Thursday, February 28, 2013

Improving Patient Engagement at the Point of Care

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Today's guest post comes from David Perez, founder and CEO and Seamless Medical 

Everyone can relate to the experience of being a patient. Long wait times, the frustration of filling out repetitive forms, old magazines, limited face-time with the provider and the feeling of disempowerment in an impersonal setting. The patient as a person has been forgotten.

The time has come to better use technology to improve patient engagement, to streamline and digitize the registration process (heck, checking in to a flight is easier and faster), truly engage patients in their own health care, empower patients with relevant health information and provide an easy means of connecting with others in their local healthcare community. All of this can be accomplished today, with an iPad, starting in the waiting room.

While the advancement of technology has transformed the worlds of finance, communication, commerce and travel, much of healthcare has been left in the 1980s and 90s. Medical practices are just now inching toward the use of electronic health records (EHRs). Meantime we are still managing unnecessary, wasteful and costly paper processes when digitizing workflow saves medical practices money and time.

 I encourage all of us to move faster in using technologies to improve the patient experience. My firm Seamless Medical Systems is focused on improving patient engagement at the first point of care by using technologies that patients and consumers have already adopted, including the iPad. We are identifying and mitigating the challenges that practices and patients face in the current environment as we incorporate more technology in the medical practice. Our goal is to make each office visit, better.

Our innovative technology platform, SNAP, is bringing the patient experience and practices into the 21st Century. SNAP replaces the paper forms patients fill out in waiting rooms with an iPad. SNAP delivers relevant and targeted health information to patients at the point of care and is an educational resource for providers. SNAP enhances the patient experience while improving efficiency and reducing costs for the practice. Please join us as we focus on improving patient engagement and the patient experience, starting at check-in. Visit to get a glimpse of the 21st Century of patient engagement.

Join Seamless Medical next week at the 12th Annual ePharma Summit in New York City. Register today and save 10% using code XP1806BLOG. For more information, download our brochure.  Live or work in NYC? You can register onsite!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Notable Trends

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Today's guest post has been provided by Monique Levy, Vice President of Research, Manhattan Research 

 Advances in technology and digital media coupled with a commitment to outcomes across the healthcare value chain have created a new urgency for pharma marketers and also arguably a broader mandate. Now, not only do marketers need to figure out how to leverage and optimize a multi-channel approach, and do so with a positive return on investment, but they also have to gear up for the following imminent challenges:

1. Eroding patient and physician choice. More than two-thirds of physicians say their choice of prescription is impacted by formularies and almost as many say the same about prior authorizations. At the same time, almost 500 ACOs are in operation or underway in 2013 and at least another 150 are expected by 2014, bringing another layer of preferred lists and restrictions that will potentially erode physician choice and preference. Manufacturers that pursue ways to provide value-added services to payers and ACOs where goals are aligned will be at an advantage as will companies that help prepare consumers for potential road blocks when they request a specific brand.

2. Targeting formulary decision makers in payer organizations. In addition to tweaking their value proposition to current customers – physicians and patients – pharmaceutical companies need to allocate resources and develop expertise further upstream in the prescription decision-making process. The good news is that formulary decision makers in MCOs, PBMs and hospitals are highly accessible via online channels and interested in value-added services from pharma. Over 4 in 5 hospital-based formulary decision makers are interested in any form of ongoing support and resources from pharma, including help with such items as developing provider education materials, economic models, and patient education materials. Further, nearly 6 in 10 Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) committee members and more than 7 in 10 MCO P&T committee members use websites or apps to support decisions on adding or removing drugs to the formulary.

3. Leveraging a broader care team. With higher stakes around meeting outcomes and lowering risk, pharmacists, nurses, physician’s assistants, case managers and other healthcare professionals are taking on expanded roles in patient care. In many cases, these stakeholders have a direct impact on the prescription that the patient ends up taking. As with formulary decision makers, pharmacist and nurses are digitally savvy and open to supportive services from pharmaceutical companies. About two-fifths of pharmacists say that they spend more time providing care and support for patients, such as recommending a pharmaceutical company website or app to their patients, than they did two years ago. Moreover, pharmacists would like pharma companies to provide them with online access to resources to help them support their patients. For example, over three-fourths of pharmacists would like access to online patient education materials from pharma. Additionally, 64 percent of retail pharmacists would like patient assistance or vouchers, provided by pharma companies, through their EHR systems.

Other strategic challenges and opportunities Manhattan Research has identified center around health big data, electronic health records, remote monitoring and quantified self-movement, and the emerging gap in patient support. Looking forward to discussing all of these exciting trends with you at the conference next week!

Source: Taking the Pulse® Formulary Decision Makers 2012 surveyed 205 Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), and Hospital Pharmacy & Therapeutic (P&T) committee members in the United States in October of 2012. For more information, please visit Taking the Pulse® Pharmacists 2012 surveyed 752 U.S. pharmacists online in September and October of 2012. For more information, please visit Taking the Pulse® Nurses 2012 was fielded in Q2 2012 among 1,019 U.S. practicing nurses and physician assistants. For more information, please visit 

It's not too late to join Manhattan Research next week at the 12th Annual ePharma Summit next week in New York City. Register today using code XP1806BLOG and save 10% off the standard rate. To view our full program, download our brochure. And remember, onsite registration is also available!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Big Data, Email and the New Pharma Marketing Revolution

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Microtargeting: We Can Do it; We Just Don’t!

By Marc Dresner, IIR USA

You’ve still got mail… And it feels so...quaint.

All of us still depend on email every day, but as marketers, we tend to neglect it, underestimate it, and deploy it in campaigns like a blunt instrument while we wait for something better to come along.

It's time we take a step back and put a rumor to rest:

Email is not on life support; quite to the contrary, it’s an untapped marketing goldmine.

That’s according to Dr. Roger Korman, president of DMD, who says any reports of email’s death are outrageously exaggerated.

Korman claims one need look no further than the digital giants—Google, Microsoft, Apple—who've made headlines lately by investing hundreds of millions in an email turf war.

Full disclosure: Korman’s company specializes in connecting sponsors with healthcare industry stakeholders, and email is their digital forte.

Roger Korman
But before you dismiss his claims on the basis of bias, you ought to bear in mind that the former SVP of IMS Health’s credentials are impeccable—I’ve done my homework—and he and his colleagues are doing things with the data collected from email that many pharma marketers haven’t yet recognized are entirely possible.

“Microtargeting is virtually non-existent in the digital space, which is criminal,” says Korman.

Korman stressed that the ability to harness all of the data email generates in order to reach the right individual with the right message at the right moment in the right format on the right device is a massive, unexploited game changer waiting to happen.

“We have the data. We know their routines and preferences at the individual prescriber level,” he said. “Any company that uses even a small fraction of the information that’s available will seize competitive advantage and start to create distance between themselves and their competitors.”

In this podcast interview for Inside ePharma, Korman:

• Dispells major misconceptions

• Outlines the Big Data opportunity

• Explains the need for speed, where med-legal fits and more!

Editor’s note: Roger Korman will personally conduct a special workshop on Creating Effective Email Marketing Strategies at the 12th annual ePharma Summit taking place March 4-6 in New York City.

For more information or to register, please visit and download our brochure.

It’s not too late to attend Roger’s workshop! Register today and mention code XP1806BLOG to save 10% off the current rate!

Marc Dresner is IIR USA's senior editor and special communication projects lead. He is the former executive editor of Pharma Market Research Report, a confidential newsletter for marketing researchers in the pharmaceutical industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Session Spotlight: Leverage Real–Time Data to Build Timely, Valuable and Targeted Content in Pharma

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With Internet users creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, the problem isn’t a lack of data; the problem is translating data into meaningful and actionable insight. At the 12th Annual ePharma Summit, you'll learn how to take advantage of the current wealth of data to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, for the right investment.

Session:  Leverage Real–Time Data to Build Timely, Valuable and Targeted Content in Pharma

• Translate data and behavioral trends into targeted outreach for patients and HCPs that’s delivered in the moments that matter
• Learn how to evaluate your campaign in real-time to tweak the messaging and the delivery as needed
• Begin to leverage the web’s social layers as the world’s most powerful market research tool

Patricia MacWilliams, Head of Healthcare, Google 

Scott Wearley, Manager, Relationship Marketing, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
Matt Barry, assistant director, CLP Operations, Astellas Pharma 
R.J. Lewis, President & CEO, eHealthcare Solutions
Mickey Lynch, associate director, Integrated Marketing, Shire Pharmaceuticals 
Bob harrell, Vice President, Marketing, Appature

Below is a personal message from Panelist, R. J. Lewis. This panel takes place on March 6th, 2013, at 9:30. To learn more, download our brochure. The event is just one week away, be sure to register using code XP1806BLOG to save 10% off the standard rate. Looking forward to seeing you next week in NYC!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Important Guidelines for Choosing a Medical Animator

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Today's guest post comes from Noël Ashekian, Marketing Communications Manager at Viscira. She can be reached at

As doctors have less discretionary time and are relying more on digital resources for product specific information, pharma companies have increasingly turned to visual communication tools that immediately capture their audience's attention. One of the most effective means for achieving this is through product mechanism of action (MOA) animations.

The migration toward "non-personal promotion" combined with the complexities and nuances associated with the development of scientific graphics prompts us to propose some basic guidelines for pharma brand managers in search of an effective medical animation firm.

The core objectives behind the medical animation process are to take complex information, break it down into component parts, and then transmit the essence in a succinct visual message that is accurate, educational, and aesthetically pleasing. When considering a company, it is important to take into account the following criteria:

1. Scientific Accuracy 

Although some creative license needs to be taken with respect to certain variables, such as color, texture, and spacing, it is important that the starting point for any video involves a rigorous process of scientific research in order to understand what is happening at the cellular or molecular level. To this end, it is critical that the medical animation company you choose not only has the necessary artistic expertise and technological savvy, but also a depth of medical knowledge. Some important information to decipher is the educational background and experience of the medical animators.

2. Educational Value Content is king.                                                                           

No matter what animation solution you use or how it is delivered, make sure that the medical information is something that HCPs truly want instead of just communicating what you think is important. Start by asking yourself, "What value can we bring physicians and how can we help them be more successful?" Answering this question will assist you in developing the script, which is a core part of the animation development process. It is essentially the story you tell about your product and the associated disease state.
A Viscira-produced image of HER2 over expressing cells

3. Visual Impact 

Animation is highly visual and you want the audience to be immediately captivated by what they see. This is why it is important to choose an animation team for your project that is able to create a visually engaging and memorable piece. You also want the finished product to have a long shelf life.

However, you still need to ensure that you strike the right balance between art and science; if there are too many visualizations, it can quickly veer into fiction. There are certainly instances where it's possible to take more liberty with various creative elements and other instances where restraint is appropriate based on the audience or the disease state. It's very important for the animation team to recognize and respect these differences.

4. Creative Delivery Options 

The delivery of 3-D animations has now advanced well beyond just a straight video viewing experience. There are stereoscopic formats, unique projection display options, fully interactive versions, and augmented reality possibilities that help enhance communication impact.

Depending on your marketing and communication goals, your chosen medical animation partner should guide you through the various options to help your piece stand out from the competition. It is important to think through these possibilities upfront when beginning a project so that the animation can be optimized for these various delivery options.

5. Repurposing Opportunities 

Choosing to create a quality 3-D MOA animation will represent a meaningful investment for your brand. If done correctly, your animation will be a key asset for your product that can be leveraged in many different ways across multiple deployment channels.

Your medical animator should help you clearly map out the various repurposing possibilities, from convention booth deployment, to the Web, to sales rep delivery. However, it is important that you and your partner also recognize the differences between these channels so that the animation or portions of the animation can be deployed in the most effective manner.

Using these criteria should help steer you to a quality medical animator. Budget may also have an impact in selecting the right partner to work with, but the level of investment is likely to be commensurate with the quality and sophistication of the finished product. In other words, you generally get what you pay for.

This article is a reprint from Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine and has been shortened for purposes of this blog.

Want to learn more about effective visual communication tools? Our media partners, Viscira will be joining us in less than two weeks at the ePharma Summit. There's still time to register, as a reader of this blog you'll receive 10% off by mentioning code XP1806BLOG when you join. To view our full program, download our brochure. We hope to see you March 4-6 in NYC!

Look Who’s Attending the ePharma Summit

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The 12th annual ePharma Summit is less than two weeks away! We invite you to join over 100 companies already confirmed to be attending. Below is just a small portion of who’s already signed up to be in New York March 4-6:

Companies in attendance include: 

5th Finger * AbbVie Deutschland * * Adprime Health * Allergan *Alliance Health * Amgen * AOL/Huffington Post * Bayer Healthcare * BioReference Laboratories * Bizo * Blue Latitude * Boehringer Ingelheim * Boomerang Pharmaceutical Communications *Bristol Myers Squibb * Cadient * Celgene * Ci&T * Communispace * ContextMedia Health * Convergence Point Media * Cressix * Crossix Solutions * CSL Behring * Cureus * Daggerwing Health * Daiichi Sankyo * DMD * DotHealth * Draftfcb Healthcare * DSI * Dyax * EatingWell * Eli Lilly * Endo * Everyday Health * Evoke Interaction * Facta Research * Forest Laboratories *Galderma Laboratories * GlaxoSmithKline * Global Channel Marketing Solutions * Google * Havas Lynx * Haymarket Media * Health4Brands Catapult * Healthcare Data Solutions*Healthguru*HealthPrize Technologies * Hipcricket * Hologic * Hyphen Health * Intouch Solutions *Invivo Communications * IOMEDIA * IPG * Ironwood * Janssen * Johnson & Johnson * Juice Pharma Worldwide * Klick * KnowledgePoint360 Group * KSM Media * Local Wisdom * Lundbeck *Mallinckrodt * MannKind * Marketeching/Conger Consulting * Mayo Clinic * Medikidz * MediScripts * MedPeer * Merck * Mylan * Novartis * Noven * Novo Nordisk * NuFuture Limited * Patient Conversation Media * PBM Graphics * PDI * PDR Network * Pfizer * PHD Media * Phoenix Healthcare * Phreesia * Publicis Touchpoint Solutions * RealAge * *Remedy Health Media* Resonate Networks * Roche * Salix * SampleMD * Sanofi * Sharecare * Source Marketing * T Scott International * Takeda * TGaS Advisors * Trellist * Tunstall Americas * UBM Medica * Underscore Marketing * Univision * Vitals * Vivacare * WebMetro * Weight Watchers * Within6 Communications * WRB Corp * Yahoo * ZS Associates *

In addition, registering for ePharma Summit gives you access to ePharma's exclusive online community ePharma Summit where you will be able you can connect with leading pharmaceutical companies and innovative solution providers. Access to ePharma Connect allows you to:

• Access to PDFs of speaker presentations
• Request and schedule meeting with other ePharma attendees
• Create your personal agenda and export to your calendar
• Send messages to other ePharma attendees
• Start discussions about the event
• Download iPhone and Android apps so you can network while onsite

The event is less than two weeks away, register today!

As a member of the ePharma Summit blog, you get a 10% discount off the standard rate when using code XP1806BLOG to register. To learn more, download our brochure. If you have any questions about the agenda or event, please contact Kate Devery at or visit our webpage.

The ePharma Summit Team

ePharma Summit Homepage
ePharma Summit Twitter

Thursday, February 21, 2013

One Data, Two Data, Three Data, More…

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Out guest post today comes from Jim Curtis, CRO, Remedy Health Media 

Over the last year, I have attended my fair share of conferences, meetings, lectures, symposiums, summits…(you get the picture). Each of them focused on the topic of Big Data. We hear industry leaders discussing the importance of it, sales people raving abouthaving so much of it, marketers wanting to take advantage of it. If one were to search the term “Big Data” right now, they would receive over 684 million results from Google alone. Now that is big! Despite the prevailing fascination with Big Data and what it is, I believe the real question for pharmaceutical marketers and publishers alike is: how can we turn Big Data into small useful data? Meaning, what data is most important and how can it be used to create better marketing programs as well as better health outcomes?

Accountable Care enter stage left. Although payers and providers have been storing and harvesting patient data for some time, the enhanced focus on Accountable Care makes it more accessible and more relevant to patients and manufacturers. We now have the opportunity, through EHRs and Software Management Systems, to collectively track patient history, treatment, and follow-up care to ensure the best health outcomes. According to an American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy article, Cigna used digital adherence tools to increase adherence and reduce medical costs:

                 Data from the insurer indicate measureable improvements in patient care, including an
                11-percentage pointincrease in adherence to dyslipidemia therapy that prevents 262 
                heart attacks each year,saving an estimated $6.6 million in annual medical costs. 

Additionally, electronic prescribing has lowered treatment and drug interaction errors, preventing complications that result in expensive emergency room visits and, at times, death. If patientsbenefit from technology that stores, sorts, and communicates their data with their healthcare providers, pharmacists, and insurance providers, won’t they also benefit from their drug manufacturers sourcing this data to determine their promotional messaging and education? I believe the answer is yes. Greater focus around condition specific messaging and possible adjunct therapies will help educate a patient about their condition and treatment options. With better health education comes better health outcomes.

Lastly, what data is most important for marketers and where and how can they appropriately use it? At Remedy, we have worked hard to combine the best content, technology and data to maximize the opportunity data offers for patients and marketers alike. We are focused on patients and have partnered with EHRs and Office Software Management Providers. We have an excellent understanding about how best to engage with patient populations through their data with the best tools and content. Now we are not sure if it actually fits the “Big Data” definition today. However, it has proved to increase adherence, NRx and health outcomes… and that’s huge.

About Remedy Health Media and Jim Curtis: Remedy Health Media is a leading health information and technology company dedicated to providing tools and information from the most credible and influential healthcare sources to millions of health consumers. Remedy has the unrivaled ability to identify and communicate with health consumers, empower patients and caregivers to speak with their healthcare providers, and as a result, to foster better health outcomes through use of our products and services. As CRO of Remedy Health Media, Jim is responsible for management of Remedy’s advertising and enterprise businesses. 

Want to learn more about the importance of data for marketers? Remedy Heath Media will be joining us in less than two weeks at the 12th Annual ePharma Summit in New York, and you can to! There's still time to register, you'll receive 10% off by mentioning code XP1806BLOG when you join. To view our full program, download our brochure. We look forward to seeing you March 4-6 in NYC!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tips for Maximizing iPad Effectiveness for Product Promotion and Education

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Today's guest post comes from Noël Ashekian, Marketing Communications Manager at Viscira. She can be reached at

With physicians being among the biggest adopters of the Apple iPad, it is no surprise that it has become a key part of a pharma sales rep’s toolkit. A 2012 Manhattan Research report confirmed that 65 percent of “ePharma” docs who met face-to-face with pharma salespeople used an iPad, representing an increase from 30 percent in 2011.

Given the growing use of the iPad by pharma reps as a means to interact with HCPs, we thought it would be helpful to provide pharma brand marketing managers with a couple of helpful tips for maximizing the effectiveness of the iPad for product promotion and education, and to include some specific examples:

1. Recognize the iPad as a platform for delivering rich, immersive user experiences – The iPad should not be used merely as an outlet for brochureware. Instead, the objective should be to seamlessly bring together and integrate ALL the different types of dynamic content and functionality for the device, like 3D animation, video, motion graphics, and robust interactivity, to create immersive experiences that both educate and entertain.

One example of this is a disease education sales aid app that Viscira developed for a top-five pharma company. One of the goals was to develop a tool that the client’s field sales force could use to educate oncology HCPS about the histological characteristics of an aggressive type of breast cancer and the HER2 biomarker. We created an app that included a 3D representation of a breast cancer tumor that the user was able to manipulate in various ways, and one that allowed the user to view cross-sections and biopsies of the tumor. This app fully leveraged the device’s functionality to create an immersive and educational experience for the user. To read the case study in its entirety, please click on this link.

 2. Leverage the unique capabilities of the device – The iPad has some unique features that have never been seen on any digital device before, and these features should be leveraged when developing product promotional and educational tools. For example, the gyroscoping capabilities of the iPad together with the device’s accelerometer improves motion sensing accuracy and allows the iPad to measure which direction it is moving/rotating in space, how much, and how fast.

One example of utilizing this feature is how Viscira integrated real-time 3D gaming software into an interactive iPad-based sales tool that leveraged the iPad’s built-in gyroscope. Our innovation allows the user to control their viewing perspective in a fully immersive 3D cellular environment – all just by holding and moving the iPad in space! In essence, the user can interact with a particular molecule and manipulate that molecule, thereby triggering different 3D animation segments.

These examples explore some of the unique ways in which the iPad can be used to help tell a story that is both educational and entertaining.

Want to learn more about maximizing iPad effectiveness? Viscira will be attending the upcoming ePharma Summit in just a few weeks. Don't worry, there's still time to register! To learn more, download our brochure. We hope to see you March 4-6 in New York, NY.

Friday, February 15, 2013

How to Create an Effective Interactive Marketing Program

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Today's guest post comes from Noël Ashekian, Marketing Communications Manager at Viscira. She can be reached at

Dynamic interactive and new-media solutions are a way for pharmaceutical companies to get physicians’ attention and to have their product messages stand out in an increasingly crowded space.

 There are many different types of solutions, including interactive sales aids which provide a way to blend scientific imagery, video, and interactivity that visually illustrate and support key selling messages. Interactive case studies can incorporate a range of new-media content such as video segments, animation clips, and actual patient scans, as well as high-end graphics.

Even 3D disease state and mechanism of action (MOA) animation development has become so advanced that some of the leading interactive companies are using Hollywood special effects which resemble those seen in a Pixar production.

Not only are there myriad new-media tools being used, but there are also multiple delivery channels. Gone are the days when direct mail was the primary option for reaching a healthcare practitioner. Product information is being delivered via the web, email, smart phones, and iPads.
Some Guidelines – The Do’s and Dont's 

Clearly, there are many possible tactics, and sorting through them can be daunting. While the entertainment factor is critical, there are many other factors that should be considered when developing and deploying an interactive program.

1. Understand your audience –It sounds basic, but all good presentations start with a thorough understanding of the target audience and their information needs. It is unfortunate that too many presentations violate this basic principle with regard to content focus, level of clinical sophistication, and overall tonality.

2. Deliver an important medical message of interest – Content is king. No matter what solution you use or how it is delivered, make sure that the medical information is something that HCPs want instead of just communicating what you think is important. Start by asking yourself, “What value can we bring physicians and how can we help them be more successful?”

 3. Strive for scientific accuracy - While nobody really knows with 100% certainty what an apoptosing tumor cell looks like, it is critical to get as close as possible to the real thing. This can only happen through a rigorous process of research to understand what is happening, not only in the disease state but also at the cellular and molecular level.

4. Balance the clinical with the creative - You never want the “bells and whistles” to become distracting to the viewer to the point where your overall messages are diluted. There are certainly instances where it’s possible to take more license with various interactive elements and other instances where restraint is appropriate based on the audience or the disease state. It’s very important to recognize and respect these differences.

5. Keep it short – Brevity is the soul of wit and also often vital to an effective presentation. As we all know, physicians have a limited and shrinking amount of time. It is important that your key messages are delivered quickly and succinctly. At Viscira, we recommend to clients that we keep the full run time length of any interactive module to 15 minutes or less.

6. Provide navigation options – Related to the previous point, users typically value the ability to jump quickly to points of interest in an interactive program or presentation. Similarly, sales reps also need the flexibility to respond rapidly to audience questions by quickly moving to a relevant section. Allowing the user to have some control of the presentation will help increase overall satisfaction.

7. Track success – Tracking is critical to understanding what programs are working and what messages are resonating with your target audience. Through closed-loop platforms and other mechanisms, you can assess and refine your initiative to maximize ROI. 

Want to learn more about effective marketing programs? Our media partners, Viscira will be joining us next month at the ePharma Summit March New York, and you can to! To view our full program, download our brochure.

Have you heard about or exclusive promotion? To celebrate Valentine’s Day and President’s day we're offering a discount for as a member of our ePharma Summit digital community. Register online anytime between now and Wednesday, February 20, mention code LOVEABE and receive 25% off the standard ePharma Summit Registration rate.*

*This discount is only valid for online registrations made between Thursday, February 14 and Wednesday, February 20.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

ePharma Summit's Valentine's Day present to you!

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Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
ePharma knows digital marketing,
and now you can too!

To celebrate Valentine’s Day and President’s day, we’re offering you an exclusive discount as a member of our ePharma Summit digital community. Register online anytime between now and Wednesday, February 20, mention code LOVEABE and receive 25% off the standard ePharma Summit Registration rate.*  

Have any questions about this special rate?  Feel free to email Kate Devery.

*This discount is only valid for online registrations made between Thursday, February 14 and Wednesday, February 20.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What's THE question you want physicians to answer?

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Have a burning question that you'd like answered by 100 US Physicians? Let us know and you can have it answered at the ePharma Summit! Just tweet us (@ePharma) your question tagged with #MedLIVE. If you submit more than five questions, you will be qualified to win an iPad mini!

At this year's conference we are teaming up with WorldOne Interactive and leveraging their industry leading FastResponse Market Intelligence platform, MedLIVE™. MedLIVE enables targeting WorldOne's Global Networked Community of over 1.8 million healthcare professionals to receive real-time answers to urgent questions.

Simply Tweet us (@ePharma) your question tagged with #MedLIVE before or during the conference. Remember, if you tweet more than five questions, you'll also be qualified to win an iPad mini courtesy of WorldOne Interactive!

We will select the best questions and launch MedLIVE PULSES at the conference, targeting responses from US MDs. Real-time MD insights and intelligence will be revealed during general sessions March 5 and March 6 in New York City!

To learn more about MedLIVE, download this PDF or contact If you'd like to join us at ePharma Summit, register to join us and mention code XP1806BLOG, you'll save 10% off the current rate!

Email Jennifer Pereira with have any questions.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sanofi's new texting service helps to supports Prostate Cancer Patients

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Sanofi and partners have created a new text system to help prostate cancer patients manage their disease.The system will send up to date messages for information on their appointments, as well as try to increase patient engagement via social media. Many patients, especially those undergoing chemotherapy have several appointments scheduled each week, this would help them manage their time and in turn increase their compliance.

The U.S. unit of the pharma heavyweight teamed up with the mobile tech outfit Mobile Commons and the Prostate Cancer Foundation to deliver "Prost8care," which will be promoted to patients and their healthcare providers. The service texts enrolled patients with regular updates about their care, including how to handle side effects and tips on diet and other things that their healthcare providers would likely tell them.

Three years ago the focus was on social, two years ago it was video and last year it was mobile. What does this year hold?

At the 12th annual ePharma Summit, you'll learn about the newest, hottest technologies focused on mHealth. Brad Weinberg, MD, Partner, Blueprint Health leads our session, Innovation at the Forefront of Healthcare: What’s Next? The event is less than a month away, be sure to download our brochure.

There's still time to register, you'll receive 10% off by mentioning code XP1806BLOG when you join. We look forward to seeing you March 4-6 in NYC!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Facing the Digital Future: What Pharma Marketers Need to Know

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Merck Multi-Channel Marketing Head Prescribes Factors for ePharma Success

By Marc Dresner, IIR USA
It may be an identity crisis, but it’s no secret: There’s a tectonic shift occurring in healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry is struggling to accept and adapt to it.The empowered patient, armed with social networks, technology and boundless information resources, is here to stay.
Craig DeLarge
As a result, staying relevant appears to be an important and increasing challenge for pharma.That’s according to Craig DeLarge, U.S. leader of the Multi-Channel Center of Excellence at Merck.
DeLarge insists the industry must “reform our content and our various offerings so that they maintain their relevance in the face of the changes people are going through in their health journey.”
DeLarge also says we need to do a much better job of anticipating, tracking and embracing change.That means shifting focus from product to patient. In an age of ubiquitous connectivity, clearly being anything but responsive is not a sustainable policy for pharmaceutical manufacturers.
In this ePharma Insider interview, DeLarge covers:
 Channel migration and proliferation—what the future holds in store
• The shift from promotion to customer care and outcomes
• How to structure for success across social, mobile, point-of-care, multi-channel and CRM
And much more...

Editor’s note: Craig DeLarge will be delivering a presentation on “Next Generation Content and its Promise for Improved Health Outcomes” at the 12th Annual ePharma Summit taking place March 4th through 6th in New York City.
For more information or to register, please visit and download our brochure.  If you'd like to join Craig at the event, register today and mention code XP1806BLOG to save 10% off the current rate!

Marc Dresner is IIR USA's senior editor and special communication projects lead. He is the former executive editor of Pharma Market Research Report, a confidential newsletter for marketing researchers in the pharmaceutical industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Moving Beyond Tactics: How to Create a Digital Conversation with Patients

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 Today's guest post is by: Pete Mehr, PhD, Chief Strategy Officer, Merkle Life Sciences

Are your marketing methods “typical”, or “transcending”? Are you utilizing the capabilities available that will drive patient engagement?

Pharmaceutical marketers have developed and offered patient opt-in programs for many years. A standard approach to these programs is to spend money on advertising – websites, BRCs, in-office, in-pharmacy, etc. – in the hopes of motivating patients to opt in. Once a patient opts in, there is a pre-defined campaign that the patient receives. A typical campaign starts with a welcome message, followed by a series of messages delivered within a specified time period (e.g., 7 days after the welcome message the next message is sent, followed by a third message 10 days after that, etc.). Additionally, these campaigns last approximately 6 months, after which the frequency of communication with the patient is dramatically reduced or even stopped entirely.

And the result? On average, only 5% - 10% of patients opt in. The vast majority of patients are getting their healthcare information elsewhere.

Why do you think this is happening? From my experience in the pharma industry, I have seen certain trends - and patients now are demanding tailored information, delivered how and when they want it. Our industry, however, is offering uniform messaging across opt-ins delivered when pharma companies want to send it, using channels they choose.

Our industry should become more customer-focused in both our advertising and opt-in programs.

 • Advertising. Website performance is typically measured and optimized using clicks, click through rates, cost per click, etc. However, it is now possible to link sales data to website traffic. Optimizing the website based upon patient actions that drive sales ensures that the key messages are reaching the patient population. Other advertising channels can be similarly optimized.

 • Opt-in campaigns. Patient communication preferences – cadence, message, and tactic – can be captured via a number of sources, including websites, existing promotion tactics, etc. Once captured, the actual campaign can be further optimized based upon those preferences. This enables brand teams to deliver tailored campaigns to patients that improves engagement with the campaign and patient compliance.

The key result: campaigns can now be more dynamic – engaging patients at their pace, not forcing our frequency and timing on them. The value of implementing a customer-centric patient program is clear. We now have the ability to make it a reality. So what are you waiting for? I will discuss in more detail about how to create tailored conversations with patients in my session on March 5 in the Consumer Engagement track, entitled "Moving Beyond Tactics: How to Create a Digital Conversation with Patients." 

To view our full program, download our brochure.

Want to learn more about creating digital conversations with patients? Join us, and Peter Mehr at the 12th annual ePharma Summit March 4-6, 2013 in New York. As a reader of this blog when you register to join mention code XP1806BLOG, you'll save 10% off the current rate!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The New Look of DTC: Digital-to-Consumer

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Today's guest post comes from Mark Tosh, Medivo BTP

In a post here late last week, Cutting Edge Information’s Nicole May addressed the topic of whether DTC ads are “falling out of favor” with consumer Rx marketers. As she correctly noted, the ad-spending data from tracking firms such as Nielsen certainly indicate that fewer marketing dollars are now earmarked for big-budget broadcast and print campaigns.

Some skeptics cite the decline in the number of blockbuster products as the primary reason for this direct-to-consumer falloff (i.e., fewer big drugs mean few big marketing efforts), but we believe the reason is something else.

It’s now blatantly obvious that more and more people (both patients and caregivers) are turning to the Internet when they need to find important health information. And this is where marketers are moving their budget dollars, trying to stay more closely in step with this health-information seeking audience.

We don’t have ad-spending data to cite here as evidence of this shift to digital channels, because either the research firms aren’t tracking Internet/digital or the numbers are just plain out of synch with the market.

But just look at some of the numbers coming out of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, particularly the data about where caregivers are turning for health information:

• 72% of Internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year (based on a September 2012 Pew survey).

 • About one-half of this online health information research is being done on behalf of someone else, most likely by a caregiver, or what Pew calls “information access by proxy.

• 31% of cell phone owners, and 52% of smartphone owners, have used their phone to look up health or medical information.

What we find even more compelling for marketers to consider is the way in which caregivers are using the Internet as a main resource for helping them provide better care. For example, Pew reports that caregivers are more likely than other Internet users to read online reviews of drugs, clinicians and medical facilities.

Here’s the data:

• 38% of online caregivers have consulted online reviews of particular drugs or medical treatments, compared with 18% of non-caregivers.

• 21% of online caregivers have consulted online rankings or reviews of doctors or other providers, compared with 13% of non-caregivers.

• 20% of online caregivers have consulted online rankings or reviews of hospitals or other medical facilities, compared with 12% of non-caregivers. (Statistical analysis shows that being a caregiver has a significant association with an Internet user’s likelihood to consult such reviews.)

So, yes, there are innumerable opportunities for marketers to engage patients online. But, as the population ages and more consumers find themselves, in the role of caregiver, we see even greater opportunities for health marketers to provide much-needed digital health resources and monitoring tools.

Want to learn more about Digital-to-Consumer? Our media partners, Medivo BTP will be joining us at ePharma Summit March 4-6, 2013 in New York, and you can to! To view our full program, download our brochure. As a reader of this blog when you register to join mention code XP1806BLOG, you'll save 10% off the current rate!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What does mHealth mean to you?

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Mobile technology has taken the digital world by storm. So now that Pharma has entered the media world, what does this mean for mhealth? And what exactly is 'mobile health' anyway? ePharma sat down with Joe Shields to discuss and here's an excerpt from the podcast below:

ePharma: What does “mobile health” mean to you, Joe?

Joe: Well, there is a lot wrapped up in that. The term mobile health tends to focus on the technology. So, things like smartphones, things that make remote care delivery possible, remote monitoring and things like that. So, it is very tech-centered with the emphasis on mobile as opposed to health. Another term that we used when I was at Pfizer—as well as many other organizations—was the term “connected health.” I think that describes the convergence of five or six things, such as cost containment and empowered patients. It’s very outcomes-driven. So, when you have the payers, they want to see that the interventions that are happening are working. They are technology-enabled, but then again, that’s not the lead story here. The technology is really a support mechanism within this context.

You can view Joe's full answer as well as the rest of the podcast here.

Want to learn more about mobile technologies? Joe will be moderating our panel, "Next Generation Mobile Health Technologies” at the 12th Annual ePharma Summit taking place March 4th through 6th in New York City.

To learn more, download our brochure. As a reader of this blog, you'll receive 10% off by mentioning code XP1806BLOG when you register to join. We look forward to seeing you this spring in NYC!

Monday, February 4, 2013

The future of mHealth

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Just as technology continues to evolve, Mobile Health also continues to expand. It seems as though the past few years have been all about mobile products and devices. It's no secret that the Pharma industry was apprehensive to engage in the digital world, but if they don't act now, will they miss game changing opportunities? Better content engagement, disease management, treatment initiation and adherence, and ultimately, improved health outcomes, are just a few reasons why mHealth is changing the Pharma industry, so what can we expect for the future?

The future of mHealth will be one in which, "in a very short period of time, we’ll look back and we won’t believe we didn't have it." The speed at which mHealth is becoming mainstream "goes hand in hand with the way technology is changing and the way people are thinking,” Patricia Abbott associate professor of nursing at the University of Michigan, School of Nursing, Division of Nursing Business and Health Systems says.

What other benefits can mHealth add to the industry?

Now is the time to capitalize on mhealth's specific capabilities that increase opportunities to drive engagement. But how do you determine the impact technologies can play in reconfiguring consumers’ behaviors? At the 12th annual ePharma Summit, Joe Shields, Global Strategic Marketing, Lifescan, moderates our panel: Next Generation mHealth Technologies to Drive Convergence and Improved Health Outcomes. To learn more, download our brochure.

As a reader of this blog, you'll receive 10% off by mentioning code XP1806BLOG when you register to join. We look forward to seeing you March 4-6 in NY, NY!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Are DTC Ads Falling Out of Favor with Pharma Companies?

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Today's guest post comes from Nicole May, Research Analyst at Cutting Edge Information

With the Super Bowl only days away, all the chatter has turned to the most interesting aspect of this beloved American tradition — the TV ads.  What products will we see?  Whose commercial will be funniest?  What will Betty White be doing?  One thing that looks to be certain is that pharma companies won’t be joining this year’s commercial line-up. 

Are the ad spots too expensive?  Nielsen reports that the average price of a 30-second Super Bowl spot increased from $2.7 million to $3.4 million from 2008 to 2012.  But considering the 111.3 million viewers who watched the game last year, this investment seems well worth it.  And pharma companies can definitely afford it — estimates differ, but top companies spend anywhere from $4 to $11 billion in development costs per approved drug, so $3 million on a 30 second ad is an afterthought, and in this case an afterthought that could reach more than 100 million consumers in one go.

Pharmaceutical companies in general have been relying on DTC advertising, TV in particular, less now than in the past.  Dollars spent on advertisements across all media dropped by 22% from Q3 2011 to Q3 2012, according to Nielsen.  Why the shift?  For one, marketers are seeing the effect the required lists of drug side-effects have on viewers.   After hearing warnings for “acid-related erosion” or “thoughts of suicide,” any benefit a brand might have gained from a well-positioned ad is all but lost.  Some consumers also perceive ads as a waste of money, money that pharma should be investing back into research.  Others accuse drug companies of misleading consumers in their ads by hiring questionable spokespeople or making false claims about a drug.

Despite pharma’s efforts to promote their drugs alongside informing and educating consumers, television ads don’t seem to be the promotion of choice anymore.  Social media, mobile health apps, and online games are better alternatives and offer possibilities beyond the traditional marketing scope. Mobile health apps and games increase patient adherence, social media allows companies and patients to interact directly, and who knows what Pinterest and Youtube will bring to the marketing mix.

As for TV ads, perhaps those are better left to miniature Darth Vaders and financially focused talking babies.  Although maybe football fans prefer watching a pharmaceutical drug ad over hearing what the Sanofi GoMeals app has to say about eating a bucket of chicken wings.

We are a boutique consulting firm with offices in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and Boston, Massachusetts, providing primary and secondary research to Life Science organizations. Cutting Edge Information was founded in 2002 by consultants with extensive experience conducting research studies for high-level clients. We put this experience to work to eliminate traditional consulting’s hurdles and focus on producing high-quality information – drawn from top executives at real-world companies for you and your organization.

Visit our reports online at

Want to learn more about Social Media and Pharma? Our partners, Cutting Edge Info will be joining us at ePharma Summit this March 4-6, 2013 in New York, and you can to! To view our full program, download out brochure. As a reader of this blog when you register to join mention code XP1806BLOG, you'll save 10% off the current rate!