O2 readies consumer health push

O2 Health, the one-year-old healthcare division of Telefónica-owned O2, will launch its first ever consumer marketing push later this year alongside a new home healthcare product to be made available direct to patients.

o2

The brand will shift its marketing focus later this year to consumers with the introduction of a mobile alternative to the panic buttons supplied by care services to frail and elderly people in their homes.

According to O2 Health managing director Keith Nurcombe: “To date that marketing has always been facing the NHS, but when we launch this proposition in the second half of the year direct to consumers we will obviously make the O2 Health brand consumer-facing.”

The new product will be available to younger people who do not currently have access to panic buttons from health authorities, as well as to older patients.

O2 Health’s core business is to provide technology to hospital and community workers in both the NHS and private health companies to make them more efficient. Examples include digital pens, which convert handwritten notes into digital data that is then sent to hospital record systems to cut down on retyping.

O2 Health’s previous marketing has included awards sponsorship and trade advertising directed at primary care trusts, hospitals and healthcare professionals. Nurcombe says O2 has not received resistance to the brand’s move into health.

Separately, Virgin Management, which determines business strategy for the Virgin Group, is planning the introduction of the Virgin brand into its healthcare business, Assura Medical.

Though no firm decision has been taken to rebrand Assura Medical, Virgin Management corporate development director Gaurav Batra says: “One day our aspiration is that people will know the Virgin brand as one that delivers high-quality care within the NHS.” Virgin already has a health incentives brand in the US, Virgin Health Miles.

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