches and remotely address their needs, track medicine adherence through smart pills, and automatically call an ambulance for a stroke through an app.

The immediate future of digital in our industry - the future that we can affect right now - can be improved by understanding our audiences' needs better, delivering appropriately, and learning from our programmes to increase the effectiveness of medical education and so ultimately improve patients' lives.

At Lucid, our ethos is to create 'no nonsense', evidence-based, multi-channel education that always, without exception, adds value.

Toby O'Brien is digital services director at Lucid. Contact him on +44 (0)20 3837 4564, via or visit 

In association with Lucid

6th April 2016

From: Marketing



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