Thursday, January 29, 2015

MUST SEE CES: 4 Can’t-Miss Takeaways for Pharma

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By: Bill Drummy, Founder & CEO, Heartbeat Ideas & Heartbeat West

The Digital Health Summit at this year’s CES was comprised of two days of back-to-back sessions, some twelve sessions in all, with topics ranging from “Consumer Accessible Innovation” to “Reinventing the Doctor-Patient Relationship.”  

While I did not attend every session (there was the adjoining oceanic trade floor to circumnavigate, after all) here are my top take-aways from a pharma perspective:

Novartis and the Innovation Imperative

The formidable Corinne Savill, Novartis’ Head of Business Development and Licensing, spoke about a new way to use social media in pharma -- social for a larger purpose.  Interviewed by Rick Valencia (@bootstrapped) from Qualcomm Life (@qualcommlife), Savill declared how “vitally important it is for Novartis to be able to demonstrate the value of their medicines.”   Towards that end, Savill spoke of the role social media initiatives like “Set Your Sights” (a content-rich, non-branded initiative focused on vision health) can play as “a platform for patient engagement.” 

“We want to maximize the ability for patients to give input thru social media” by means of de-personalized, anonymous, pooled data.  So it’s not just about providing unbranded patient education in a relevant therapeutic category (although “Set Your Sights” does that very well); it’s also about gathering human insights and leanings in a way that respects patient privacy.  “We must understand the core motivation of our patient,” she said.

Coincidentally (or maybe not?), at the same time CES was going on, Novartis and Qualcomm Life announced a $100 million fund to invest in “technologies, products or services that ‘go beyond the pill’ to benefit physicians and patients.”

Sensing an Opportunity: UCB’s Neupro and Biosensors

Dr. James Zackheim is Vice President – Patient Solutions for Neupro®, UCB’s treatment for Parkinson’s Disease and Restless Leg Syndrome, (disclosure:  my agency, Heartbeat Ideas, works on a competing brand, XenoPort’s Horizant, which also has an indication for RLS) presented along with Rav Sheth from MC10, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company with a goal to “to redefine the interface between electronics and the human body.” 

UCB and MC10 are working on sensor technology to “connect data coming from a wearable patch to outcomes,” according to Dr. Zackheim.  So this is another example of the burgeoning partnerships developing between pharma and tech companies (there are now quite a few, including those announced by Novartis, Otsuka, and Abbvie, to mention just the most publicized examples).  On this theme, Dr. Zackheim made one of my favorite comments of the conference, “Regarding these partnerships, with pharma, the mind is willing but the flesh is weak.” 

Sheth underscored the degree of disruptive novelty inherent in pharma working with such fast-changing technologies:  “What we are showing today is not what UCB saw six to nine months ago; that version was two generations less developed.”

John Nosta (@johnnosta), my fellow Google Health Advisory Board member, moderated the UCB panel, and made an indelible point about their new patch, while apparently holding it up to the audience. “Can’t see the patch?  Good.  That’s the point. The point is that the patch disappears.”

Nearly invisible, yet hardly impassive, as data from the patch can potentially help UCB improve efficacy, learn about optimal dosing, monitor compliance and ultimately, help establish whether the therapy is improving outcomes.

Neurotrack and Early Alzheimer’s Detection

Do you see a theme emerging here?  Yes, it’s using technology to improve outcomes.  (Although I absolutely refuse to ever again say “Beyond the Pill.”  Never ever.) But there was another, less obvious but perhaps even more significant trend brought to life in two other presentations.

Isabel Hoffman (@isabelhoffmann) is a Serial Entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of TellSpec, (@tellspec) a company creating a pioneering technology to allow people to really know what they are eating (and what may be making them obese, diabetic, toxic, or ill in a myriad of other ways).  

TellSpec (which is an attractive company in need of a tastier name) uses spectroscopy to analyze any kind of foodstuff and tell the ‘consumer’ what it really contains on a molecular level, and whether it is in fact good for you to eat.  The handheld TellSpec device shines a laser on the food and then examines the photons bouncing back to analyze the ingredients; algorithms then compare the food to knowledge in a quickly growing food database. In seconds, you can know what’s really in your food, including allergens, toxins and carcinogens.

“Wow” I tweeted. Assuming this technology proves reliable, TellSpec will be taking food tracking up a quantum level (almost literally). And empowering people to make wiser decisions to prevent disease from occurring in the first place.

The second highly memorable predictive technology I encountered was presented by another impressive woman entrepreneur: Elli Kaplan, co-founder and CEO of Neurotrack (@neurotrack).  Taking advantage of three decades of research at Emory University, the company has developed a novel approach for the early identification of Alzheimer’s Disease. 

The ugly truth about this horrifying condition is that the overwhelming majority of drugs that have been developed to fight it have failed.  A big reason for the almost complete lack of success is that scientists have typically tested compounds on patients whose disease was already very far advanced.  But Alzheimer’s starts developing 20-30 years before symptoms become obvious.  So how do we find earlier stage patients so that we can start to better understand the disease and develop better treatments?  (And also identify patients early enough for interventional treatment to do some good.)

Neurotrack has developed technology that they claim enables earlier-onset patients to be more easily identified (assuming they can find enough brave people to get tested before they have symptoms in order to find out if they might have a —so far— incurable disease.)  This is how the early detection works:  Neurotrack uses eye scanning technology to track the brain’s response to images; when presented with two images – one novel, the other familiar — a normal human brain will respond with greater attention to the novel image; but in early-onset Alzheimer’s, the person shows no preference for the novel image (it’s as if she sees both images as ‘new’).  Kaplan said their technology had a very high accuracy rate in predicting who would develop Alzheimer’s.

A crucial requirement for the success of Neurotrack’s approach, of course, is getting enough patients to participate, and ‘crowdsourcing’ the data so that scientists have a large enough pool of patients to use to gain insights about how the disease develops and what drugs might slow, halt or reverse its progression.

So with both Neurotrack and TellSpec we are seeing how technology can be used to predict and even prevent disease.

Too bad most people missed the news.

We’ll have more on the latest in pharma marketing at ePharma. Join us February 24-26 in New York, NY.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Test-driving an aggregator, running on empty

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By Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst, Manhattan Research

A few weeks ago, I finally got around to upgrading my ancient iPhone 4 -- the Flintstones of iPhones -- for the clown shoes-sized 6 Plus. It came with iOS 8, which comes with Apple’s Health app (stay with me here, Android partisans – there’s an OS-agnostic point in here somewhere).

Having contributed my fair share to the digital gum-flapping that heralded Apple’s iOS 8 roll-out last September, when health tech wags whipped themselves into a froth speculating that HealthKit would prove the Killer App of health data aggregators, I was psyched to actually try it. Like many people in the pharmaverse, I’d been following the evolution of health trackers closely, with an eye to the eventual medical applications of wearable sensor technology. I’m no Quantified Selfer, though – I don’t need a smart watch or band to tell me that the Couch to 5K app on my phone has been sorely neglected.

But now I have this device that uses a motion coprocessor chip (whatever that means, it sounds very impressive), barometer and GPS to calculate steps taken, distance walked or run and flights of stairs climbed. It’s a $600 step tracker, basically, with email, texting, web browsing and “phone” capabilities. I can’t quite remember what that last feature does, but apparently we used it a lot way back in the 20th Century.

Someday soon, of course, we’ll all be cocooned in ubiquitous, always-on sensor technology continuously monitoring our health in the background, 24/7 – wearables, implantables, ingestibles, even smart scarves – and piping the data gleaned to the apps and professionals of our choosing. For the time being, though, populating your data aggregator with more than stairs and steps requires some proactivity – you need to go out and acquire a device that will fill all those empty buckets with numbers on how you slept, your heart rate and blood glucose, etc. Which means that for now, the audience for aggregators is pretty much limited to a small number of early-adopting fitness and gadget freaks.

That’s bound to change. Already, there’s pretty substantial consumer interest in aggregators. Manhattan Research data show that three in ten U.S. online adults are interested in using an aggregator – remarkable for such an emerging technology -- and even more (37%) said they would feel motivated to do so if it lowered their healthcare costs. However, 69% of online consumers said they have privacy concerns about sharing information with websites or apps. With mass-hackings in the headlines, patients will need to be assured that their health data, in many ways more intimate than a ribald selfie, is secure -- or persuaded that the benefits justify the risk. More than half of online consumers agreed that they would share their health information “if it helped me improve my health or treat my condition.”

Hospitals and healthcare professionals may be best qualified to make the case. When we asked online consumers from whom they would most likely use a digital health data aggregator, the largest number – 28% -- said “a hospital system or physicians’ office,” followed by health insurers (11%). Tech companies and health device makers didn’t break out of the single digits.

Even with this very limited health data functionality, my new smartphone has already prompted me to change my mouse potato ways – to take the stairs instead of the elevator, for example, or to walk when I could take the bus. When I’m bogged down under deadlines and can’t possibly manage that lunchtime walk, I ask myself: How will I ever face Apple Health at the end of the day if my step count’s below 5,000?

I know that the novelty will soon wear off, and in the absence of any incentive – say, from my employer or health plan -- I’ll probably stop clocking my steps every day. Fitness trackers and health apps have notoriously high rates of abandonment. But for now, I’m a little more conscious of my activity, or lack thereof. I’ll be ready to go deeper once healthcare companies build devices and apps that make it effortless to do so, when my doctor and my employer give me good reason to, and when I can be assured that my data probably won’t fall into the wrong hands.

Would you like to hear more from Manhattan Research?  They'll be joining at ePharma on Tuesday, February 24 for the presentation Digital Trends Pharma Should Use Everyday.  For more information on this session and the rest of the program, download the agenda.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP2006BL, you can save $100 off the current rates!



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Five Best Practices to Deliver Exceptional Multichannel Experiences

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As the communications landscape shifts to a combined digital and traditional to reach the right target audiences.  This does not change for health care providers as they are also expecting a customized experience with meaningful interactions.  In the white paper Five Best Practices to Deliver Exceptional Multichannel Experiences from Veeva, they look at five ways to develop this meaningful customer interaction which can be executed with expert knowledge of your customers habits.  The knowledge comes from great emphasis on the data you collect from your customers as they have interactions across your chain of channels.

So what are the five best practices to achieve this?
  1. Ensure Reliable Customer Data: Set up and have a reliable CRM so that inteactions along a physician's customer journey can be mapped in one single source.
  2. Align Channels to the Customer Journey: Understand the customer journey across all channels and within your company.  Determine any new touch points that need to be created and capitalized on.  It's also important to understand how a customer sees each channel and how they're using it to interact with your products.
  3. Create a High-leverage Content Strategy: Content is king.  When developing content, develop evergreen content that can be used across channels.  With each piece of content, it should customized to fit the voice and tone of the channel.  Evergreen content should be updated twice a year.
  4. Offer a Personalized Experience: Know the needs of the people you are messaging and use data to determine relevant, key messaging for each customer.  Relevant content to any situation should be used and shared with the customer.
  5. Monitor, Measure, Improve: Analyze key performance metrics throughout the customer journey.  Use this data to continuously improve the customer journey and improve your channels.
Read the full white paper here.

Veeva is a Platinum sponsor at this year's ePharma taking place February 24-26, 2015. Would you like to join them to learn more about comprehensive multichannel experiences? As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP2006BL, you can save $100 off the current rate.

Monday, January 26, 2015

How have healthcare industry attitudes changed regarding the causes of medication non-adherence?

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Today we continue our conversation withwith Dr. Katrina Firlik, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at HealthPrize Technology. Today, she shares her insights on how this troubling trend has begun to be noticed by the industry:
Speaker Dr. Katrina Firlik
This is a really interesting question because for decades, really, or even longer people looked at the problem of non-adherence through a couple of different lenses. One is people assumed that it was largely because of cost. In other words, medications cost a lot of money and so patients can’t afford them and so patients don’t take them. Now clearly, that is a problem most certainly. And it’s the problem for many patients. But what’s interesting is that for many other patients it’s not the main problem. 
To give you a couple of examples. If you look at countries in Europe where medication is essentially free to its citizens, they have roughly the same adherence rates that we do here in the US. Using free medication as an intervention, in essence, has been tried here in the United States. It was most famously published a couple of years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine where patients leaving the hospital after having a heart attack were divided into two groups. One group got all of their cardiovascular medication for free and the other group had to pay the usual co-pay. The group receiving free medication had adherence rates that were only 4-6 percentage points higher than the controlled group. What that’s showing is that if you lower the cost of medication or give them away for free, it does definitely make a dent in the problem. But it doesn’t solve the problem, by any means. So, really, there is something else going on here. 
The other lens that is most commonly used when looking at adherence is forgetfulness. Again, just like cost, forgetfulness is a cause of the problem, but not necessarily the cause of the problem. What is interesting about all the reminder programs out there – whether they are reminders by phone call or text or email or letters in the mail – is that they are definitely helpful for patients that are motivated to fill the medication in the first place and to take the medications. It’s the perfect application for somebody who is already 80% adherent or more and occasionally skips a dose or misses a dose unintentionally if they are travelling or they are busy and just accidentally forget a dose. 
A reminder is very helpful for that sort of patient. But, those patients are not really the force of this non-adherence problem. In other words, what you really have to do is approach patients who aren’t already sufficiently motivated; the ones who are not already 80 or 90% compliant and you are simply trying to perfect their adherence.
The real goal is to improve persistence, meaning keeping people on therapy and keeping them filling from one month to the next. That’s the real issue. Not patients who miss a dose here or there. The real issue is people who quit medication or never even fill the first one. So, really, it comes down to a motivational issue. Even if you can come up with the perfect reminder program and give the medication away for free, there is still a significant adherence challenge. 
We like to look at the problem through the lens of what we call “present bias”, which is a behavior economics concept that is quite simple. As humans, we are impatient. We value short-term rewards over long-term rewards. The fundamental problem with chronic medications is that they come with no short-term reward. In other words, the rewards are all downstream, maybe years or even decades in the future. So, it’s hard to do something today when the benefits are years in the future. That’s what we believe is the significant driver of the problem. In fact, it could be compared very simply to the failure to save for retirement. It’s actually a very similar psychological challenge. It’s hard to put away money today in your 30’s when it benefits you decades in the future. That’s exactly the sort of challenge that we are dealing with in chronic medication.
Katrina also discussed what this impact has downstream in a patient's experience, the huge problem this is for the industry and the broader level than patients and physicians, potential interventions and more.  Download the entire interview here.

Want to hear more from Katrina? She'll be joining us at ePharma this February for the presentation Improve Medication Adherence by Understanding What’s Actually Driving Non-Adherence.  The event will take place February 24-26, 2015.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP2006BL, you can save $100 off the current rate!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Why ePharma is different from the rest

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This year at ePharma, we are elevating the digital marketing experiences and networking opportunity to the next level.  How?

Here are a few of the unique opportunities for you to get to know your industry this February:

  • ePharma is focused on collaboration via moderated discussions and impromptu conversations, not dry slide decks or vendor-led presentations
  • ePharma has exclusive, brand new off-site networking and special events including
    • ePharma Karaoke After Party
    • Dinner with Strangers
    • Expedition Learning: The Future of the Interconnected Hospital Room
  • ePharma presents more opportunities to hear from other attendees due to time built into the program specifically for discussion amongst speakers and attendees
  • ePharma's unique format provides you with the opportunity to connect with every speaker and attendee in the room and understand their unique perspectives
  • 70% new speakers for the freshest insights
  • Pharma executives are eligible for a "buy one pass, get one free" offer*
As a reader of this blog, you have the opportunity to register to join us at $100 off current rates when you mention priority code XP2006BL.  ePharma takes place February 24-26 in New York City.  Have any questions about our new marketing opportunities or want to get involved?  Email Jennifer Pereira.



Is There a Difference Between CRM and Marketing Automation?

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By now, customer relationship management (CRM) software has become a staple of how many sales teams operate. CRMs save a lot of time by automating much of the sales process, and many products now offer marketing features.

But if CRMs all offer salesforce automation, do these new marketing capabilities mean CRMs now offer marketing automation?

Are the two terms becoming synonymous?

The answer is no. CRM and marketing automation serve two distinct purposes, and although CRMs have begun to dabble in marketing, their offerings pale in comparison to true marketing automation systems such as Hubspot or Marketo.

The good news is you shouldn’t want CRM and marketing automation to be the same thing. Both types of technology can offer tremendous value to your company, but they have two distinct approaches and serve two different functions.

Let’s clarify this by examining the strengths and methodologies behind each software.

Where CRMs Excel

Customer relationship management software emerged in the 1980s and early 1990s as a combination of database marketing and contact management. Its origins are relevant because these features are still key to CRM’s purpose today.

In a nutshell, CRM software helps sales teams build databases about their company’s customers so they can provide better customer service or sell with more context. This not only makes sales or customer service representatives more effective at their job, but also provider a better experience for the customer.

For life science organizations this is crucial, because physicians are a particularly demanding market who often have limited time and patience. Being armed with relevant information about the physician’s preferences isn’t an option: it’s the standard.

CRM also has other uses, such as:
-          Call logging, appointment setting, and other KPI tracking that measure productivity
-          Social media integration for communicating with customers through Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on.
-          Storing financial data like sales numbers as well as administrative data, like contract information
-          Analyzing data to forecast future sales

Again, many CRMs are adding email and other marketing features to this list, but these are really just extras. The number of emails these systems can send are limited, as is the amount of personalization available.
Personalized marketing at scale is best left to marketing automation platforms.

Where Marketing Automation Works Best

Just as CRM evolved from the combination of selling tools, marketing automation tools emerged as a central resource for many of the features necessary for digital marketing.

These systems can be quite powerful and often require technical set up to integrate with your website. Their main functionality includes:
-          Automating and personalizing multiple email or “drip” marketing campaigns
-          Scoring customers or leads based on their activity on your site, your social media channels, and your email marketing
-          Building landing pages and other online resources that contain sign-up forms for acquiring customer information
-          Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, such as Google Adwords and banner ads
-          Granular segmentation based on lead behavior rather than demographic data
-          Attribution models that measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns across channels

This list covers most of the common features, but check out this article by Marketo for a comprehensive list of marketing automation features.

The growing popularity of this software is being driven by the online behavior of consumers. In short, the buying cycle is changing, and customers are contacting sales at a far later stage because they’re doing more of their own research.

Marketing automation’s purpose is distinct from CRM in that it distributes content based on the interests and behaviors of prospects in order to move them closer to the buying stage. CRM works best on a one-to-one basis, and marketing automation is only worth your time once you’re ready to scale.

Despite the inclusion of the word “automation” in the name of these solutions, this technology doesn’t turn your business into a robot. When used correctly, marketing automation’s strong segmentation capabilities should allow you to distribute your content in a way that ensures maximum relevancy — which actually results in more personal communications.

For example, a number of physicians may have an interest in prescribing the same medication, but are their interests all uniform? No? Then they shouldn’t get the same email describing the product.

Marketing automation allows you to divide them up based on the pages they browsed on your website and send them more information that expands on the benefits in which they’ve expressed interest.

So marketing automation not only offers significantly different features than CRM software, but it also serves a significantly different purpose. CRMs help your sales teams become more effective at converting, while marketing automation ensures your sales teams have plenty of opportunities to close.


About the Author: Zach Watson is the content manager at TechnologyAdvice. He covers gamification, healthcare IT, business intelligence, and other emerging technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

For patients with chronic illnesses, EHR infrastructure must be improved

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Imagine having a bowel obstruction and going to the emergency room of a hospital you’ve never been to before. When you arrive, you first have to explain to the doctors and nursing staff that you have a debilitating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that many are unfamiliar with. Then you have to run down the list of what medications you take, what allergies you have, and all other pertinent information. The time it takes to share this critical information means that you have to wait longer to get treated, leaving you scared and in pain.

The evolution of Electronic Health Records (EHR) was meant to improve efficiency and quality of care for patients, but for many, the cross-communication between different doctors and medical facilities is lacking. In fact, according to a study by Premier, about 95% of healthcare providers and organizations cite interoperability challenges as a hindrance to transferring data to other medical facilities.

As the caregiver of someone with Crohn's disease, one of the two debilitating digestive diseases under the IBD umbrella, I'm used to having to regurgitate my husband's medical information. Thankfully, it doesn't happen often since most of his care takes place at a major university hospital in Connecticut where EHR is widely utilized. However, when my husband went to the emergency room in 2011 at a different hospital in the state, we had to fill them in on his medical history, and when he was released, his records were not automatically shared with his doctor. Instead, we had to get physical copies of his records and imaging to bring with us when we saw his doctor after he was released. That information then had to be uploaded into his EHR that his gastroenterologist maintains.

For the 117 million people in the U.S. living with one or more chronic illnesses, like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, managing health care records across multiple offices and facilities can be time consuming and burdensome. Patients living with an inflammatory bowel disease experience many health issues in addition to the havoc that is wreaked on their digestive systems. Many suffer from arthritis, migraines, anemia, skin rashes, and other autoimmune diseases. This means that in addition to seeing a gastroenterologist and primary care physician, IBD patients may also see rheumatologists, neurologists, nephrologists, dermatologists, and, often times, colorectal surgeons.

Managing complete paper records with each specialist can be onerous. Prior to the wide implementation of EHRs, each specialist would have to fax or mail physical copies of test results, scans, and other pertinent medical data to the others, which was slow and inefficient.

Now, with 78% of office-based physicians using EHRs, the process should be smoother. Theoretically, a doctor in one office should be able to transmit the blood work of a patient to someone in a different office, allowing for a smooth continuance of care. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case and it shouldn’t have to be this complicated.

Congress recognizes the need to fix this interoperability issue and, in the combination long-term omnibus spending bill/short-term continuing resolution (Cromnibus) passed last month, instructions were given to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to “improve the interoperability of Electronic Health Records.”

Streamlining the EHR infrastructure to support information sharing among medical professionals will not only increase efficiency and save money, but it will also vastly improve the quality of care that patients receive from their doctors, nurses, and hospitals. For patients with chronic illness, improving EHR interoperability will allow them to be treated holistically instead of piecemeal by promoting communication and collaboration between specialists on their medical treatment.

This improvement isn't something that can wait. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology must act quickly to tackle these major EHR infrastructure issues. The health and wellbeing of millions of Americans with chronic illnesses depends upon it.

About the author:
Rebecca Kaplan is a communications consultant, freelance writer, and blogger. You can read more about her life loving someone with Crohn's disease on her blog, on Huffington Post, or follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Pharmaceutical Marketers Can Learn From Perfectionists

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This article was originally published on the Physicians Interactive blog by Guest Author Ken Locicero, PhD. Vice President, Physicians Interactive. Physicians Interactive is a media partner of ePharma Summit 2015 taking place February 24-26 in New York City.

Hey, Product Manager… Are you pursuing success? Or fleeing failure?

In the late 90s, I had the chance to research and publish on Perfectionism. It’s a broad area and very entertaining. Everyone always seem to know who the perfectionist is in their family, work group, or social group (if they don’t readily identify themselves as a perfectionist), and some interpretation of what it means to be a perfectionist. However, if you cull down to the core of perfectionism, it’s really about simply setting very high standards.

Perfectionists can be sorted into two distinct types: Adaptive and Maladaptive. The basic difference between Adaptive and Maladaptive Perfectionists is essentially how they react to achieving—or not achieving—the high standard they’ve set. For example, think back to your time in school and that Marketing 101 final exam. Perhaps you set a goal to get an A. For the perfectionist, the goal is to ace the exam. Anything less—even 99 out of 100—is a slippery slope to failure. But now, let’s consider how a maladaptive’s experience differs from an adaptive’s experience in relation to the outcome of their lofty pursuit:


Hmmmm. Exhilaration or Relief. The Adaptive Perfectionist tends to pursue success. The Maladaptive Perfectionist tends to flee failure. We can learn a lot from our perfectionistic friends and loved ones about how we engage at work.

Are you pursuing success or fleeing failure?

In the last 17 years of supporting pharmaceutical marketing teams with HCP engagement solutions to drive business, I’ve worked with many ‘perfectionists’ of both types. Those that pursue success are the ones that always seem to be on the crest or ahead of the wave in the industry. The fleers perpetuate the same cycle of choosing the safe route and ultimately “bask in the glory” of non-failure. In the marketing world, we might call this “exceptional adequacy” (we could also call it complacency). The pursuers are the ones who understand that when something is broken, they have an opportunity to take calculated risks and lead change— fully embracing the notion that success is derived from is the opposite of complacency.

Today’s life sciences marketing is rapidly changing to solve the issues related to the broken commercial model. Digital HCP engagement has been propelled to the forefront of what is required to support medical practice in the HCP workflow — and to do so cost effectively. Accelerated by electronic health record (EHR) adoption, HCPs spend increasingly more time engaging with technology to support education, treatment decisions, and patient outcomes. Consumers and patients have been there long before the recent HCP surge. Opportunity abounds. And yet, most life science company partners either show reluctance to embrace the change, merely providing lip service, or they actively marginalize results by perpetuating a siloed point of view:

“I don’t believe in digital.”

“I’m not convinced about mobile.”

“We know we should be integrating digital, but we still don’t do it or just don’t know how to.”
“Our customers are different; they haven’t really adopted digital and still heavily rely on our sales force.”

With the brightest and most innovative minds in the life science sector, many partners are still holding onto the mantra of “Let’s be first to be second.” How is it still possible, or acceptable, to move so slowly in adapting to the real change that is happening?

Perhaps a more important question: How does leadership inspire an innovative culture of accelerating promotion that better aligns to today’s digital revolution?

And, finally, whether you are or are not a perfectionist, the most important question you can ask yourself every day: Are you pursuing success for your brand or fleeing failure?

Want a free pass to ePharma 2015? Retweet to enter for a chance to win! To retweet, click here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Patient Safety: Are Hospitals Safe?

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This article was originally published on HealthIT and mHealth’s website. HealthIT and mHealth is a media partner of ePharma Summit 2015 taking place February 24-26 in New York City.

Some say that Thanksgiving is the one of the busiest days of the year for hospitals. If you end up in the hospital are you really in good hands or are you being cared for by an intern who has had little sleep and is afraid to talk to their attending?  

In 2008, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal about how cockpit communication and hierarchy lead to plane crashes.  The aviation industry has since shaped up its act, but the healthcare industry has not.  The culture of the hospital is still very hierarchical; in most hospitals employees use formal prefixes to refer to Dr’s and there is a clear seniority divide between nurses, interns, attendings and surgeons.  Nurses and interns are afraid to speak up if senior level doctor makes a mistake, and senior level doctors are afraid to admit mistakes.  Business school students pour over detailed case studies of the failures of top executives and companies, while medical students are memorizing information they could find online in less than three minutes. Mistakes happen, they need to be pointed out, admitted to and studied.

Here are some scary facts from Pat Mastors’s book, “Design to Survive”:
·         Infections in hospitals kill 99,000 people each year, more than AIDS, car accidents and breast cancer combined
·         U.S. surgeons operate on the wrong body part as often as 40 times per week
·         The CDC estimates that half of antibiotics in the United States are inappropriately prescribed
·         Research published in April 2012 by the American Journal for Infection Control reveals that 92% percent of hospital privacy curtains were contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria such as MRSA and VRE
·         Hand-hygiene compliance by health care workers in many facilities hovers around 50%
·         For decades no one has been charged with inspecting hospitals for cleanliness, or mandating that they are clean at all
·         At the University of Maryland, 65% of medical personnel confessed they change their lab coat less than once a week
·         Up to 195,000 people die each year of potentially preventable medical errors
·         A Boston Globe investigation found 200 patients died in recent five-year period because nurses didn’t hear or failed to react with urgency to beeping alarms

If you or a loved one ends up in the hospital, here are some resources to keep you and your loved ones safe. How to find a safe hospital:
·         Hospital Compare-US Department of Health and Human Services reports on outcomes data for physicians hospitals and nursing homes
·         ZocDoc-Publishes reviews about providers from verified patients
·         Angie’s List-Provides a list of top doctors and dentists from 5 years worth of data from patients.  The site also provides a tool to confirm medical licencing
·         Certification Matters- The American Board of Medical Specialties provides a search tool to determine if your provider is Board Certified
·         Americas Best Hospitals- US News ranks over 5,000 hospitals every year
·         Healthgrades - provides a list of Americas best hospitals based solely on clinical quality outcomes and provides reviews of providers and hospitals
·         RateMDs-allows patients to write and read reviews of their doctors
·         Hopsital Safety Score-the Leapfrog group grades hospitals on how safe they keep their patients from errors, accidents, injuries and infections
·         Patient Satisfaction Scores- The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems (HCAHPS) surveys patients on the following topics: communication with doctors, communication with nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff, pain management, communication about medicines, discharge information, cleanliness of the hospital environment, quietness of the hospital environment, and transition of care
·         Clear Health Costs-provides pricing information for treatments, surgeries and other medical procedures or visits
·         Medibid-provides a platform for providers to bid on procedures for self-pay patients
·         Snaphealth-online health care search engine for purchasing medical and diagnostic services in cash-based transactions
·         Castlight Health-a web application that provides information to patients about healthcare costs, usage, coverage and choices
·         pokitDoc-PokitDok provides enterprise access to market driven provider, treatment and price information for Employers, Payers, and Health networks seeking to reduce expenses and capture lost reimbursements. PokitDok also provides an e-commerce storefront for practitioners seeking to market their services and enable consumers to shop & pay for treatment up front.

Educate yourself on hospital acquired infections and medical errors:
·         RID-The committee to reduce infection deaths provides a wealth of information about hospital acquired infections
·         Association of Professionals in Infection Control-is the leading professional association for infection preventionists
·         Mothers Against Medical Error (MAME)- a group of parents committed to promote safety in our medical system
·         Alliance for Safety Awareness for Patients (ASAP)-educates and protects patients through awareness of hospital acquired infections such as Necrotizing Fasciitis, MRSA, VRE, and Sepsis
·         Persons United Limiting Sub-Standards and Errors in Healthcare-a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization working to improve patient safety and reduce the rate of medical errors using real life stories and experiences
·         The Institute for Safe Medication Practices- a 501c (3) nonprofit organization devoted entirely to medication error prevention and safe medication use
·         Learn as much as you can from other patients who have the same illness and be an engaged patient:
·         CureTogether- a platform for patients to talk about sensitive symptoms, compare which treatments work best for them and track their health.
·         Inspire-online patient engagement community
·         Cautious Patient-informs patients of healthcare quality problems and the pitfalls in the healthcare system, teaches them how to find the information they need, and coaches them to interact with the healthcare system effectively to ensure quality treatment
·         Society for Participatory Medicine-a 501(c) 3 is a not-for-profit organization devoted to promoting the concept of participatory medicine, a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health, and in which providers encourage and value them as full partners.
·         e-Patient Dave- is a cancer patient and blogger who, in 2009, became a noted activist for healthcare transformation through participatory medicine and personal health data rights
·         Patients Like Me- provides a better, more effective way for you to share your real-world health experiences in order to help yourself, other patients like you and organizations that focus on your conditions.
·         EmpoweredPatientCoalition- a 501(c)(3) charitable organization created by patient advocates devoted to helping the public improve the quality and the safety of their healthcare. The organization informs, engages and empowers the public with information and resources. They have dozens of free resources located on their companion website at EngagedPatients.org – all written by and for patients.  They also have an app called Empowered Patient that can be found on the iTunes store.
·         RallyHealth-Rally Health thrives at the intersection of ground-breaking technology and improving healthcare outcomes through patient engagement

Get a patient advocate:
·         AdvoConnection-a directory of private, independent and professional health and patient advocates
·         Advocate Directory- a directory of people whose mission relates to the improvement of quality and transparency in healthcare, or the provision of services or resources that improve the safety of individual patients

·         Kinergy Health-provides the skilled personal assistance your family needs to ease the adoption of healthcare technologies, access qualified information resources, and identify appropriate services.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The challenge of increasing patient adherence

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Over the past few weeks, we've had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Katrina Firlik, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at HealthPrize Technology and have her share her insights on patient adherence, the overall effect of the health care system and if this can be changed. In a recent article published at Mobi Health News, HealthPrize shares some of the recent success they've seen in efforts to increase patient adherence.  They partnered with five different Pharma companies to test adherence measures in diabetes, hypertension, acne and asthma or COPD. Adherence levels raised 54%. They found that the diabetes patients were the one group that were resistant to patient adherence - their group only showing adherence to medication at 39%.

For measurement in success in medication adherence, Healthprize both tracked refills at the pharmacy and used gamification, rewards, and daily educational content to motivate patients to take their medication and to refill prescriptions.  Their unique methods create an engagement and login level on par with Facebook.  Hear directly from Healthprize and founder Dr. Katrina Firlik's efforts to engage patients and adherence in our exclusive ePharma podcast here.

HealthPrize will be joining us this February at ePharma to present "Improve Medication Adherence by Understanding What's Actually Driving Non–Adherence". For more information on this session and the rest of the program, download the agenda. As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP2006BL, you can save $100 off current rates.