Friday, March 7, 2014

In Case You Missed It


Some worthy weekend reading:

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Healthcare’s Big Data potluck

By Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst

imageMobihealthnews 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).

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Friday, February 28, 2014

In Case You Missed It


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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:

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Gaming adherence

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


Yes, this:

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 Analystimage

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. 

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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).

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