NEW YORK — As healthcare and technology become increasingly enmeshed, industry marketers are anticipating a major overhaul of the way they do business — so much so that, a few years from now, a chief marketing job may require vastly different skills than it does today, according to a new study by the agency Affect, which specializes in the field.

“Patients want much more convenience and technology and healthcare organizations are trying to respond. Marketers are in the middle of all that — they have to keep on trend, they have to communicate with patients and they have to leverage technology on top of that,” said Melissa Baratta, an Affect senior VP and healthcare practice lead.

Accomplishing that, she said, has some healthcare marketers believing that, in the near future, CMO jobs will look a lot like today's CIO jobs — or be shared among several people.

That takeaway is based on Affect’s survey of senior healthcare execs from organizations including Illumina, MDxHealth, Pfizer and Phoenix Children’s Hospital, who “overwhelmingly” said that technology, more than any other factor, will have the greatest impact on the industry in 2018, Baratta said.

Affect, in turn, leveraged those conversations to identify five priorities for healthcare marketers in the year ahead.  They are:

  • Using social media to strengthen consumer engagement
  • Creating customized, compelling content across platforms
  • Being more creative in advancing media relations
  • Using immersive technologies, like VR, in campaigns
  • Tying marketing more closely to business and financial metrics

Baratta said she believes taking such steps will quickly become critical as patients increasingly use technology as part of their healthcare.

Telemedicine, which involves patients interacting with doctors using platforms like Facetime, and giving consumers access to electronic health records are two of the major developments fueling the change.