Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Taking social health to the next level
It’s tough to remember life before social media, but it’s still a young medium – Facebook is not yet ten years old, Twitter and Tumblr almost eight. Recently, though, the social space is doing some growing up, as formerly-scruffy networks on the media industry’s periphery have morphed into advertising behemoths, front and center. Pharma industry use of social media is at a turning point, as well, as companies that have been using OPDP imprecision as an excuse to keep hitting the snooze button wake up to the fact that consumers are getting health information (and misinformation) through social networks, and those firms that have been participating all along look to refine their approach beyond trial-and-error experimentation.
We’ve been sorting through our consumer data in preparation for an in-depth report on social health. The big takeaway, so far: It’s time for pharmas to deepen their understanding of social health, taking into account how factors like age, condition, and point in the patient journey affect where and how people seek health information and support through social media. But is the industry there, yet? We’d love to hear from clients working on these issues. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can include your critical business questions in our analysis.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
A fond farewell to 2013, year of faceplanting federal exchanges and ever-increasing mobility
In the spirit of taking stock (and making listicles), here’s seven ways our world changed in 2013:
- The ACA’s insurance exchanges and Sunshine Act reporting provisions took effect. The full effects are TBD – will physicians shy away from industry contact? Will a glut of newly-insured Americans mean a spike in prescriptions for branded drugs? But the repercussions will be felt for many years. Next up: Meaningful Use Stage 2 and ICD-10.
- Mobile arrived. Again. But this time, advertisers are taking the medium seriously and pharmas and medical publishers are moving to mobile-optimize their sites (a few steps behind their CPG counterparts, of course).
- The long-anticipated formulary backlash against copay cards began. Again.
- Physicians became increasingly tethered to their EHRs, spending more time on them than they do other digital resources and shaking up the digital screenflow paradigm.
- Self-tracking devices multiplied, with new fitness trackers rolled out at a dizzying rate and no end in sight (unless Google Glass or the iWatch wins us all over). Stage 3 meaningful use incentives, designed to speed patient access to self-management tools and data, are two short years off, and can only fuel the frenzy.
- Large pharmas continued to cut R&D, pointing to a future of smaller, more focused product portfolios and greater dependence on acquisitions and in-licensing for the biggest players.
- The patent cliff that has bedeviled the industry began to recede – but another looms (this one for biologics) in a few years.
Here’s to your health — and plenty of new and innovative therapies — in 2014!
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Image courtesy of 23andme.com
- This is the most entertainingly abrasive article you will read about 23andMe this week. TLDR version: 23andMe is either taking a very brave stand for personal gene testing or running the “single dumbest regulatory strategy ever” in its dealings with FDA.
- The inventor of Abraxane’s quest for the Big Data/personalized medicine singularity.
- A surgeon’s review of Google Glass in the OR.
- The White House declares “Mission Accomplished” on the Healthcare.gov “Tech Surge,” clocks 100K “signed up” for coverage through the site (though it still suffers a “disastrous outage rate by the standards of major retail sites”)…
- Incidentally, here’s a fascinating look at “Agile” versus “Waterfall” approaches to project management in tech – and how the White House blew the Healthcare.gov launch by going with the latter.
- MobiHealthNews kicks of the end-of-year lists with 51 digital health metrics (we’re in there).
- Why are companies like Forest and Eisai slashing R&D these days? A timely Deloitte/Reuters analysis finds that companies are actually doing fine at getting drugs to market, but R&D returns are sagging (due in part, one suspects, to higher R&D costs driven by the shift towards specialty biologics, along with tighter-fisted payers and pill-splitting patients).
- “Focus on sloths, because that’s going to be your meal ticket.”
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Pharmacists in Focus for Rx Marketing – 3 Key Multichannel Opportunities for Pharma Brands
Image courtesy of bluesmoon via Flickr
The U.S. healthcare landscape is drastically changing under new reform and pharmacists are stepping in to play a key role in care and supporting patients throughout their treatment plans. Moreover, pharmacists show significant demand for digital patient support services from pharma. These trends represent strategic opportunity for pharma commercial teams looking to support pharmacists who are playing growing role post healthcare reform.
Our latest Taking the Pulse® Pharmacists 2013 study highlights three key multichannel opportunities for brands to consider when evaluating ways to connect with pharmacist audiences:
Pharma-Sponsored Adherence Support: Pharmacists are on the front lines with patients when it comes to helping them take and stay on their medication - a critical role as the government and payers put more pressure on improving treatment outcomes. For example, more than 9 in 10 online retail pharmacists provide patients with adherence support. At the same time, pharmacists want pharma support in this regard. The Taking the Pulse® Pharmacist 2013 study found that more than 4 in 5 pharmacists surveyed have used or are interested in using pharma-sponsored adherence materials and support programs via their EHR.
Educational Materials on Pharma Websites: Pharmacists are also looking to pharma companies for educational materials for teaching and sharing with their patients. For example, 3 in 5 retail pharmacists are interested in accessing patient education materials on pharma product, corporate or service websites.
Online Promotion for Pharmacists: Various pharma companies are already beginning to expand their rep focus to pharma – particularly specialty pharmacists focused on the increasingly critical niche therapy market. Nearly half of specialty pharmacists have already used an on-demand presentation from a pharma company, such as recorded webcasts, videos, slideshows or animations, and a significant share of those who haven’t are interested in doing so.
Manhattan Research’s Taking the Pulse® Pharmacists study and advisory service is focused on helping pharma brands understand the evolving role pharmacists are playing in patient care and how brands can connect with pharmacists through multichannel marketing and sales strategies. The study was fielded in August 2013 among 754 retail, hospital and specialty pharmacists.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
- Google’s mobile business surged as a spike in mobile ad volume compensated for declining cost-per-click due to migration from PCs to mobile devices (and no wonder, with 95 million Americans using mHealth in 2013). But what cards is Facebook holding?
- WebMD has acquired patient engagement specialist Avado, which boasts a cloud-based, EHR-agnostic patient portal.
- Verizon is “transforming from a telephone company to a technology company” with a home health hub that features built-in EHR support.
- WellDoc model predicts dangerous episodes of low blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients with 91% accuracy, based on a once-a-day blood test.
- Here comes Google’s smartwatch, with Apple’s possibly nipping at its heels.
- HealthTap takes a page from Apple with a Siri-like app that uses natural language processing to serve up answers to health questions.
- ACA Insurance Exchange-mageddon – where we stand: State exchanges, like those of California, New York and Kentucky, are reportedly running smoothly. Mixed reports on how the bug-ridden federal exchange website is progressing, but it won’t be fully-functional until at least mid-November, and initial enrollments will be small. There’s been a rash of sensational headlines as some people get ”cancellation notice” letters from insurers notifying that their plan is not compliant with the ACA and they must move to a different plan (which is likely to mean more coverage for most – at somewhat higher premiums for many). Insurers are pushing back on pols’ calls to extend the deadline for sign-up, saying it would cause premiums to spike. Meanwhile, Ohio’s governor forced a Medicaid expansion, going against his fellow Republicans in the state legislature, who had blocked it. A big step for the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, though many Southern and Midwestern states, including heavyweights like Florida and Texas, continue to hold out.
Friday, October 18, 2013
- Weight loss apps still aren’t taking a behavioral approach, study says.
- Express Scripts’ big branded pharma formulary purge: a PBM strikes back against co-pay cards.
- The Cancer Genome Atlas findings promise big implications for personalized medicine.
- What did the shutdown mean for pharmas? FDA is a month behind, and CDC has a backlog of millions of unread emails.
- Ezra Klein pronounces the bug-ridden Healthcare.gov launch “a disaster,” and OTC analgesics utilization soars in the vicinity of CMS headquarters (though state exchanges seem to be faring better).
- Hospitals and practices to patients: Pay your deductible or no doctor visit for you.
- Nice capsule history of macro forces in the pharma market over the past couple decades and how the tables turned on dinosaur-like large pharmas in favor of quick and agile small furry mammal startups.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Pharmacists, in their own words and by the numbers
by Shawn Dimantha, Principal Analyst
Friday, October 11, 2013
- Mobile advertising increased 145% in the first half of 2013 to $3 billion in the U.S., according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The spike comes as mega-advertisers like Unilever and Mondelez jump in with big campaigns, though mobile remains a small share of adspend overall – one plagued by the lack of a tracking standard and unobtrusive ad formats that don’t just annoy viewers, writes The Wall Street Journal.
- The wearables arms race (rimshot) rolls on. Fitbit’s new Force band looks like a smartwatch, acts like a fitness tracker. In addition to the fashion-forward packaging, they’ve added an altimeter, and it will vibrate to alert iPhone users to incoming calls.
- Where we are in the shift towards qualitative carrots for health systems and providers: Humana says nearly a third of its health plan members are treated by providers under “value-based” – as opposed to fee-for-service – reimbursement contracts
- The Nielsen Twitter TV rating debuts — just in time for the IPO!
- Healthtap counts 10,000 lives saved and takes a star turn in the Times: “HealthTap’s evolution shows how moving to behavioral psychology has helped it increase its number of users and the number of doctors who offer knowledge on the site at no cost.”
- The Times also has an interesting look at why people prefer branded drugs. A top-shelf psychology may be at work in consumer preference for branded drugs, the article suggests, but it rightly notes the plague of recalls and instances where generics haven’t worked as well as branded drugs.
Social media and emotional marketing
by Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst
MM&M has a look at the role of emotion in patient marketing, mostly through social channels. “Industry’s emotional challenge in social media is how to appear genuine,” they write, touching on Lundbeck’s Facebook-centric “Who Moves You” campaign for Huntington’s Disease patients and caregivers:
If done right, these efforts are seen as “meeting a need, not promoting a brand,” adds Wendy White, founder and president of Siren. The page has almost 3,700 likes. That’s over 10% of the estimated 30,000 people with HD in the US, she observes.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Week’s end reads:
- The good news is that lots of people want to buy insurance through the new Affordable Care Act exchanges. The bad news is that many are being turned away by glitches and swamped servers.
- Pretty devastating Times piece on who’s being left out of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion (and here’s a look at how the Medicaid expansion battle might impact pharmas).
- A government shutdown didn’t stop the launch of the insurance exchanges, but it is impacting patients at the NIH clinical center.
- With physicians ever fewer and scarcer, and a flood of new patients set to enter the system, a doctor surveys the medical turf wars and comes out on the side of empowering NPs and PAs.
- Like Misfit, Jawbone sees its future in fashion as much as tech.
- You’ve probably heard of fecal transplants and the fascinating science emerging around the microbiome? Well, a Canadian infectious diseases doc has figured out how to package C. diff-fighting poop into a pill. There’s definitely room for pharma expertise here – right now, they’re hand-made and a day’s course may consist of 35 pills.