Archive for the ‘Patient Engagement’ Category

Expectations on the Rise for Digital Marketing in Pharma

ExpecatationsI’ve begun to observe among our clients a distinct shift in expectations for the role of digital marketing. Even though pharma marketing budgets continue to invest in the traditional channels of television and print, I’m seeing a change in how digital is viewed, and that’s a positive sign.

Smarter Marketing Talent
The caliber of marketing talent in key pharma leadership roles has improved, bringing higher expectations for technology and digital-based marketing. Marketers in both so-called centers of excellence and at the brand level are demanding measurable goals for what technology can be and should be doing for their company and their products. They reward success and fire agencies or technology partners that don’t meet expectations.

The Amazon Effect
Online retail and social media companies have raised the bar of consumer expectations for access to information and the ability to search and buy in a very seamless way. But until recently, consumer expectations didn’t impact pharma. Now, the online consumer experience is raising the bar on healthcare.

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Pharma and its Love of Deal Making. All Good This Time.

3-wayThe recent 3-way deal between GSK, Novartis and Lilly represented a major transaction for all three companies. The deal has been scrutinized by the Street like a master chessboard swap of assets, in this case, molecules. Obviously, it took a fair bit of corporate development work to make these deals happen, so it’s actually pretty impressive from that perspective. But what’s more interesting to me is the strategy that these moves belie. It’s another clue to how pharma is changing.

For the past thirty years, pharma companies rose or fell based on their ability to develop or acquire a drug with blockbuster potential. Sometimes blockbusters just showed up, as did the disappointing blood pressure medication with unusual side effects called Viagra. Or the also-ran cholesterol-lowering drug that was almost cancelled because it would be the fifth drug in its class and that went on to become the largest drug in history. Read Full Article Now »

Is pharma doubling down on TV? Really?

The data is out on consumer ad spending in 2013. It wasn’t a surprise that TV and magazine ad spending was down significantly while digital spend was up. If you own a TV network, you can’t ignore the handwriting on the wall. You feel the pain.TV.jpg

Unless you are selling to pharma.

It appears that pharma is trying to single-handedly bail out traditional media. Pharma’s TV ad spending was up more than 12% last year, and magazines were up more than 6%. And digital? The channel to which every other industry is moving their spend?

For pharma, digital spend was down more than 14%…

The total pharma DTC spend last year was $3.8 billion, and of that, it spent about $60 million on digital ads last year. That doesn’t even qualify as a rounding error. Of the top 20 pharma brands, 16 didn’t even spend more than $1MM on digital advertising.

I’m left scratching my head. Why the heck is pharma bucking the global trend to digital? Does it know something the rest of us have missed?

I have a couple thoughts on this trend. First, I have to give props to TV and magazine sales executives. Obviously, they haven’t surrendered to digital, at least among their pharma clients. They make the argument that cable TV allows for better targeting, an attractive argument for brands that are trying to reach a mass audience.

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Bold Leadership in Healthcare

What’s happening at CVS Caremark is an emerging business case study in visionary leadership.

CVS made headlines for its decision to discontinue selling cigarettes, capturing the gratitude of many people, including the White House.
cvs logoThere was chatter among analysts that this move will trim $2 billion from the company’s revenue, a fact that only seemed to add to the feelings of goodwill among current and potential customers. The widespread response from consumers was, “This is a wonderful thing that CVS did. They didn’t have to do it. They’re doing it not in the best interest of the business, they’re just doing the right thing.”

From a PR perspective, it created a real sense of warm fuzzies towards CVS, increasing pressure on other chains like Walgreens and Rite Aid to follow suit. It has been assumed that management calculated that goodwill towards CVS would result in more customers and more foot traffic, and eventually these new customers will replace the lost revenue. (In fact, trimming $2 billion in revenue, while meaningful, likely will have a modest effect on the stock price. It reflects less than 2% of total revenue, and its contribution to net income is roughly $70 million. Given that the new policy won’t even take effect until October, it will have negligible impact on 2014 company performance.) Read Full Article Now »

The Risks and Opportunities of Patient Health Data

A recent mHealth panel discussion in Chicago underscored the rapid changes underway in the new wearable medical device industry. This industry is expanding at a rapid pace, from products like wireless blood glucose meters to consumer fitness devices like FitBit, Nike Fuel and Shine.

The panelists, including executives from Baxter, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola and Catamaran raised concerns about the data collected from wearable devices. There were many questions around the use, ownership and liability of the personal data collected by these mobile devices.

01Where does the consumer health data go? Where is it stored? Who is allowed to distribute the data? Are medical professionals who read and respond to the information eligible for reimbursement? Will there be a new ICD-10 code available for a doctor who responds to an alert from a patient’s wearable medical device? If a physician doesn’t respond to an alert, is she liable?

It’s fun to play with many of the new high tech consumer health toys touted at the Consumer Electronics Show, but for those of us in the industry, there are much bigger healthcare problems to solve. A recent article by Jason O’Grady in ZDNet wonders whether all the speculation over Apple’s highly-anticipated iWatch is actually masking the fact that it is going after the medical device market and not the crowded consumer activity tracker market. Rumors of meetings with the FDA would suggest that Apple is considering disrupting the enormous healthcare and remote patient monitoring industry. Read Full Article Now »

Benihana-care?

Benihana-care? Maybe we do need to know how the sausage is made…

benihanaIt was often said as I was growing up that if you knew how the food was prepared in a restaurant, you’d never eat there. When the restaurant chain Benihana first came to the United States in the 1960s they pioneered the concept of an “open” and transparent kitchen. You literally watched the chef chop, slice and sauté your food in front of you. You would see everything that goes into what you’re about to consume, and there weren’t any questions as to what’s in your meal. The process was transparent.

Much of the controversy around Obamacare’s website launch snafu had to do with transparency, from the vendor contracts to the source code.

Now that Accenture has taken over the website, I’m much more confident in its success. But what if Healthcare.gov had been originally built and launched with more transparency? We’d know the ins and outs of how the system works, what the issues were, how the code was written, how decisions are made about who gets covered and who doesn’t, and finally, how the care will be delivered. Read Full Article Now »

The Touch of an Imerman Angel.

The phone rings.

It’s your doctor with the biopsy results and the news isn’t good.

Cancer.

Just the word itself takes your breath away. You feel dizzy.

Amidst swirling emotions of fear and uncertainty, you place a call to a number your doctor gave you. He called them angels. Whatever.

Later that day you get a call back from a woman who identifies herself as a cancer survivor. She’s your age and gender and she had your same diagnosis and she beat it. A survivor who knows exactly what you’re going through…

Slide1Welcome to Imerman Angels, the largest network of cancer survivors who volunteer to provide high touch, one-on-one support to cancer patients.

Jonny Imerman, the founder of Imerman Angels and himself a cancer survivor, was on a panel that I moderated at the recent Point of Care Conference in Philadelphia. The other panelists included a pharma marketing executive, a mobile health entrepreneur, and a medical mobile technology investor. Together we explored how technology can improve the physician-patient relationship.

It was very refreshing to have the voice of the patient on the panel, but why was Jonny on a panel about mobile technology? Is it possible to use mobile and social media and still retain the high touch experience of a cancer survivor talking to a newly diagnosed cancer patient? Read Full Article Now »

What will make Patient Data Meaningful to Patients and Physicians?

In my last blog posting I noted that the thousands of health apps available today are beginning to generate good, accurate patient data. But just because the data is accurate doesn’t mean it’s meaningful. Especially when it collides with the real world of the healthcare professional.

There are three important issues that need to be addressed before this surfeit of personalized patient data becomes useful and meaningful to both consumers and physicians.

Data Overload
The first concern is just data overload. As patient devices become interoperable with each other and with EMR systems (a good thing), they will dump raw data, whether it’s heart rate, blood pressure, glucose level, etc. right into the physician’s office. And frankly, doctors just don’t have enough hours in a day to be able to look at and process that information.

If you follow most internists today, they’re in the office all day seeing 15, 20, even 25 patients and then in the evening they’re spending three hours reviewing their notes and lab reports or they’re logged onto their patient portal site to respond to the two dozen patient emails they received that day. We can’t ask them to now review and respond to potentially dozens of patient data streams. Read Full Article Now »

Good patient data is not always meaningful patient data

I’ve been thinking recently about some of the newer sources of health data, namely patient-generated data. My working headline is something like “Good patient data is not always meaningful patient data.”

mobile3I have the distinct sense that our rapt attention to mobile devices, mobile health, patient data, patient-generated data, etc. is all really exciting for those of us who are in technology because we love the idea of sensors and capturing data that could never be captured before and building massive databases and doing all this great regression analysis on it to look for tipping points and trends and turning it into cool graphical reports. It’s fun and exciting and sexy!

But patient-generated data often breaks down when it meets the physician. And here’s why.

There’s a tidal wave of patient generated data from apps and devices that is only increasing. When you read stats about how many tens of thousands of medical health apps there are in the Apple Store and how new devices are being launched every other week, it leads to a deluge of patient data.

Data from patient apps and devices – activity level, heart rate, blood glucose, etc. – is all “structured” within its environment, that’s good, but it’s not interoperable with any other data. This means that the data is seldom integrated with any electronic medical records system (EMR) at the physician level. That’s a problem for doctors wanting (required) to leverage these systems to interact with their patients.

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The Rise of Multi-Channel Healthcare Delivery

eprizeLast week at Health 2.0, the XPRIZE Foundation announced the winners of the Nokia Sensing Challenge, a $2.25 million global competition to accelerate the development of sensors and sensing technology that is smaller, lighter, and capable of capturing true clinical data on a personal level. It was an exciting overview of emerging technology that’s crossing the barriers of mobile communication, nanotechnology, physics, chemistry, biology, material science, and software.

Multi-Channel Health Care Delivery

I write often about the importance of multi-channel healthcare marketing, but this convergence in technology and health will open up exciting new growth opportunities for multi-channel healthcare delivery.

Health traditionally has taken place through three primary delivery channels:

  1. Hospitals
  2. The doctor’s office
  3. Clinics

These channels have evolved over the years in terms of their level and sophistication of healthcare delivery. Even 20-30 years ago, most sophisticated health delivery was only available on an inpatient basis in hospitals. And then in the ‘90s, partially as a byproduct of the Clinton-era focus on healthcare reform, there was a real push to reduce hospital costs, leading to the development of ambulatory care, or outpatient services.

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