Friday, March 7, 2014
Some worthy weekend reading:
- Merck’s innovation division has been quietly lining up partnerships with hospitals, EHR vendors, patient communities and tech startups, connecting the dots for a future Big Data feedback loop.
- The White House is weighing FDA regulation of EHRs and PHRs, and those industries are gearing up for a lobbying battle royale.
- FDA is hiring a social media mining company to track buzz around Rx drugs, with an eye towards how agency decisions on specific drugs impact online chatter about them.
- Pharma industry spending on speaker fees plummeted in 2012, in large part because companies were sweating the imminent implementation of the Sunshine Act, which will make those transactions public (but also because many of them didn’t have many new products to promote). Standing question: How will the Sunshine Act affect physician attitudes toward pharma engagement in other areas?
- The always-smart David Shaywitz says that in spite of the odd-couple mismatch between pharma and tech cultures, “the technologies of digital health are going to become increasingly important to pharmas, especially as there’s increased emphasis on value, and as the need to deliver solutions rather than pills becomes essential, table stakes, an integral part of the way products are evaluated and used.”
- Interesting piece in The Times on the post-ACA pressures driving Kentucky doctors out of small private practices and into ACOs, hospitals and large group practices. The high cost of implementing and training into a full-service EHR is cited as a motivator.
- The war of the fitness trackers rolls on as Intel, looking to keep up with the wearables Joneses, buys smartwatch developer Basic for $100m+.
- Florence Nightingale: mother of Big Data for health?
Healthcare’s Big Data potluck
By Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst
Mobihealthnews has an interesting look at how Merck’s Medical Information and Innovation unit (AKA M2i2) has been lining up big data partnerships with EHR vendors, healthcare providers and tech startups. Among other things, they’re working with Humedica, Practice Fusion, Allscripts, CECare and the Health Data Consortium to enhance clinical decision support, Merck’s Sachin Jain told the site (they’re also working with patient communities and hospitals on other types of projects, but you can see the outlines of that feedback loop taking shape).
Friday, February 28, 2014
- Social media + Big Data for predicting HIV transmission… and insomnia.
- Speaking of Big Data, here’s a smart look at practical applications for pharma from MM&M.
- WebMD reported a big spike in mobile traffic for Q4 — and not at the expense of desktop. For the consumer site, 31% of visits were from smartphones and 8% from tablets. Medscape traffic also rose modestly.
- Meanwhile, Everyday Health is going for an IPO do-over.
- Geisinger CIO says app, schmapp — their patients prefer texting, patient portals to apps.
- FDA thinking about limiting TV ad fair balance to serious side effects.
- The Times has an interesting/alarming angle on the movement of doctors, prodded by policy changes, into hospitals: it’s sure to cost more in the short run as hospitals tack a markup onto the sweet salary deals they’ve offered docs.
- Feeling glum about pharma R&D? Here, read this primer on the revolution in hepatitis C treatments and feel hopeful about the industry again.
- Lessons from the Target hack for health IT. We heard some talk about privacy concerns at the ePharma Summit recently. Rough consensus seemed to be that if you’re transparent and proactive in addressing privacy/security issues, and if patients can see a clear upside, they’ll share their data.
- “EMS loyalty programs:” pretty much a brilliant name for providing patient education and ongoing support to the small segment of patients that turn up in ERs like a bad penny.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
The trends to watch for pharmas in multichannel marketing
Change was the overarching theme of last week’s ePharma Summit, featuring in the titles of four sessions before lunch on Tuesday alone. With a root-and-branch reorganization of the nation’s healthcare delivery system underway and technological innovation progressing at breakneck speed, everybody in the pharmaceutical industry is anxious to understand this new landscape and what it will look like a year or ten down the road.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a look at the 14 trends that should matter most to pharma marketers this year. You can download the white paper here.
Our VP of Research Monique Levy spoke on this topic last Monday, kicking off the conference’s eMarketing University with a talk about “Key Digital Trends Pharma Marketers Need to Know in 2014.” Here are some highlights:
Monday, February 10, 2014
By Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst
MM&M has a fascinating piece looking at mobile games from pharma as a tool to educate patients and drive adherence. There’s some exciting things happening on that front – Sanofi and Lilly/Boehringer Ingelheim have produced diabetes games, and Merck is working on another. Genentech’s excellent Re-Mission cancer-fighting game for kids is now in its second iteration. Pfizer and Akili Interactive are working on a game that aims to detect early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. The benefits of improving adherence for both patient health and the bottom line are obvious, and you can imagine games like these becoming a component of a pill-plus offering.
Manhattan Research has found moderate consumer demand for digital health games from pharma in the U.S., with use and interest skewing younger. No surprise there. However, when we asked consumers how they have played or might want to play digital health games, we found that web-based games are Number One, thanks to the preferences of older consumers (under-35s opt for mobile apps and console games, given the choice). We also found that use and interest varied widely across different therapeutic categories. So pharmas thinking of taking the plunge and building a digital health game should first weigh the appropriateness of digital health games to their condition group and consider the preferences of their patients’ age cohort before putting all their chips on an app.
Friday, February 7, 2014
- Ten big pharmas are collaborating with NIH on a five-year effort to create a “Google Maps of human disease” and lay the foundations for innovative treatments in Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, RA and lupus. It’s a big step forward for an historically atomized industry of insular, secretive companies – and one born of necessity.
- For all the talk about the Target data breach and other recent retail break-ins, health data is ground zero for data theft, and the nation’s health IT networks are highly insecure. Will data security worries prompt patients to shy away from PHRs and stymie government health IT initiatives?
- EHRs may be causing docs to miss important verbal cues in consults with patients – because they’re looking at the screen, not at the patient. Around these parts, we sometimes talk about EHRs as a “fourth screen” for physicians – one that’s having a huge impact on physician screen flow throughout the workday.
- Interesting piece on health gaming apps as a tool for disease education and promoting adherence. Though it skews young and varies by condition, there’s a substantial audience for digital health games from pharma, and potentially big gains for both patient health and the bottom line in companies and agencies can get it right.
- So now we have a little (draft) guidance from FDA on pharmas and social media. But Mobihealthnews smartly asks: should pharmas be doing more in social?
- Millennium President Anna Protopapas tells PharmExec’s Bill Looney that: “The pressure to quantify value is coming from multiple fronts. Private and non-profit insurers, PBMs and managed care providers are no longer complacent, third party participants in a system where costs are simply passed on to others. Patients are bearing more of the direct cost of care, so they too expect an explicit connection between investment and outcome.” Yep. Cost will be increasingly in the foreground of pharma strategy and messaging.
- Not just the iWatch but also Apple’s iOS8 will be all about health and fitness self-tracking, says a reliable Macwatching source.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Let’s stop prematurely mourning the death of the PC
By Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst
Bud Tribble, Apple’s vice president of software technology and one of the original members of the Macintosh development team, said the “post-PC era” phrase is misleading because the PC isn’t going away. It will, however, no longer be the only way to perform computing tasks.
“Ultimately we believe performance differences between mobile devices and PCs aren’t a determining differentiation anymore,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing. “It’s about form factor and what fits different parts of your life.”
It’s always tempting to put the cart before the horse when there’s a technological revolution like the one currently underway in mobile devices. It’s new! Well, new-ish! You want to master it while your competitors dither!
But our studies show that as far as healthcare is concerned, the desktop and laptop are far from dead, whether in the home or the doctor’s office. We’re all leading multi-screen lives, and each screen has its place in them, but the PC’s place is roomier than the rest. It’s still the workhorse driving much health info-seeking.
Healthcare companies must optimize for mobile, yes, and urgently — but they can’t neglect desktops and laptops. Rather, strategy must consider all devices in context of their use and how the customer flows through them, from one to the next, throughout the day.
Incidentally, happy 30th birthday, Apple!
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
What FDA’s social media guidance means for pharmas
by Rory Stanton, Consumer Insights Analyst
The FDA’s new draft guidance shows, albeit a bit late given the complexity and swift evolution of social media, that the FDA is thinking hard and trying to craft lasting guidance for the pharma industry around this channel. We now have some clarity on what content pharmas “own” online, when user-generated content is considered promotion and how companies can submit materials for sites with real time interactive features (FDA has said they’ll soon address several more outstanding questions about pharma use of social media. It has impacted what it means to do social in 2014 since most pharma marketers that have been frozen in time for a few years with respect to social can now move forward with this draft guidance. But first, brands need to decide whether they have what it takes to meet the standards of the next generation of social health marketing and simultaneously figure out whether it’s relevant to their brand and target audience.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
FDA gives the green light to UGC
By Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst
The FDA’s long-awaited (four years-plus in the making?) first draft guidance on pharma use of social media is striking in its brevity, weighing in at just seven pages, and leaves a number of important topics yet to be addressed – but it answers the most important question for the industry in the social space.
It says: Okay, we recognize the impossibility of submitting promotional materials with real-time components “at the time of initial dissemination,” per the requirements of the 75-year-old FD&C Act. Yes, you can engage consumers interactively through social media. You can turn comments on. The agency won’t regard user-generated content on your site to be promotion (provided that they’re not company-sponsored sock puppets, of course), and you don’t have to submit a Form 2253 or 2301 to OPDP every time you respond to a commenter (rather, monthly submissions will do).