Archive for the ‘Big Data’ Category

Closed Loop(s) Marketing – It’s More Than Pharma Sales Rep Tablets

As I re-read a recent Gartner report on Closed Loop Marketing (CLM) in pharma, it struck me that while Gartner was very focused on the shortcomings of current tablet-based sales applications for closing the sales rep-physician loop, they missed two other equally important brand-customer loops.

closed loops editedI’d suggest that there are three “loops” that need to be closed. And closing them would provide a lot more effectiveness in marketing.

First, let’s briefly touch on the sales rep-physician loop that Gartner’s analyst Dale Hagemeyer focused on and that most brand teams and agencies think of when they talk about CLM.

The Sales Rep – Physician Loop
Gartner’s point is that sales forces are underutilizing tablet technology and that this major investment in mobile presentation devices has not resulted in any true brand differentiation. In fact, for most companies Gartner talked to there wasn’t even a good business case for investing in sales rep tablets. According to interviews with 63 pharma clients, Gartner was consistently told, “We don’t have a business case. We simply have to have them because everybody else is getting them.”

As a result of this non-strategic implementation of interactive detailing, it’s no surprise that the tablets are simply another show-and-tell device, and with 85% of sales forces now equipped with the technology, their use provides no competitive advantage. The real power in tablet technology is the ability to collect individual physician data for analysis and the generation of insights at both the individual and aggregate level. This is a major missed opportunity and is one reason why the ROI on CLM hardware investments has not lived up to its promise.

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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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How Scary is Health Data?

As we learn from the media nearly every day, third-party data is ubiquitous. Between financial ratings agencies that track our every purchase and the NSA storing our cell phone activity, there are databases in the cloud that know pretty much everything worth knowing about our personal lives, and then some. Consumers are rightly spooked by the thought that some companies may use this personal data in disingenuous ways.

Particularly in healthcare, consumers are legitimately sensitive to the idea that somewhere there are anonymous databases that contains personally identifiable information (PII) about them and their medical history.

Physicians get nervous too when they realize that not only is there data about them and their practice, but there’s also almost perfect data on which drugs they prescribe. Pharma sales reps have much of that information at their fingertips. When they have a conversation with a doctor, they already know whether that physician is a profitable customer or not.

Pandora's BoxTransactions vs Building Long-Term Relationships
The fundamental question now is not whether this type of data should be accessible or not (Pandora is already out of the box) but how should it be used. How data is handled is directly correlated with the integrity of the company that’s using it.

Companies that flip data into a short-term opportunity to close a transaction may be violating the letter of the law. They are most certainly violating the spirit of confidentiality and trust. By not taking the long view, they harm any trust relationship, often irreparably, through behaviors that will come back to bite them.

Compare this attitude with a relational approach to customers. Companies that use data as a way to create better content, value, and more respectful marketing are taking a long-term approach to promotion. They start with a better understanding of what individual physicians really care about and then build solutions that meet those needs.
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