From tech giants to Instagram influencers, this week's Insider News is all about the impact technology and social media are having on the health care industry. Learn about Walmart's new low price clinics, AI technology by Amazon that could see use in health care, and how the FDA is studying Instagram celebrities' influence on the way people perceive Rx drugs.
Walmart's effort to grab a share of the $3.6-trillion in health spending includes trying to leverage its 150 million weekly shoppers. Its Walmart Health centers offer $30 medical checkups, $25 teeth cleanings and meeting with a counselor for $1 a minute. While Walmart hasn’t said how many clinics it plans to build, it signaled the health center expansion is one of its top growth initiatives, pitting the retailer against CVS HealthHubs, while creating a new front in its battle against Amazon.
The retailer is testing two AI-based systems to handle incoming shopper inquiries. One fields requests from customers automatically and without human intervention, while the other helps human service agents respond more quickly and easily than its previously used flow chart system. The automated agents use machine learning rather than rules and refer requests they can’t handle to human representatives, enabling them to tackle a broader range of interactions.
While previous research examined how different types of social media influencers impacted purchase intentions, the FDA's Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) will explore how direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads featuring product endorsers affect consumer's perceptions of prescription drugs, and whether disclosing payment impacts consumer reactions.
The agency plans to launch two studies focusing on four different types of endorsers: celebrities, social media influencers, patients and physicians. FDA said it's interested in the role celebrity endorsements play in consumers' "benefit and risk perceptions, and behavioral intentions," including whether or not a consumer is prompted to speak with a doctor about the product.