Recently, Environics Research hosted the first in a series of discussion events that will bring together thought leaders from our various practice areas, to share insights and build a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities that organizations in their industry are facing.

This first event was hosted by our Health and Wellness practice, to discuss how the expectation economy is disrupting this industry in Canada – and the solutions that are being developed for today’s technology-driven consumers.

The thoughtful discussions were guided by our Client Service Director Donna Hui; and included insights from the Environics Research team, as well as industry-leading organizations, including, PillyCanada Health InfowayMEMOTEXTMindBEACONYogaMD and MaRS Discovery District. We’ve gathered together some of those thoughts and insights for those that were unable to make it out to this incredibly interesting afternoon.

The Opening Presentation – Health and Wellness in the Expectation Economy

We kicked things off with an in-depth presentation from our own VP of Health and Wellness Vijay Wadhawan and VP of Market Strategy Susan Seto on how new technologies have changed the consumer landscape, and what that means for the health and wellness industry from a social values perspective.

Panel Discussion 1 – Developing Platforms for Rich Customer Experiences

Having broken down the current state of the industry and identified the values that are driving it forward, we moved on to our first panel discussion of the day, with Canada Health Infoway Executive VP of Digital Health Engagement and Marketing Shelagh Maloney, and Pilly CEO Ahmad Elkalza, to talk about developing rich platforms for health and wellness customer experiences.

In terms of managing customer expectations, Ahmad noted that, while simplicity is key to building a patient-centric user experience, one of the most important aspects of innovating in the health and wellness space is building trust and demonstrating that trust to your customers so they feel comfortable adopting new platforms.

Another key takeaway came from Shelagh, who pointed out that the biggest difference between building a health platform today and 10 years ago is the involvement of patients, as they are the stakeholders that are the most incentivized to want change.

Panel Discussion 2 – Bridging the Health & Wellness Chasm with Digital & Wellness Solutions

The afternoon continued with our second panel presentation, to talk about the use of digital solutions to bridge gaps in the health and wellness industry. Our three panel guests included MEMOTEXT CEO Amos Adler, MindBEACON Chair and CEO Samuel Duboc, and YogaMD Founder Dr. Shailla Vaidya.

This discussion moved through a variety of topics, including the many barriers to bridging healthcare gaps, and how to go about engaging customers and raise awareness of new products. Here, Sam explained how his engagement approach focuses on the enterprise level. By working with companies and HR professionals, his company is able to engage with many patients’ point of access for healthcare – their employer.

Moving back to the topic of the rapidly changing health and wellness space, Shailla walked us through how her conversations with patients have changed in the past 10 years. Today, while there are still concerns about privacy – especially from an older demographic – more and more, conversations are shifting toward talking about new apps and alternative health solutions in the doctor’s office.

The conversation continued, with our panelists giving their thoughts on the right market strategy to use in this space, including ideas on thought leadership, as well as ways of demonstrating value to patients. Amos brought the discussion back to a values-based approach by highlighting the importance of targeting populations by their condition incidence rate, and looking at the values associated with segments within those populations in order to find the right message.

Final Thoughts on The Future of Health and Wellness in Canada

The final portion of our event was a one-on-one conversation on the future of the health and wellness industry in Canada, between VP of Health and Wellness Vijay Wadhawan and MaRS Discovery District Managing Director of Heath Venture Services Ying Tam.

The conversation included Ying’s thoughts on a number of questions, ranging from where the Canadian health and wellness industry sits on the world stage in terms of the expectation economy, to the biggest barriers he sees regarding new healthcare solutions. Overall, Ying mentioned that Canada’s health and wellness space still has a long way to go in terms of moving toward a customer-centric model; and that, in order to move forward, large private corporations need to get involved and be provided with more incentive to move further toward patient-centric care.

This Evolving Health and Wellness Space event was informative, interesting and engaging – and we look forward to more events in this series in the coming months. We want to thank all those who attended for contributing to the insightful discussion that made the event such a success. We would also like to give a special thanks to all our panel participants and the industry-leading organizations they represented.

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