Archive for the ‘Mobile Health’ Category

Deeper Relationships in Pharma: The “Give To Get” Side of Marketing, Part II

Recently I wrote about the idea of “Give To Get” marketing, the premise that you need to give value to your prospective customers before you ask them for their business.

To further reinforce this topic, I want to share a compelling story that a physician friend of mine shared over breakfast:

Laughing, she said, “I had an interesting experience yesterday with a rep. As you know, I’m hardball with sales reps. I rarely give them time. I walked in the back door to my office yesterday morning, and there were eight reps standing there, waiting. The office manager had told them there would be another doctor who would sign for their samples. I walked in, waving my hand, and said hi to everybody. I told them I would not be able to talk to anybody but that I would happily sign for their samples.”

This doctor is the highest-producing physician in her practice. Just having her sign for their samples is a big deal to these pharmaceutical sales reps.

repsShe marched right through to her office – with a smile the whole time – and closed the door. A few minutes later, the office manager came in with eight different signature devices. The doctor dutifully signed for them and handed them back to the office manager. It was at that point that the office manager handed her a piece of literature from one of the reps. She had a hunch that the doctor would find it interesting. And it did catch her attention.

“Okay, I want to see this rep. She’s got 30 seconds but I’m willing to see her.”

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The Future of Pharma: Revolution? Really…?

Revolution often begins quietly, at the edges. By the time the mainstream recognizes what is happening, the change is virtually unstoppable. Only in hindsight can one glimpse the seeds of change taking root in the least obvious places. The Arab Spring that rocked countries from Tunisia to Egypt started years earlier as pent up frustration in the alleys and markets of northern Africa. Apple’s domination of multiple consumer electronics industries began with the beautiful but quirky iPod music player.

Behind the headlines of healthcare reform we see seeds of change taking root that may have a similarly profound impact – changes that will create many new markets and that will potentially challenge the very foundation on which pharma is built.

It’s hard to overestimate the impact of the healthcare revolution that’s coming in the next decade. Let’s look at some of the emerging technologies that could lead to remarkable changes in how healthcare is bought, sold and delivered.

The Advent of Synthetic Genes

DNA HelixI recently met Craig Venter, the scientist who was the first person to map the human genome. His aptly named company, Synthetic Genomics is building on his successful attempt to synthesize a gene. I had the opportunity to visit his laboratory and see a few of his current projects. Craig is forging an intersection between biology and the digital world. He’s not only working on the genome, he’s turning it into digital content.

According to Craig, now that he can synthesize genes, he can turn the genetic instructions embedded in the DNA into a digital file and literally email a gene. “If there is someone at the other end who has a properly equipped wet lab, they can take the digital content that I’ve given them and then turn that back into a biological gene.” This could revolutionize the way we respond to outbreaks of disease, develop tailor-made diagnostics and create targeted therapies.

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Stepping into Your Customers’ Shoes

Physicians are justifiably skeptical when a drug rep walks in the door. The relationship is purely transactional. The rep wants the doc to commit to writing more of whatever the rep is selling. The doctor is late for her next appointment.

There is an alternative however. It requires a great deal of patience and a willingness to take the long view, something not every sales organization is ready to do. There is the potential to create a competitive advantage in the market by stepping away from the hard sell long enough to determine, “What are the challenges facing this practice right now and how can we solve them?”

This attempt at true understanding is a great deal more effective than just trying to persuade the overworked doc to write more of your drugs. Although it may take a few months to persuade a physician of the sincerity of this question, it has the potential for changing the nature of the relationship.

Pharma needs to move beyond simple product promotion and much more towards long-term relationship building and thought leadership recognition. Brands need to position themselves as partners with physicians, not just as the manufacturer. Technology can be an enabler to help brand teams do just that.

Using Technology to Help Physicians Quickly and Effectively Diagnose a Patient

Most doctors are extremely busy. One of their biggest challenges is getting to a diagnosis as quickly as possible. Often they have only fifteen minutes with each patient…

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When the right platform presents itself, jump on and go!

The PC and then the Internet technology revolutions disrupted nearly every industry. Sectors like travel, bookstores, and even mapmaking were turned on their heads. But one industry has been impervious to technology reengineering. Healthcare providers have been largely intransigent in their resistance to adoption of information technology solutions that could enhance care, provide transparency of information, and support better physician-patient communication. Conventional wisdom held that doctors were by nature technology laggards.

But maybe they were simply waiting for the right technology.

A new study shows that 75% of physicians now own an Apple device. Doctors who at best would hunt and peck a PC keyboard are now swiping and swishing their way through Physician using iPadmedical information databases, patient records, and therapy 3D animations for their patients. They are integrating iPads into electronic medical records to prove “meaningful use” and reviewing health apps to recommend. Apple has even announced a new section of the AppStore called Apps for Healthcare Professionals.

The latest crop of user-focused technology companies such as Apple, Google, and Facebook are all providing easy-to-use application platforms. Now is a very exciting time for entrepreneurs in every industry sector to begin building new consumer and B2B solutions on top of these platforms. Unlike the past thirty years when every new application or device required a users manual or training class, these new web, mobile and social media platforms are intuitive “out of the box.” It provides a unique opportunity to once again reengineer an industry.

If doctors were slow to embrace new ideas or new solutions, perhaps they have simply been waiting for the right idea or the right technology platform.

Cryptos Unite! Lock down those iPad patient data leaks!

You know all those shiny iPads in the hands of doctors? The ones that are used during office visits, replacing the old paper charts? Now that doctors are embracing Electronic Health Records and working overtime to ensure that they can prove Meaningful Use, we’ve introduced a new unintended consequence. We’ve introduced another opportunity for the compromise of sensitive patient records.

In the last two years, HHS reports that there have been 116 data leaks of 500 records or more, compromising more than 1.9 million patients’ personal health information. Was there are break-in at a hospital data center? No, nothing that exciting. All these security breaches were the result of a lost or stolen mobile device that stored patient medical records… So in these cases it didn’t matter how secure the hospital or physician practice server was. Mobile devices have the ability to extend the enterprise beyond the office or hospital, and this is where data vulnerability is introduced… Read Full Article Now »