Friday, May 30, 2014

The Pharma Marketing Shift: Six Quotes on Where We’re Headed

Pin It Now!
This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz of the Institute of International Research

If you ask six different people in the field of digital pharma about the future of the industry, you’ll likely get six different viewpoints.  We did exactly that at this year’s ePharma Summit in New York.  Here are some of the answers we got from leaders in the industry.

“The conversation has changed.  It's not just about 'How do we market and how do we market different?'  It's actually, do we still market?  Is that the right thing to be doing?...There's just a bigger conversation going on.” - Heather Gervais, SVP, Epocrates

 “For a long time it was digital marketing, then multichannel marketing, then I think it's just going to become marketing.” - Bob Brooks, CEO, Wego Health

“A lot of times I hear people say, 'Well digital, that's great. Digital's the future.' I kind of roll my eyes because it's not the future, it's been here for several years.” - Justin Rauschkolb, Manager of Product Promotions, Ferring Pharmaceuticals

"The shift to mobile has been massive.  Everyone is feeling that.  There were lots of pilot programs where people were sort of testing the waters and dipping their toes in the water a little bit.  I think now, it's getting enterprise scale and now it's getting distributed across organizations globally and needs to be faster, more engaging and more innovative."  - Brian Mcnamee, Managing Partner, Resolute Digital

“At the end of the day, the most important thing about the content you provide the customer is that it's delivered in such a way that a customer can use it and wants to use and will find it engaging." - Pete Dannenfelser, Director of Digital Marketing, Janssen Pharmaceuticals

“Increasingly, as care delivery backbone moves to the cloud, the ability of pharmacy to connect into that backbone and be present in the core information system becomes possible." – Jonathan Bush, CEO, AthenaHealth

We’ll have more on the latest on innovation in the field digital pharma at ePharma West, September 22-24, San Francisco, CA.  Check out the agenda

Save $100 as a reader of this blog.  Register here and use code XP1956BLOG

FREE WebinarChallenging the Status Quo: Innovation in Improving Patient-Physician Communication through a Novel Digital Portal
Date: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
Why wait?
Register NOW. Use priority code XP1956BLOG

Subscribe to our email updates
Follow us on Twitter
Join us on LinkedIn
Check us out Facebook

*Off the standard rate. New registrant only 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Show Me the Data: Physicians Thinking Mobile for Access to Health Records

Pin It Now!
This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz of the Institute of Internation Research

According to a recent report, as much as 90% of health information found on Wikipedia may be false.  That said, if you catch your doctor on his or her phone, it’s more likely they're referring to an entry on Wikipedia than checking your health records.  According to a recent report, 50% of physicians are using the online encyclopedia for information while only about 18% are accessing electronic health records (EHRs) through mobile.  While doctors’ reliance on Wikipedia may be troubling for many, the biggest implication for those in pharma marketing lies in mobile access to EHRs. 

A recent survey of physicians on the use of mobile and connected health found “mobile access to EHRs” as the number one application the group is considering in the next year with nearly 60% indicating interest.  Similarly, the top “anticipated benefit” to a connected healthcare environment among this group was, "With interoperable EHRs, physicians will have Instant access to all of their patients’ medical histories in real time."  This benefit would appear to be tied to the respondent’s top reason for adopting mHealth—Time efficiency.  The ability to quickly access organized and reliable information is one way to improve efficiency during patient visits.  I’m also guessing most doctors don’t mind not having to decipher the notoriously poor handwriting of their colleagues. 

The desire for digital health information should come as no surprise given the growth in this area over the last five years.  According to a study, the number of office-based physicians using an EHR system has more than doubled, from 35% to 72%, in the span of five years.  Software Advice reports suggest that 40% of buyers are looking to replace or upgrade their systems in the near future of which another 40% would like mobile capability when they do so.  By all indications, physicians are seeing the benefits.

There does, however, appear to one major roadblock in continued adoption of these systems.  Data security, particularly in the eyes of the patient, is a cause for concern.  Most (56%) of patients are either “concerned” or “very concerned” about the theft of health related personal information according to Health IT Security.  In addition, and perhaps more importantly, 61% percent said they would stop using their favorite mobile app if a security breach occurred.  

Apprehension with medical data is not exclusive to the patient.  In the same survey of physicians, “ensuring data security/HIPA compliance” came in as the number one challenge in adopting mHealth applications.  The uneasiness is well warranted.  New York Presbyterian Hospital recently settled for $4.8 million in a lawsuit resulting from a breach in patient data.

We’ve consistently heard that mobile will continue to develop as a tool for pharma marketers.  It remains to be seen whether or not they can “walk the walk” as far getting health records there.

We’ve got more on the latest in pharma marketing. Check out ePharma West, September 22-24, San Francisco, CA. SAVE $100 as a reader of this blog*. Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

You can download the agenda here.

FREE WebinarChallenging the Status Quo: Innovation in Improving Patient-Physician Communication through a Novel Digital Portal
Date: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
Why wait?
Register NOW. Use priority code XP1956BLOG

Subscribe to our email updates
Follow us on Twitter
Join us on LinkedIn
Check us out Facebook

*Off the standard rate. New registrants only 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Online Exclusive - ePharma West Memorial Day Flash Sale! How can you save 26% off the Full Access Pass? Details here!

Pin It Now!

To celebrate Memorial Day, we're throwing an ePharma West sale!

For the next three days, we're offering you a chance to attend ePharma West in San Francisco for 26% off the standard full access pass rates*!

This offer is EXCLUSIVE to online registrations. Click Here to register and be sure to use code XP1956MDAY to receive the discount. This limited-time offer expires Monday, May 26, 2014 at 11:59PM ET.

ePharma West will take place September 22-24, 2014 in San Francisco. Download the agenda if you'd like to know more about the program. If you have any questions, reach out to Jennifer Pereira at

Rules and Regulations Apply:
• This offer is only available for the Full Access (All 3 Days)
• This offer is not eligible for Main Conference Only
• Registrants will receive 26% off the standard registration rate.
• This offer only applies to online registration

*This offer cannot be retroactively applied on existing registrations nor combined with other offers, discounts or promotions. Offer only valid between May 22 - May 26, 2014.

Subscribe to our email updates
Follow us on Twitter
Join us on LinkedIn
Check us out Facebook

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Digital Focus: The Patient's Quest for Knowledge

Pin It Now!
This post was authored by @MikeMadarasz of the Institute for International Research

The pace of innovation and discovery in healthcare has spurred a shift in the way patients stay educated.  Not only is this information changing at faster rate (according to IMS Health, the Wikipedia entry for breast cancer has changed 100 times in five months), but it’s now coming at us from more directions than ever.  Social media, RSS feeds and e-mail marketing have made it even easier for those publishing news to flood our timelines and inboxes with information.  Some might see this as overwhelming but according to a recent survey by Patient Power, cancer patients are readily waiting for the content. 

The survey found that 80% of cancer patients indicated they will search for information online at least weekly.  In addition, 45% plan to look for content on a daily basis.  These figures demonstrated a steady climb over the last few years as a similar survey from 2011 showed 63% of those with cancer regularly searched for information online.  Perhaps the more significant takeaway from this year’s study is the seemingly more equal distribution across age groups.  The 2014 results state that 58% of those with cancer seeking information online are over the age of 60.  In comparison, only 50% were over 56 years old just three years ago.  Andrew Schorr, the founder of Patient Power, sounded impressed while he explained the results as including “people of all ages, even over 70 years old.”

Implications for Pharma

A number from this survey that may surprise you: 43% of respondents indicated that they prefer video as a means of obtaining information.  The pharmaceutical industry’s reputation for being slow to adopt social media does not exclude video.  Of the ten highest ranked pharmaceutical companies in IMS Health’s social media indices, only six average over 1,000 views per post—Almost a full 2 billion views behind “Gangam Style”.  While most of pharma takes their time adopting social media, is there an opportunity that’s being missed in the interim?  It will be interesting to watch if this pace of adoption changes once the long-awaited FDA regulations on social media are released this summer. 

Perhaps the most significant number from this survey for pharmaceutical marketers (particularly those interested in content) has to do with the respondents general thirst for information.  Of these patients, 91% consider themselves “confident in their knowledge, however still eager for more information.”  While the pharmaceutical field in general may not be known for consuming a tremendous amount of content, this figure suggests that the desire for it is there.  For cancer related drugs at least. 

We’ll have more on the latest in pharma marketing at ePharma West including a full day on content marketing. Join us September 22-24 in San Francisco, CA.

SAVE $100 as a reader of our blog. Register here and use code XP1956BLOG*.
Download the agenda here.

*New registrants only

Subscribe to our email updates
Follow us on Twitter
Join us on LinkedIn
Check us out Facebook

Monday, May 19, 2014

What's to Come in Pharma Marketing: What You Need to Know

Pin It Now!

What's the next big trend in pharma marketing?  If you were at the 2014 ePharma Summit, you probably have your own ideas on the subject.  If you missed the event, don't worry because we have you covered.  We tracked down some of the leaders in the space to get their take on what you should be watching for in pharma marketing. 

Mobile, wearables and the continued evolution of digital were some of the popular answers but what exactly can we expect from those areas? Don't miss out on what this group of experts had to say: 

Get the latest solutions to modernize your marketing at ePharma West 2014
SAVE $100. Register here and use discount code XP1956BLOG
September 22-24 | San Francisco, CA

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Challenging the Status Quo: Digital Innovation in Patient-Doctor Communication

Pin It Now!
This post was authored by @MikeMadarasz of the Institute for International Research 

Many in the pharmaceutical and medical technology space aim to make patient communication more efficient and transparent.  PokitDok, which serves as a sort of healthcare marketplace, is a service that makes pricing more transparent and open.  MedXCom is improving doctor-patient communication by transcribing cell phone conversations for the patient’s reference.  One of the latest examples of these companies is My GI Health

The My GI Health effort began in 2011 when a team from UCLA and the University of Michigan, supported by Ironwood Pharmaceutical, set out to improve communication between physicians and patients suffering from gastrointestinal (GI) disease.  Working with a multidisciplinary team of health education experts, computer scientists, psychologists, patient representatives, NIH researchers, and physicians, they created My GI Health – a first-of-breed app that re-imagines how doctors and patients can engage in dialogue.

The team worked from the premise that computers aren't supposed to make things more complicated. Instead, they are supposed to simplify the process of sharing information.  The group saw a need to start using them to strengthen doctor-patient connections.  With this insight as a springboard, the team developed a new and innovative system that re-defined the way patients and doctors connect with one another.  

Join us for a free webinar on June 11th as we explore the journey of this industry-academia alliance and how they pioneered My GI Health.  We take a look at the impact this innovative program may have on physicians, payers and the delivery of patient care.

In less than an hour, you’ll learn
• How a unique alliance between industry, academia, EHR vendors, and professional societies created a novel, evidence-based digital resource to improve population health
• Study My GI Health as an example app that bridges patients and providers using novel, credible functions
• How an external, patient-facing healthcare app can tie into an EHR to improve outcomes and efficiency in the clinical environment
• Advantages of creating a platform-agnostic, flexible, and adaptable digital resource suitable for broad distribution  

Presented by
Brennan Spiegel, Professor of Medicine and Public Health, UCLA; Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Tom McCourt, CCO, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals

Date: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
System Requirements: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Mac®-based attendees: Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer
Mobile attendees: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android table

Why wait?
Register NOW. Use priority code XP1956BLOG

Save the date
ePharma West 2014 | September 22-24, 2014 | San Francisco, CA
Register with discount code XP1956BLOG and SAVE $100 off the current rate

Check us out on Twitter: @ePharma
Join us on LinkedIn: ePharma Summit
Get our email updates

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Melanoma Screening: There’s an App for That

Pin It Now!
This post was authored by @MikeMadarasz of the Institute for International Research 

While rumors and predictions fly around about Apple’s impending Healthbook App, one University of Houston professor is making mobile health breakthroughs on a smaller scale.  DermoScreen is helping patients to screen for cancer by simply taking a picture of a mole or discoloration with their iPhone and running it through the application.  The remarkable part is that the software is predicting cancer at about an 85% success rate—Right on par with most dermatology professionals. 

The app, which has been a project of professor George Zouridakis since 2005, is still in the early testing stages, but if approved could have big implications on the field.  Melanoma detection has proved to be a problem in many rural areas and the developing world where the nearest specialists are situated hundreds of miles away.  Dermoscreen provides a quick and inexpensive solution to that problem.  In addition to a mobile device, the app requires a dermoscope attachment which costs about $500. 

Photo: University of Houston
Melanoma is responsible for roughly three out of every four cancer deaths and the best way to combat the disease is with early detection.  This is largely what Dermoscreen is hoping to facilitate by eliminating expensive tests and extended waiting periods for results.  Says Dr. Ana Ciurea, an assistant professor of dermatology at MD Anderson, “We are in early stages of planning and approval for this project, but such an application, if validated, has the potential for widespread use to ultimately improve patient care.”   

Investors are beginning to become enamored with the project, which is in process of being upgraded so that it can handle different diagnostic components.  A team of students produced a business plan around the app that claimed a $60,000 Grand Prize at the 2013 California Dreamin National Business Plan Competition.  Investors began to take notice after this but Zouridakis and his team chose to be patient and firm up the technology. 

Look for this tech to begin to be applied to other diseases as well.  The project has already secured a $415,500 grant from the National Institute of Health to explore its application in diagnosing Buruli ulcers, a flesh-eating bacteria in Africa. 

But to what extent can we trust technology with these diagnoses?  While an 85% accuracy rate is impressive for a machine, that still leaves a percentage of patients misdiagnosed.  Can we assume that in the rural setting this app is intended for that this would only further delay a trip to a specialist?  Additionally, in the case of Buruli ulcers, popular medical opinion is that multiple methods may be necessary to make a correct diagnosis.  Based on that, it seems like a stretch to think that an iPhone could accurately do the same on its own.  While the technology seems to be flirting with a breakthrough, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that we are still in the early stages of testing.

We’ll have more on new care delivery models at ePharma West this year.  Now, you can SAVE $100. Use discount code XP1956BLOG. Register here.

ePharma West | September 22-24 | San Francisco, CA

Check us out on Twitter: @ePharma
Join us on LinkedIn: ePharma Summit
Get our email updates

Monday, May 5, 2014

Grabbing the Tiger by the Tail: Implementing Digital Transformation in Pharma

Pin It Now!
The pharmaceutical industry is traditionally slow to accept change, but digital transformation is no longer a matter of choice. Given how information technology (IT) is changing the way we do business, pharma companies now need to embrace the new content marketing landscape in order to survive. Knowing where to start is challenging, but by following a comprehensive roadmap you can incorporate transformation into your business strategy.

Understanding Digital Transformation
The transformation of the traditionally slow-to-change pharma industry is being driven by consumers’ increasing demand for online products and services. Combined with readily-available, free-to-use tools and platforms, digital options are currently impacting every aspect of the pharma value chain. It’s impossible to stop or slow down the process, which ranges from marketing and sales through inventory, distribution, resource management and payments. Embracing it is equally challenging, but if you follow a comprehensive roadmap you can grab the tiger by the tail and ride it, successfully implementing IT into your business strategy.

Step 1: Building Capability
Before you can implement transformation, your first step is to build digital capability by integrating IT into your pharma company at every level. Review your policies, procedures and current methods of operation in all areas of business to see how they can be adapted to become digitally fit. It’s often easier to apply digital transformation to functions such as marketing and communications than it is to other areas. Even if you implement it in phases, however, it has to be across the board to make it work:

Marketing:  Methods have shifted from traditional “push” marketing such as print, radio and television to inbound marketing, which is the science of getting busy healthcare professionals to seek out instead the products and services (and providers) they want and need. The digital revolution makes it possible to have one-on-one interactions with individual customers using marketing automation, email marketing and content. For this to work you need:

·         A website that’s optimized for search engines
·         A content marketing strategy that includes regular blogging, and
·         Active social media profiles

Train your staff in how inbound marketing works to enable them to understand and implement the process.

Sales: The digital environment already offers great opportunities for pharma to increase productivity through the use of online conferencing for client meetings, electronic sales presentations and webinars, online ordering options and end-to-end lead nurturing and management. Boost sales capability by using CRM software that enables your team to maintain contact with busy clients in a less intrusive way than calling on them by phone or in person.

Administration: Strengthening your financial management, streamlining your process and improving your reporting will result in better performance and controls. Managing pharma resources is expensive regardless of whether they are human, raw materials or corporate assets, but you can use mobile technology to do it better and deliver a higher profit margin.

Step 2: Creating a Team
You can’t implement the kind of digital transformation you need to remain competitive in pharma by doing it as a part-time project. Establish a start-up team to focus on the process. You’ll need to generate a spirit of innovation at the highest levels to get your executives to buy into the transformation process. A 2013 survey of 1,500 executives showed that:
  • 78% of respondents believe it will be critical to achieve digital transformation within the next two years
  • 63% felt the pace of change in their companies was too slow
  • Only 36% of CEOs have shared their vision for digital transformation with their executive teams
To drive the process, appoint a Chief Digital Officer with an understanding of the pharma industry as well as information technology and inbound marketing functions. Set digital goals for your management team to achieve, based on realistic delivery dates.

Step 3: Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Make use of free or inexpensive tools such as social media sites, online collaboration software and free applications such as Skype to get your staff and clients comfortable with the new approach. Focus on fulfilling customer needs at every level in your business, so that a client-centric approach becomes a way of life for your team.

You’ll need to invest in your digital transformation to make it really happen effectively. Identify the return on your investment in advance; this will make it easier for your management team to see the benefits and agree to the expenditure. While you can use freely-available tools, staffing expenses can be a bigger budget item. Keep costs under control by outsourcing functions where possible while you make the shift to the digital environment.

Step 4: Make it Happen
Making digital transformation happen takes disruption and upheaval. It isn’t just about introducing technology - you’ll have to completely change the way your pharma company does business. Don’t try to make your client fit into the systems and processes – start with customer and build the technology around him. To do so, you’ll need to:

+  Seek adjacency by thinking long term, past the immediate opportunities to the problem that needs to be solved and finding ways to get there.
+  Use convergence by piggy-backing on the collaboration between platforms such as mobile, web and telephone systems.
+  Keep innovation going by continuously working to streamline operations through digital functionality.

By using a phased-in approach or parallel systems, you can remain flexible enough to lead both your team and your customers into the new digital world at a pace they can handle. At the same time, you can achieve the transformation you need to compete in the business environment and secure both your company’s future and its bottom line.

Want to learn more about Digital Transformation in pharma?

Need more on the digital transformation of pharma? Check out ePharma West. SAVE $100 when you register nowuse discount code XP1956BLOG. 
September 22-24 | San Francisco, CA

About the author

Ash Rishi is Co-founder and Co-managing director of COUCH. Based in London, COUCH is an integrated digital marketing and creative healthcare communications agency focusing on the pharmaceutical, healthcare and life sciences industry. Ash has over 9 years experience in pharma marketing and has delivered activities across UK, Europe, US, Canada and Latin America. His area of expertise include: mobile, marketing tech, branding, communications, stakeholder development and digital engagement strategies. Ash is also the founder of a digital engagement group on LinkedIn. You can reach Ash at or follow him on Twitter @We_Are_Couch and @Ash_Rishi

Check us out on Twitter: @ePharma
Join us on LinkedIn: ePharma Summit

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Google Glass is Making Waves in This Hospital

Pin It Now!
This post was authored by @MikeMadarasz of the Institute for International Research 

It’s possible the next “glasshole” you come across could be in the emergency room.  Previously, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has been involved in a pilot that CIO John Halamka says will improve the “safety, quality and efficiency of patient care” in hospitals.  That pilot, however, is not based on any kind of breakthrough medication.  The hospital has been working with startup Wearable Intelligence over the last four months to experiment with the usage of Google Glass in their Emergency Department. 

While many are predicting mobile health as the future in healthcare, this concept takes that technology a step further.  The current process at Beth Israel has physicians glance at QR codes placed on the wall upon entering the room.  Glass recognizes the room through this code and is consequently able display information on the patient such as vital signs and lab results among other things.  The physician is able re-organize and scroll through the data based on voice commands and the direction he or she looks in.  This is a big factor in something Halamka refers to as “clinician usability” by allowing the user to keep both hands. He says these doctors must stay visually engaged while also completing tasks with their hands.   

Doctors may soon be trading in those
prescription glasses for a digital pair
The first impressions on this test run? They’re good. 

“I believe that wearable tech enables providers to deliver better clinical care by supporting them with contextually-relevant data and decision support wisdom,” says Halamka.  Another ED physician, Steve Horng, agrees.  Horng credits glass with helping to expedite the collection of medical data—something critical in an ER setting.  “As a wearable device that is always on and ready, it has remarkably streamlined clinical workflows that involve information gathering” he explains.  

It didn’t take long to prove this benefit.  Horng was recently called to treat a patient having an emergency allergic reaction.  The patient, unable to recall the exact medication he had taken, was suffering a massive brain bleed.  “We must often assess and mitigate life threats before having fully reviewed a patient’s previous history” says Horng.  “Google Glass enabled me to view this patient’s allergy information and current medication regimen without having to excuse myself to login to a computer, or even loose eye contact. It turned out that he was also on blood thinners that needed to be emergently reversed. By having this information readily available at the bedside, we were able to quickly start both antihypertensive therapy and reversal medications for his blood thinners, treatments that if delayed could lead to permanent disability and even death.”    

Beth Israels beta test lasted four months and involved the use of four devices among ten doctors.  The hospital has employed the product to several clinical providers in the ED.  Halamka says he looks forward to reporting on further about the experience. Stay tuned.

ePharma West | September 22-24 | San Francisco, CA
Save $100. Register now, use discount code XP1956BLOG

2015 ePharma Summit | February 24-26 | New York, NY

Check us out on Twitter: @ePharma
Join us on LinkedIn: ePharma Summit