Written by Ed Sharp, VP Client Partnerships

In 2018 the average UK adult spent an astonishing 9 hours, 23 minutes each day watching, streaming, reading and listening to media and half of this consumption was via digital platforms (source: eMarketer), so it’s no surprise, that whether you are a patient searching for information regarding symptoms, or a healthcare professional looking for the latest information on a new drug, you will probably do this online.

Given how time-poor most doctors are, it’s also no surprise that 76% of physicians surveyed recently by Capgemini stated that they prefer to receive information about new drugs, products and indications “digitally” rather than face to face.

Despite the very high levels of digital usage and literacy, patients still find healthcare a subject that’s complicated and hard to understand. In England, according to the NHS, between 43% and 61% of working age adults routinely do not understand the healthcare information they are given. So the need to create channels that explain healthcare issues and solutions in simple and sympathetic ways is of vital importance.

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At WIREWAX we are starting to see just how interactive video has a powerful role to play in healthcare communications. We believe it’s because video is such a familiar and well-established medium, so older people and anyone less digitally savvy will feel comfortable watching a video, whilst on the other hand, the interactivity we can add to video enables any topic to be explored in great detail by the viewer.

So for example, using interactive video, a pharmaceutical company could create short video on the launch of a new drug or recent advances in a particular therapy (and videos always need to be short to maintain viewer interest) but by asking the viewer to tap on the video at certain points, they can open up further layers of rich information on the topic. This tapping on the screen could open up a white paper on the topic (that could then be downloaded out of the video), or perhaps the click might lead to a relevant website or perhaps another video where a particular expert delivers further and more detailed information.

We currently hear a lot about the “attention deficit economy”. There’s so much information being thrown at us during those nine hours of daily media consumption, that we are all hard pressed to remember much of what we have just watched. One of the strengths of interactive video is that the action of tapping on the screen means that the viewer is more actively engaged in the content of the video and is not blankly looking at the screen. They are being prompted to take an action.

Recent WIREWAX campaigns have highlighted three specific benefits of interactive video: driving awareness, education and action.

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Our recent US “What’s In A Vape” campaign for the Federal Drug Administration uses a “gaming style” interactive video to build awareness amongst a teen audience (who are the fastest growing group of vapers) of the hidden dangers of vaping.

Our new campaign for GSK’s Voltarol pain relief product uses interactive hotspots to not just highlight suggested use cases for application but educates consumers on specific exercises they can take to reduce back pain. One could argue that in this instance interactive video not only offers use cases for Voltarol but adds significant value to the brand by delivering general therapeutic advice.

WIREWAX’s Public Health England campaign launched on Mental Health Day in October 2018 forms part of the integrated “Every Mind Matters” initiative by the NHS where the overall objective is that 1 million members of the public should be better informed to look after their own mental health and support others. Using our video branching technology and easy to navigate menus, the campaign shows experts and members of the public discussing common mental health issues such as stress and sleeping issues and then encourages viewers in a very practical way how to take specific actions to improve their mental health.

All in all, these are strong examples of an industry which is now rapidly digitising its approach to patient communication and interactive video is perfectly placed to revolutionise the experience for all parties involved.