Monday, October 20, 2014

Microsoft Smart Watch to Be Unveiled in Coming Weeks

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The smart watch market is projected to be worth about $7.1 billion in 2015 and it would appear that Microsoft has every intention of being a player in this potentially lucrative space. Forbes is reporting that the company has plans to unveil a wearable device within in the next few weeks capable of tracking a user’s heart rate.  The device will reportedly work across a number of different platforms in addition to Windows phones including iPhone and Android.  

The device appears to be similar to the Moto 360, which also has the capability of monitoring a user’s heart rate, but can supposedly hold a battery charge for over two days with regular use.  This would set it apart from similar devices which require a charge after a single day’s use. 

Microsoft intends to have its new hardware on the shelves within the next few weeks—just in time for the holiday rush.  It was reported earlier this year that the company had plans for this type of device but the exact timeline of its release was unknown. 

This is only the latest move among tech giants in the suddenly competitive space of health data aggregation.  Apple and Google have both received plenty of attention for their plans for health aggregators and wearable devices this year.  In addition, the Apple Watch is expected to become available early 2015.  

As far as wearable devices go, the intrigue certainly appears to be there but adoption remains an issue.  A survey from earlier this year showed that one-third of consumers who purchased a wearable device gave up on using it within six months.  Nonetheless, this showed an increase from the year prior so while that rate remains low, it appears to be trending upward.

Within months, Apple, Mircrosoft and Google will all have health data aggregators and accompanying wearable devices available and the competition for this lucrative market will seemingly be in full swing.

Photograph: USPTO

We’ll have more on the latest in the field of wearable technology at ePharma. Join us February 24-26 in New York, NY.

This piece was contributed by @MikeMadarasz
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Friday, October 17, 2014

ePharma Buzz- 10/17

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It's almost Friday afternoon which means it's time to start checking out mentally. Maybe? Either way, here’s a list of five articles worth a glance from this past week. 

10 Inevitable Changes in Pharma 2015, Richie Etwaru on LinkedIn- Only ten inevitable changes for the pharma industry next year may be a conservative projection but Richie Etwaru (@RichieEtwaru) has outlined some of the most important.  He reviews some of the changing vernacular in the industry such as the transition from “care” to “cure”.  One that we thought was spot on: The change from “customer” to “consumer”.  With the physician being the customer and the patient being the consumer, the pressure is now on pharma to increasingly focus on the former rather than the latter.

Developing a Global Digital Strategy, Gail Horwood- Johnson & Johnson’s VP of Digital Strategy believes “digital brings opportunities to streamline and leverage certain capabilities that are really common across [all] businesses.”  Included in those opportunities is real-time marketing, and included in that category is social media.  J&J took advantage of this during this past World Cup by building a campaign around Listerine.  The company built two newsrooms and responded to developments in matches in real-time with appropriate brand messages.  The biggest takeaway from their success was that real-time marketing is as much about pre-planning as it is anything else. 

This Startup's Robots Could Stop Ebola in Its Tracks, Inc.- Could a robot potentially disinfect an entire room?  It might not be as crazy as it sounds.  Xenex’s new “virus-zapping” robot can effectively stop the spread of disease by using ultraviolet light to disinfect contaminated spaces.  This technology has gotten even more attention following the first Ebola death in the US last week.  "It looks like a car wash for beds. But it's a light wash," explained Xenex CEO Morris Miller.  



mHealth: The Most Underutilized Force in Patient Engagement?, HIT Consultant- [Insert staggering mobile phone usage stat here].  The question everyone is searching for the answer to: How can we better leverage that usage in healthcare?  James Dias lists five steps for healthcare organizations to get started.  Start with getting the patient’s number which is often more difficult than it sounds.  Make it a required field on registration forms.

Cigna Launches Gamified Digital Health Coaching, FierceHealthPayer- Cigna is aiming to improve consumer adoption of their diet and exercise apps through their new gamification effort, Cigna Health Matter.  After enrolling in a program, members can begin interacting with a digital health assessment that incorporates metrics such as BMI, cholesterol and blood pressure.  Users are scored based on these variables and in turn can earn rewards for completing activities and reaching certain milestones.  “During the past several years, we've learned the importance of connecting health improvement to tangible, immediate, recognition and incentives," said Eric Herbek, VP of Product Development.  

Save the date! ePharma will take place February 24-26 in New York, NY.

This piece was contributed by @MikeMadarasz


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How Healthcare Providers and Insurance Companies Can expand the mHealth Market

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So-called “mHealth” is one of the most interesting sectors of modern healthcare, and holds the possibility of reshaping patient-outcome monitoring and preventative practices. At the heart of mHealth is the adoption of consumer health and fitness-tracking devices, and their integration into the medical industry. If healthcare providers can convince a majority of their patients to use and share data from tracking devices, they could analyze trends in their patient population and provide individuals with tailored healthcare advice.

To help providers find the best strategies for engaging their patients and encouraging health tracking, TechnologyAdvice conducted a nationwide survey of US adults, looking at these issues. 419 adults, who reported that they did not currently track their diet, weight, or exercise using a fitness tracker or smartphone app, were surveyed about their reasons for not tracking and what incentives might encourage them to do so.

Based on the results, there are large opportunities for both healthcare providers and health insurance companies to promote widespread fitness tracking.

One potential option would be for physicians to provide wearable devices to their patients, free of charge. When survey respondents were asked whether they would use a physician-provided fitness tracker, 48.2 percent said they would. 

Willingness to Use a Free Fitness Tracker Provided by a Physician


That means physicians could get nearly half of their non-tracking patients to start using such devices, simply by providing them. Even if such a program is financially impractical, it’s likely that providing the devices at reduced costs (subsidizing them) would be effective as well.

Health insurance companies could also play a key role in encouraging health and fitness tracking. While just under half of respondents said they would use a free fitness tracker, 57.1 percent said they would be more likely (or much more likely) to adopt digital fitness tracking if they could receive lower premiums on their health insurance.

Willingness to Use a Free Fitness Tracker Provided by a Physician

This exact strategy is being tested by Humana, an insurance company that recently announced a data-sharing partnership with Apple through their HealthKit app. Humana’s Vitality program ranks users based on their fitness data, and reports the information back to employers who can then offer the employees discounts on their monthly healthcare costs.

Given the clear interest among even non-tracking adults, and the success of similar self-monitoring programs for car insurance, it seems likely that additional carriers will begin to implement such initiatives. Based on the above responses, the impact on the health and fitness tracking market will be significant.

For maximum impact, healthcare providers and health insurance companies should partner together to promote self-tracking both in physician’s offices and during insurance enrollment. A combined effort could successfully convince over half of currently non-tracking adults to monitor such information. The resulting data would be a treasure trove for patient outcome research and preventative best practices.

Author Bio:
Cameron Graham is the Managing Editor at TechnologyAdvice, where he oversees original research and content strategy. He writes about healthcare IT, and emerging tech trends. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Save the date! ePharma will take place February 24-26 in New York, NY.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

ePharma Buzz- 10/2

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Walter Cronkite once said, “You take a little pill of news every day - 23 minutes - and that's supposed to be enough.”  We’re not saying this is enough, but it’s a “little pill” of pharma news from the last seven days to get you started. 

FDA Reopening Comment Period on Social Media Draft Guidances, FDA.gov- If you were anxiously awaiting the next development from the FDA on their social guidances, you may be waiting even a little longer.  Effective September 29, The FDA extended the comment period 30 days for the set of guidances released June 17.  The organization has bought themselves some additional time but at the rate with which social media and digital is evolving, this could turn out to be somewhat of a moving target. 


Sales Rep Restrictions Point to Need for a Pharma Rethink, MM&M- You want to reach doctors directly with your products?  Get in line.  As we all know, this is becoming increasingly more difficult to do.  Research from Quantia shows that 32% are now unable to talk to reps—up from 27% last year.  In addition, 44% of doctors say they’re working in an organization now moving towards an Accountable Care Organization model, restricting rep contact even further. 


How Genentech Taps into Online Patient Communities to Improve Clinical Trials, mobihealthnews- “When it comes to designing a clinical trial, how do you actually put the patient first?” asks Joling Mew, Genentech product development leader.  For her company, part of that answer has consisted of working with online patient communities.  Mew cites some of these communities as being contributing factors to solving some difficult clinical trials cases and leading to greater enrollment and retention.  Genentech has had some breakthrough insights in leveraging these groups. Check out the article if you don’t believe us.  


HealthKit is Finally Live: Here’s How it (Really) Works, VentureBeat- Speculation about HealthKit has dominated blogs and news outlets since Apple first laid out their plans this spring. With the release of iOS 8, we now have more clarity on how the platform actually operates.  Here’s what we know (in short):  The iPhone owner is responsible for recording the metrics they wish to measure (i.e. weight, sleep, blood pressure) through selected health apps or hardware.  They then grant permission at the app level for HealthKit to use this data.  HealthKit aggregates that data and can provide it to third parties (upon the users permission).  

The Secret Recipe for Content Marketing Success, Healthline Blog- We’re admittedly a little bias here, this information was first presented at ePharma West last week.  David Kopp (@Kopportunity) reveled some of his secrets for content marketing that’ve lead to over 25 million monthly visitors for Healthline.  His “recipe for success”: 



Save the date! ePharma will take place February 24-26 in New York, NY.

This piece was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Session Spotlight: Moderated Discussion with Patient Opinion Leaders

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We closed out ePharma West with a lively discussion on some of the biggest takeaways from the previous two and a half days. Brian Shields provides some of those key points for us below:  

Market Research from Patient Opinion Leaders

Moderator: Russ Fetteroff, (@digitalbulldog), Senior Vice President of Innovation, WEGO Health

Panelists: Mike Lawson, (@mrmikelawson), Type I Diabetes Health Activist and Britt Johnson (@HurtBlogger), Rheumatoid Arthritis and Migraine Health Activist

This was an exit panel led by Russ Fetteroff with some very straight shooting feedback for pharma from Mike Lawson and Britt Johnson.

Russ outlined the pharma translation of CRM:
     •   Ensure patients get off to a successful start with their medication
     •   Help patients understand how their medication works
     •   Support patients in taking their medication as prescribed
     •   Create and ongoing personal relationship with patients

Russ also highlighted Allergan’s My Tears, My Rewards program as a great example of a patient CRM program.

Britt and Mike provided excellent feedback based on focus group questions that Russ asked throughout the panel discussion, some of which is listed below:

•   Copay assistance cards are the number one patient need in the online community
•   Doctor’s recommendations are key to patients trusting pharma resources
•   Online patient advocates paid by pharma may lose the trust of their followers
•   Programs that inundate patients with glossy mailers, text messages, email and phone calls may be overwhelming.  Pharma CRM programs should allow patients to decide how they want to receive communications
•   A call to Britt from an Abbott nurse was an excellent example of patient focus by a company
•   Companies should include patients early in app development
•   Mike Lawson also discussed how videos can be very helpful, noting that he learned to test his blood glucose on YouTube

ePharma West Britt Johnson Mike Lawson Patient Opinion Leader
Britt Johnson and Mike Lawson tell all from the patient perspective


Save the date! ePharma will take place February 24-26 in New York, NY.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ePharma West Summary: Day Two

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ePharma West is in the books. If you were following the action on Twitter, you may have gotten a look at some of the modern marketing techniques discussed.  If not, here are some of the highlights from Day two provided by Brian Shields.  


Shifting from ROI to REO, Return on Engagement
Mike Oberg, Senior Director, Marketing Apollo Endosurgery

Mike reviewed the learnings and success of Apollo Endosurgery as they focused the marketing for their Lap-Band product on online engagement with patients.

Overall, Mike explained that brands should be overwhelmingly positive to patients on social media.

The key takeaways for a return on engagement focus:
  •         Build an infrastructure that can help you scale social policies and governance
  •         Understand your audience
  •         Identify influencers, engage with them often
  •         Tell a story that adds value to the people you are trying to reach
  •         Support your social media efforts with paid media

Some other tips from Mike Oberg regarding their social media efforts:
  •          They have an agile social media policy, that allows them to use pre-approved                                    phrases in response to certain comments in real time
  •          The company has a full time community manager
  •          They have a list of 100 patient advocates that they share breaking news and                                      information with proactively, without any suggested messaging
  •          A monthly Twitter calendar is submitted for review each month
  •          Social Media allows them to create expanded reach with TV events and                                              happenings
o   Dr. Oz Segment
o   Corey from Pawn Stars on the Today Show


Walking Through the FDA’s Social Media Guidance, What does it Mean?
Mark S. Roh, Regional Food and Drug Director, Pacific Region, FDA

Mark Roh reviewed the FDA’s Social Media guidance with the group and provided some very clear slides for companies to use when evaluating their online efforts.

A helpful algorithm which outlines the responsibility of a firm and social media:
  •         Promotion by the Firm – The Firm is responsible
  •         Promotion by 3rd party on behalf of the firm – The Firm is responsible
  •         Promotion by 3rd party not associated with the firm

o   Is there any influence exerted by the Firm?
-  Yes- The Firm is responsible
-  No- Firm not responsible

He also provided guidance for marketing management on how to maintain control of social media. 

Responsible officials – ask yourself:
  •         What is the purpose of the labeling or promotional material?
  •         Who has control over the content or the placement of the material?
  •         How am I participating in this discussion?
  •         What information am I providing?

Monetizing Digital Opportunities in Medium-Sized Specialty Pharma
Brian Johnson, Principal, Two Hearts Group, @brianmjohnson4

Brian provided a helpful overview of the need for a Chief Digital Officer as well as their responsibilities.

Why do organizations need a Chief Digital Officer?

1. Brands are doing digital
2. Commercial Operations are doing digital
3. IT is doing digital
4. Sales is doing digital
5. But who owns it?

At Galderma, with the leadership of Brian, Chief Digital Officer, they focused on three key strategies to be successful:

1. Bring e-commerce to Cetaphil.com
2. Partner with Amazon to improve presence as largest online retailer
3. Expand digital communications to non-called on health care providers across brands and business units.

Brian also presented the case for digital communications to non-called on health care providers:

They want to communicate at their convenience
  •         When the want
  •         Where they want
  •         How they want
  •         About what they want
Brian also had this piece of advice for pharma companies: “Are you going to do the responsible thing and respond to your patients on social media, or hide behind regulatory and turn a blind eye?”

Finally, Brian shared that big pharma should consider more SAAS platforms vs creating digital platforms from scratch.  With Galderma, they used an SAAS ecommerce platform and were able to develop and launch the program in 90 days.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

ePharma West Summary: Pre-Conference Day

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ePharma West got kicked off yesterday with our pre-conference day focused on content marketing.  If you couldn’t make it to San Francisco but are still wondering how to strategically generate quality content, you’re in luck.  Brian Shields summarized some of yesterday’s key sessions for us below.

Build trust by providing relevant content to your customers
Kevin Popovic, Communications Director Ideahaus LLC

Kevin presented to us an exciting case study on the brand development of his client.
Case Study:  Dr. Scott Andersen walked away from medicine to make a difference.  The result was Dr. A’s Habits of Health.

Kevin’s Team prioritized the following:
   - Create a communications platform
   - Develop national brand for Dr. A
   - Generate new opportunities

The team developed a presence across the most important channels:
   - Website
   - Mobile
   - iPad
   - Facebook
   - Instagram
   - Google

Images and video were the most effective sources of content and were utilized across platforms.  Specifically, images with daily motivational quotes were exceptional at generating engagement on Facebook.  Google+ generated great traffic while Facebook had the best engagement. Additionally, Instagram didn't seem to work for their older customer base.



They also created hats, t-shirts, etc to make their items on CafePress, a great source of brand development.

Summary of Successes
   + Presented a comprehensive brand
   + Packaged Dr. Wayne Andersen
   + Positioned as national personality
   + 4X increase in Web visits
   + More Media inquiries

Lessons learned
   + Start with good content
   + Packaging is imperative
   + Consistency is key
   + Amortize your investment
   + Have a plan
   + Measure your success

Tips for Success
   + Right down your goals and measurements of success up front
   + Create engagement
   + Capture moments and conversations

Communications Planning
   + Content development is an investment
   + Identify ROI in advance
   + Think about qualitative and quantitative metrics
   + Know where your audience is
   + Engagement means there is a conversation
   + Engage your audience
   + Make it easy for them the participate

Final Advice from Kevin, “Become the subject matter expert on your brand!”


Making the Most of Specific Channels: Connecting With HCPs On Their Channels
Jack Bilson III, @jackbilson3, VP, Product Innovation M3 USA

Jack provided a great overview of the online world and the specific differences between specialties and their preferences.

One key point on specialty brands: 50-70% of the active universe is ignored by pharma due to target lists.  This group of doctors that are ignored are five times more likely to be involved in a digital pharma sponsored program.

What are HCPs doing on social media?
 •  Doctors are using LinkedIn to find jobs
 •  They're using Facebook for “personal stuff”
 •  2/3 Primary care physicians are using HCP social media sites

Jack provided incredible insights on the digital preferences across specialties:

 •  Physicians value the face-to-face sales rep the most
 •  PCPs are the biggest fans of sales reps
 •  Oncologists are seeing fewer reps due to institutional practices
 •  Cardiologists like live programs more so than others
 •  Oncologists are the most difficult to focus on via digital promotion
 •  Dermatology specialists are three times more likely than PCPs to do an eDetail
 •  Oncologists have a high diversity of program preferences and they’re most satisfied with programs including a KOL
 •  Oncologists are all about the data and very topical in preference
 •  Urologists are five times more likely than a PCP to do a self-directed eDetail
 •  Self-directed eDetails and recorded KOL presentations score highly with urologists



Winning the Moment: Using Twitter to Engage in Real-Time
Jeremy Anderson, @jeremyanderson, Head of Healthcare, Twitter

Jeremy Anderson provided the group with a great summary of Twitter’s characteristics in the health care space:

Some basic facts about Twitter:
   + Twitter is live, public and conversational
   + 36 million patients and caregivers are on Twitter
   + Snickers and Listerine were among those able to capitalize on marketing during the #WorldCup
   + Ellen DeGeneres brought real time marketing with Twitter front and center with her famous Oscars Tweet

Twitter for Healthcare
   Branded profiles
   + Unbranded profiles
   + Clinical trial recruitment
   + Listening tools as a predictor or seasonal diseases –  i.e. allergy season

Healthcare conversations on Twitter:
   + Cancer 30M
   + Heart Disease 9M
   + Diabetes 8M
   + Back Pain 6M
   + Asthma 4.5M
   + Arthritis 1.5M

Twitter’s ad platforms are particularly successful when linked with live TV events. In the U.S., programs have seen an ROI increase between 8-16% when the Ad program is linked to a Twitter campaign.

Jeremy’s team is responsible for working with Pharma and the FDA to develop programs that add value to patients and meet the regulatory guidelines.


You can follow the rest of the conference by keeping tabs on #ePharma or following us at @ePharma over the next two days. 




Friday, September 19, 2014

ePharma Buzz- 9/19

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Another week, another full slate of news in the field of digital pharma.  As we gear up for ePharma West starting Monday in San Francisco, we thought it was only appropriate to include a few pieces from the Silicon Valley this week. Enjoy.  


Silicon Valley Struggles to Speak FDA's Language, ABC News- Tech giants have routinely disrupted a number of industries in recent memory.  One industry that may prove to put up a fight is healthcare and the FDA is the main reason.  Says Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin, "Health is just so heavily regulated...It's just a painful business to be in." The FDA has said it will regulate apps that collect medical information, so tech companies may not be coming and going into this space as freely as they’d like. Does this mean a few more flights between the FDA headquarters and Silicon Valley?


Google Glass Could Help Surgeons Spot Complications Sooner, mobihealthnews- A new study from Stanford shows that Google Glass may have the ability to help surgeons monitor vital signs more closely during surgery and ultimately prevent complications.  Using a technology called VitalStream, surgeons are able to view vital signs directly in front of their face during surgery and monitor them throughout.  A follow up study from physicians performing simulated procedures with the technology found that 64% believed it increased their situational awareness.


Seven Steps to Innovating Your Digital Strategy, PMLive- A recent survey revealed that digital strategy is projected to be pharma’s biggest issue for 2014.  This is perhaps troubling considering we’re at a defining point where the majority of physicians are beginning to rely on digital interaction.  It’s estimated that the number of doctors in the UK having qualified to practice medicine in the digital period is now greater than the number qualified in the preceding period.  In this article, Chris Ross outlines a seven step process to getting digital full implemented into your pharma strategy.  The first step? Think about starting at the top and working down. 



Is the Healthcare Industry Digitally Fit?, Capegemini Consulting- The answer to that question is getting closer and closer to “yes” as time goes on.  According to this survey, the group of healthcare providers that is considered “digitally mature” is finding a variety of ways to leverage digital.  Most (84%) are investing in building digital skills while another 84% feel digital gives them an integrated view of customer data. 


AstraZeneca Sends James Van Der Beek 'Camping' to Promote Flu Vaccination, Fierce Pharma Marketing- FierceMarkets got to play the role of TMZ and interview James Van Der Beek about his new role as a flu vaccination spokesperson.  Astrazeneca produces the only needle-free, four strain flu vaccine and the company is making every effort to make that know—including employing the former Dawson’s Creek star.  He’s partnered with the drug company to produce a series of videos, infographics and radio content.  These pieces will help to debunk some of the common myths in flu prevention including the idea that traditional flu shots are the only way that patients can protect themselves. 



Looking for more than a week’s worth of the latest in digital pharma marketing? Join us at ePharma West, September 22-24 in San Francisco. Download the agenda to see what else is on tap.

Save $100
. Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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