Ritesh Patel brings back faith in the world of marketing and healthcare with his smiling presence and extraordinary knowledge. He has been part of marketing evolution as he has over two decades of experience working in digital media, web, information technology, and operations in healthcare, retail, and hospitality industries.

Apart from founding two companies: Hospitality Perspectives and Avivocom (which has been meanwhile rebranded as Live Advizor) he has also held many senior-level positions in the technology arena including SVP, managing director for the digital division of HealthEd, a healthcare education company located in Clark; global lead, digital and social at Chandler Chicco Companies, a global healthcare communications group in New York City; and global chief information officer for Euro RSCG in New York City (now Havas Worldwide).

At Technology for Marketing his keynote lecture reminded us that now it is the moment to invest in AR and VR for healthcare and how the healthcare industry is grasping the power of digital and creating a better experience for their digital-enabled customers.

Milena Milicevic: Dear Ritesh, at TFMA we had the opportunity to hear from you how pharma companies transform their customer experience with new apps, techs, social media, as well as AR and VR.

What are in your opinion three major trends in healthcare that you would urge professionals to build their business around?

Ritesh Patel: I think number one is about creating content that can work across all the platforms. If you are creating content, make sure that you are using technology that is able to play on Google Cardboard as well as high-end HTC Vive. Otherwise they will not allow you to charge more money to keep creating content on different platforms.

The second one is about figuring out what is immersive about this. Don’t just make it a video or 3D you really need to think about what that experience looks like.

And the last one is the story: What is the story that you are trying to tell? Really think about that story.

Milena Milicevic: Can you name some of the best models of synergy of AR and VR in the sectors of healthcare and pharmaceuticals? We heard about several ones in your lecture at TFMA; maybe you can pinpoint one or two of them that really blew your mind.

Ritesh Patel: The big one was around having patients experience migraine. It was Excedrin example I showed. If you suffer from migraine, you do not think that people understand. They just think that you are having a headache. It was actually great to be able to use Augmented and Virtual Reality and to show your loved ones, ‘‘This is what happens to me and my migraine is very, very powerful.’’

Milena Milicevic: The big topic these days is cyber security and privacy issues of users in the realm of big data. Where is the fine line between bio-tech and pharmaceutical companies relying of users’ data for the sake of advanced research and respecting clients’ privacy?

Ritesh Patel: I think it is two-fold. From the research perspective, it is a good thing. What they do is creating medicines for diseases that are really getting bigger and bigger every day. If I need to give up the piece of my data so that the research can get new medicines, I am ok with that. I think where the fine line is in using it for marketing, using it to send you promotions.

I do not think it is the right thing to do. It is about human lives, not selling a toy. Right? You are actually looking at information on a very personal level. People need to be very mindful of the data itself. But for research I think it is going to be a right thing and governments can allow that.

Milena Milicevic: Can we expect from your company to engage more in research projects in the future?

Ritesh Patel: Yes, we are helping our clients identifying patients for research and raising awareness of the clinical trials for instance because it is very important for us as humans to be able to do that. If you participate in a trial, you are actually helping save somebody else’s life. So, it can’t be that bad.

Milena Milicevic: How do you stay on top of industry information throughout the day? It must be very hectic? Which blogs and websites do you read regularly?

Ritesh Patel: I sleep four hours a day; that is one of my secrets. I do not why but I do, and I consume everything. I have my mobile phone on all the time and I follow amazing people on Twitter who tweet great things and I read in the evenings. One tool that I do use is Scoop.it. Scoop.it gives me the capability of creating keywords of topics that I want to follow and curate it from the web so that I can quickly go through the topics I want to read about during breakfast. And it really works well.

Milena Milicevic: Thank you for the interview!

Ritesh Patel: Thank you!