Friday, December 19, 2014

Electronic Health Records: Where is the disconnect?

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The value of electronic health records is untapped.  The benefits of properly utilizing this tool include improving quality and convenience of patient care, increasing patient participation in their care, improving accuracy of diagnoses and health outcomes, improving care coordination and increasing practice efficiencies and cost savings according to HealthIT.gov.  But as Scott Wallace points out in a recent article at the Health Affairs Blog, many things must change before they reach their full potential and are a value to both the clinician and the patient with the record.

The hospital is the main purchaser and implementer when it comes to electronic health records.  The hospital has purchased the software as a business decision - creating a way to provide more value to the patient.  However, it's the clinicians  who are on the front lines every day.  Many are frustrated because the creation of electronic health records often neglects their needs and doesn't allow them to better care for their patient - their ultimate goal.  There is a unique challenge to get the needs of the corporation (the hospital) to meet the needs of the business unit (the hospital).

The article points out three things that would be beneficial in the design of electronic health records:
  1. Focus on the data entry requirements so that it meets the needs of the clinicians
  2. Create value for different segments of patients by providing services and solutions to meet patients’ needs
  3. Develop a method to find the targeted information for the medical circumstances of the patient being seen
When it comes to the design of EHRs, how do you think Pharma can help meet the needs of the physicians?  Could there be some kind of supplemental value provided by the Pharma companies about their drugs, the research behind their drugs or something else?

This February 24-26, 2014 at ePharma, we'll be spending an  afternoon with Eli Lilly and Merck to look at the opportunities presented to Pharma companies looking at how they can help make electronic health records usable, accessible, and better for their work flow.  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 rate.  You also have the chance to win a free pass to ePharma by retweeting this tweet. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Web Seminar: Evolving Marketing Plans with Online Insights

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Evolving Marketing Plans with Online Insights

Date: Thursday, January 15, 2015
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST
Presented by:  Tom Jones, Senior Vice President, Makovsky
Register to join us.  Mention priority code XP2006W1

About the web seminar:
Evolving Marketing Plans with Online InsightsHealthcare communication continues to go through an evolutionary change. Online resources offer support, answers and second opinions across the entire patient journey – from the first sign of symptoms to looking up treatment alternatives; from finding the closest pharmacy to fill a prescription to monitoring your sleep patterns and diet on the road back to wellness.

Today’s health consumer is surrounded by a myriad of access points and personalized, on-demand resources, while they sit at the center managing their own care. Makovsky investigates consumer behavior and preferences for engaging with online health information annually. This webinar will discuss the evolution of online search, trends and strategies to deliver the highest ROI, including teasing data from the fifth survey to be presented at ePharma in February.

What you will learn:
  • Where consumers search for health information online
  • What consumers search for right after diagnosis
  • How pharma can engage authentically with patients—where, when and what works
  • What motivates consumers to visit a pharma site
  • How to translate this information into marketing plans

Makovsky is a sponsor of this year's ePharma, taking place February 24-26, 2015 in New York City. As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP2000BL, you can save $100 off the current rate.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Marketing Could Be Responsible for the Impending Globalization of ADHD Diagnosis

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Lately, it seems like the diagnosis and treatment of the behavioral condition Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been extremely frequent. According to Brandeis professor Peter Conrad, it’s an economic and cultural plague, but not necessarily a medical one.

In a recent paper in the Journal Social Science and Medicine, Conrad and coauthor Meredith Bergey examined the growth of ADHD in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Brazil. The paper attributes ADHD's global growth to five trends: expanded, overseas lobbying efforts by drug companies; the growth of biological psychiatry; the adaptation of the American-based Diagnostic and Statistical Manual standards; promotion of pharmaceutical treatments by ADHD advocacy groups that work with drug companies; and the availability of ADHD information and self-diagnosis via the Internet.

Until recently, North America tallied by far the most ADHD diagnoses, and the U.S. consumed 90 percent of all Ritalin - one of the most common ADHD drugs. ADHD diagnoses continue to grow in the U.S., but Americans account for only 75 percent of Ritalin users today.


Many websites promoting ADHD drugs offer checklists with questions like ‘Do you fidget a lot?’ ‘Is it hard for you to concentrate?’ ‘Are you disorganized at work and home?’ "These checklists turn all kinds of different behaviors into medical problems," Conrad said in a statement. "The checklists don't distinguish what is part of the human condition and what is a disease."

According to the paper, in the U.K., diagnosis of the disorder in school-age children grew from less than one percent in the 1990s to about five percent today. In Germany, prescription ADHD drugs increased from 10 million daily doses in 1998 to 53 million in 2008. And, growth in Italy and France has been slower, in part due to those countries' more restrictive pharmaceutical drug laws, but according to Conrad, even those countries are becoming more lenient.

"There is no pharmacological magic bullet," said Conrad. “No drug can account for nonmedical factors that may contribute to behavior. A fidgety student may be responding to the one-size-fits-all compulsory education system, not a flaw in his brain chemistry…I think we may look back on this time in 50 years and ask, what did we do to these kids?"

To read the full paper, click here.

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

A brand new ePharma website has recently been launched. Check it out here: http://bit.ly/1IUvs9a

This piece was contributed by @AmandaCicc.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Doctors say patients aren’t interested in mHealth data integration

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According to a recent Forbes report, patients have little to no interest in integrating mHealth data into medical health records.  

Recently, Practice Fusion, cloud-based electronic health record provider, asked the following question to 20,000 of its 112,000 medical professional user base: Have your patients asked you about incorporating their health data from either their wearable fitness trackers or from their health apps into their health records? The result: out of the 353 doctors who responded, 85 percent said "No."
“The patient-led, smartphone-based health care revolution is not knocking at the door of practices across America—at least not according to those doctors,” Forbes wrote.

In fact, even Practice Fusion's CEO Ryan Howard hasn't integrated his personal healthcare records with Apple's HealthKit. "The data [from apps] is of little value to start with," Howard explained to Forbes.


This poll has come out a few months after Apple's hyped June launch of the HealthKit platform, which some industry observers believe will be the game-changer in driving consumer interest and use of mHealth technology forward.

But, there are still many obstacles in mHealth tech and data sharing including security regulatory issues that need to be addressed. Not to mention a great deal of marketing needs to go into informing doctors and patients that mHealth solutions actually exist.

To read the full report, click here.

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

This piece was contributed by @AmandaCicc.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Seven Topics to Look Forward to at ePharma 2015

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Companies are consolidating, budgets are being slashed, and the demand to be innovative (while maintaining compliance) has never been higher. It's time evolve and modernize your marketing strategy.

New for this year, ePharma focuses on the seven critical categories affecting your bottom line, outlined below. Based on popular feedback, each focus area concludes with the Conversation Arena (a moderated discussion) that allows you to better engage with experts, ask those burning questions, and get clarification on how to make their ideas work for you.

The seven focus areas include:
  1. The EHR Opportunity | Engage in the workflow, improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs
  2. Payer Marketing Integration | Enhance relationships to increase inclusion on formularies
  3. Wearables and mHealth Technologies | Discover brandable opportunities while improving Health Outcomes
  4. Sales Rep. Integration | Advance HCP engagement through personalized communications while decreasing sales expenditures
  5. Advances in NPP | Create scalable conversations that transform decision-making into consumption
  6. Harness Digital Media | Optimize spend to heighten reach plus engagement
  7. Patient Engagement in New Healthcare Ecosystem | Drive patient demand for your brand to increase scripts
How are we covering each of these seven areas? Download the preliminary agenda to find out.

ePharma 2015 will take place February 24-26, 2015. As a reader of this blog, you are eligible to save $100 off current rates when you register to join us and mention priority code XP2006BL. Are you a pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device manufacturer employee? You are eligible for a Buy One, Get One Free offer. Find out more and register to join us here.

Did you know we're giving away free passes to ePharma on Twitter?  Simply retweet this tweet to enter.  A winner will be notified on Wednesday, December 10.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Optimizing the Customer Experience through Multi-Social Marketing

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In the life sciences industry, multi-social marketing is new to most people. Many assume multi-social marketing is only about applying core creative elements across all communication channels — print, digital, online, and social media. But, it actually interlaces siloed channels and creates immersive experiences that align with the customer journey.

According to PharmaVoice Multi-social marketing begins with storytelling - a powerful tool to connect and inspire action that goes beyond facts and data. Effective storytelling engages the emotions of customers and inspires them. The best multi-social marketing initiatives integrate campaigns and leverage best practices from all channels, including print, digital, and social media. The most successful initiatives focus on the needs of different customer segments at each point in their journeys through the channels they prefer. And, the final critical element is the creation of value for customers beyond the prescribed treatment - value beyond the treatment is what keeps customers engaged with a brand.


To develop a successful multi-social marketing campaign, you have to understand the customer experience. Dive deep to understand the interactions between physicians, patients, caregivers, nurses, pharmacists, and information sources. Once the customer experience is understood, the multi-social marketing experience strategy can be created. The process for developing a multi-social strategy includes:
  • Discovery—Ask questions and gather data to understand current and future customer needs.
  • Assessment— Understand and predict customer needs now and in the future.
  • Market research— Confirm assumptions about unmet needs and predict behavior across all channels.
  • Insights—Transform data through analysis into business intelligence.
  • Short-term optimization—Develop plans to interact with customers that deliver what they need, when they need it, and how they want it.
  • Long-term solutions—Apply the right resources (staff, processes, technology, content) to the work.
We’ll have more on the latest in pharma marketing at ePharma. Join us February 24-26 in New York, NY. Follow @ePharma + RT for chance to win 1 Gold Pass (value of up to $3,495): http://bit.ly/1rV6ZM1  

This piece was contributed by @AmandaCicc.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How Multi-Social Marketing Applies to Life Sciences

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Today, multi-social marketing is a customer-centric and a very powerful tool that forms a strong pillar in the community that controls your brand. Multi-social marketing strategies and content distribution can meet many of the challenges faced by healthcare marketers, including enhancing patient outcomes, delivering value to healthcare providers, and enhancing business results.

To guide future marketing strategies, drive brand loyalty, and improve ROI, life sciences companies can actually deepen their insights into customer needs through engagement. In addition, content from previously siloed channels can be repurposed for delivery directly to tablets, smartphones, and laptops—integrating those channels and ensuring moments are woven throughout the entire brand story. The ideal formula for developing an effective multi-social marketing strategy combines brand awareness with a variety of delivery channels, allowing customers to drive their interactions with the brand through the content and experiences that provide meaning to their journeys.

The best multi-social campaigns begin with compelling storytelling, focus on meeting customers’ emotional and functional needs throughout their journeys. To engage customers effectively, life sciences companies must provide compelling stories that reach customers at critical points in their journeys. According to PharmaVoice, here are some key considerations for effectively engaging customers:

Access— Access is the ability to choose content wherever customers want to engage. Access requires content availability through various channels.

Control—Control means that customers choose what information to access, as well as when and even how they access it.

Reciprocity—Reciprocity means ensuring the give-and-take with customers. You need to provide value to customers before making requests of them and in return they’ll give you loyalty.

Experiences—Today, customers want an experience, not a manufactured brand moment. So, provide them with a series of experiences all tied together with a story that resonates with their journeys.

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

This piece was contributed by @AmandaCicc.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cyber Monday starts early! See details how you can save on ePharma

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To get a head start on the holiday season, as a member of our online community, we’re giving you an extended chance to take advantage of our Cyber Monday sale.

Register for ePharma and receive 30% off the standard rates. Mention code CYBER2014!**


That's not the only event you can save on.  Check out select other IIR events you might be interested in:

IIR’s 19th Annual Drug Delivery Partnerships 
January 29-30, 2015 in Boca Raton, FL.
Accelerating the path to market by leveraging new partnerships, breakthrough innovation and unique business models. Visit the website for full details.
More about the event.
Register here.

IIR’s 12th Annual Medicare Congress
February 3-5, 2015 in New Orleans, LA
Survive the toughest rate environment to date with lessons from top-notch healthcare executives
Visit the website for full details.
Register here.

IIR’s 24th Annual Partnerships in Clinical Trials
April 22-24, 2015 in Boston, MA visit the website for full details.
Accelerate speed to market by leveraging new partners, new technologies, and new business models at the must-attend clinical event of the year
More about the event.
Register here.

See the full list of events here.
Have any questions? Email Jennifer Pereira.

*This promotion is only valid Wednesday, November 26th 2014 through Monday, December 1st  2014. Offer cannot be applied retroactively to confirmed paying registrants and cannot be combined with any other discounts or promotions. All registrants and guests are subject to IIR approval.
**Cyber Weekend offer only applicable to registrants not utilizing the Buy One Get One offer. Only pharma/biotech/med device companies are eligible for The Buy One Get Offer

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Use Your CRM to Make Every Physician Interaction Count

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The life of a pharmaceutical sales representative is a tough one, and it’s only getting more difficult. The amount of time spent sharpening your clinical knowledge won’t mean much if you can’t get in front of a physician or prescriber – a task that includes an increasing amount of obstacles, such as the Sunshine Act. In addition, many physicians are changing their policy regarding how they receive non-patient visitors, with a reported 45 percent of prescribers restricting access to sales representatives.

Undoubtedly, an avalanche of sales calls forced physicians to change their protocols, but the truth is that some of the highest prescribing specialists, like oncologists, say they prefer face-to-face interaction to other forms of marketing communication. Another paradox of this policy can be found in a study by a Clinical Journal of Hypertension that found prescribers who don’t see sales reps are less likely to head FDA Black Box warnings and are slower to adopt new medications and doses.

So how can you find the balance in the two extremes? Pharmaceutical sales strategies are moving away from antiquated bombardments of a physician’s office to an emphasis on customer-centric, value-based tactics. Customer data plays a key role in executing this new type of strategy, so smart reps will quickly become experts in using the best source of customer data available – your organization’s customer relationship management software.

CRM Isn’t New, But It’s Vital          

Major pharmaceutical organizations have been using CRM products for decades, because the nature of the pharmaceutical industry demands that reps keep detailed information on prospects and customers. Spreadsheets are clumsy options for this type of data storage, and sharing spreadsheets filled with rows and rows of data isn’t ideal either – all of which make CRM software a natural choice for pharmaceutical companies.

We’re even at the point where CRM are made specifically for pharmaceutical companies.
And while you’ve probably been trained on how to use a CRM product, it’s the methodology that goes along with the software that can change the way you interaction with physicians. Instead of just using a physician’s location, prescribing habits, and personal interests as a method for pushing general, high-priced products, make sure you come equipped with samples laser focused on the niche population that physician is treating.

After all, even if some physicians prefer in-person encounters, the ideal length of time for a conversation with a sales rep is 5 minutes or less. That doesn’t leave much time for small talk, so get straight to the detailing and make sure your conversation is guided by the evidence, i.e., the data about this customer from your CRM.

Use Personas to Scale

Another key change in the pharmaceutical sales process is a movement away from one to one sales interactions towards tactics that produce value for entire organizations or multiple prescribers. But how do you accomplish this while staying focused on the preferences of each physician? Isn’t that counterintuitive?

Not if you build personas. Personas are mixes of qualitative and quantitative data – hey, just the kind you have in your CRM! – that represent different types of customers. By using personas that represent different prescriber types you’ll be able to devise strategies that work on a larger scale than a one to one basis.

For example, high prescribing physicians will of course each have different personal interests and ways of practicing, but they likely all share certain characteristics and professional habits that you can identify and sell toward. Common objections are a great qualitative data point to start with, and seasonal prescribing habits are an example of quantitative characteristics for your personas.
By building personas, you’ll be able to scale your strategies and spend less time worrying over one specific prescriber.

Become More of a Marketer

With access increasingly restricted and the Sunshine Act barring opportunities for hosting events, it’s time to think of alternative mediums for reaching your target prescribers. Based on the personas you’ve built, you’ll know which ones prefer to interact over email, and if you’ve got a decent CRM, then you’ll be able to send mass emails from inside the same program.

In this sense, you’ll need to think like a marketer. Forget about your quarterly numbers for a moment and consider how you can generate the most value for your prescribers. Likely this will involve including new product information, clinical trial results, or enrollment opportunities in your email, but it really depends on which personas you’re targeting.

Because you’re not going to send the same email to everyone, are you? Segmenting your email efforts by persona is an excellent use of your CRM data and it’s something that your marketing department is likely already involved in.

Again, if your CRM is up to snuff, you’ll be able to see which prescribers opened your emails and which didn’t. Email’s also great because a significant number of people still open most of their emails, so while it may seem simple, if you do it well, it’s effective. In fact, 79 percent of physicians prefer e-detailing to face-to-face encounters.

By refocusing your tactics to be more customer centric and data driven, you’ll be able to develop more efficient strategies and ideally increase your market share. And it all starts with data in your CRM system. Using evidence for your sales and marketing decisions is par for the course at this point, so if you’re only using your CRM for sales automation, you’re falling behind.



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

Friday, November 21, 2014

Are Pharmaceutical Ads Creating New Illnesses?

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Did you know it has been 17 years since direct-to-consumer drug (DTC) advertising was permitted in the United States? If you haven’t noticed from the advertising on your TV, the results are pretty obvious. DTC advertising, on which Big Pharma spends over $3 billion a year, has done much more than sell pills - through their educational efforts,  the pharma industry has even sold new diseases to a very paranoid audience.

In fact, when people hear a TV ad about depression, many think it’s an announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or another medical group. But, the truth is, according to Investigative Drug Reporter Martha Rosenberg, most disease awareness messages are about Big Pharma trying to get people to diagnose themselves with a disease to create demand for a new drug.

“There is no relationship between public health needs and the direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising” which makes a disease popular,” according to Madhusree Singh, MD in the Journal of the Society of General Internal Medicine. “Anecdotally, I can tell you that if I got a dime for every time a patient asked for a drug by name, I would not need to go to work.”


The pharma industry has been selling diseases that require expensive drugs and new drugs suppress the immune system. In fact, they can make the companies as much as $20,000 a year per patient, but while they can be useful for people suffering from autoimmune disorders, it’s unconscionable to market drugs with poor safety profiles to people who don’t need them.

Many of the diseases marketed to consumers through direct advertising don’t have clear biological markers. And Big Pharma’s awareness ads have created a nation of patients who don’t just ask their doctors if they have a disease they saw on TV — they often insist to their clinician that they’re suffering from a disorder.

John Abramson, MD, author of “Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine” and a clinical instructor at Harvard told CNN, “I could not convince many of my patients that the marketing they were hearing about Vioxx was maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks,” he said. “That’s how powerful the advertising is.”

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

This piece was contributed by @AmandaCicc.

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