IBM plans to ‘transform personal health’ with Apple, J&J and Medtronic pacts

by Admin 14. April 2015 09:04

Computer giant IBM is expanding its presence in healthcare with the launch of the Watson Health unit, extending its partnership with Apple and inking deals with Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic.

The first agreement will involve using IBM’s cloud services and analytics expertise to support health data entered by customers in apps using Apple's ResearchKit and HealthKit frameworks. The move “will arm medical researchers with a secure, open data storage solution, as well as access to IBM's most sophisticated data analytics capabilities”, Watson Health argues.

John Kelly, head of IBM research and solutions portfolio, said the pact “will enable doctors and researchers to draw on real-time insights from consumer health and behavioural data at a scale never before possible”. IBM will also build a suite of wellness apps for companies using HealthKit designed to help them work with their employees to “better manage their health needs across acute diseases to general fitness”.

In tandem with the Apple alliance, Johnson & Johnson is teaming up with IBM to create targeted intelligent coaching systems using HealthCloud and Watson “to model and apply the best medical evidence to patient interventions and communications”. Devices giant Medtronic is also partnering with the computer firm, saying it will look to deliver “highly personalised care management solutions for diabetic patients, drawing from an IBM insights platform that will receive and analyse data from medical devices”.

IBM has also acquired two health technology firms, Explorys and Phytel.

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2014 PM Society Awards’ Winners Celebrate Success

by Admin 2. February 2015 09:32

The 29th annual PM Society Awards took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Friday with the UK dominating the leader board scooping multiple Gold awards at the ceremony.  

Among the winners included Mundipharma bagging a whopping 10 awards – three of them Gold – marking it out as the most successful pharma company of 2014. Fresenius Kabi were close rivals, also taking three Golds, while Shire Pharmaceuticals scored for highest overall number of awards, securing one for each of their 11 entries.

Agency winners included Havas Life Medicom and VCCP Health, who were joint first on the leader board, each taking home three Gold trophies, while Havas Lynx took home two Golds.

Notably, two categories were won by the same agency in consecutive years: VCCP Health retained their title as winner of the Craft Award for best Secondary Care Advertisement and Bedgebury Communications topped the show with their second successive Target Award for best Primary Care Advertisement.

The PM Awards is renowned for recognising marketing excellence for pharmaceutical and associated industries. This year the awards also recognised industry trends and saw most of the categories open up to digital organizations. Judging was determined according strict criteria around concept, design, use of craft, and impact.

Neil Smith, the PM Society Awards Chairman explains: “The key to marketing excellence lies in the underlying principles of creativity, execution or the use of the appropriate craft, and impact. These are attributes that can be compared equally, whatever the medium or campaign audience. 

Smith further said, “It was encouraging this year to see the number of digital entries being judged alongside traditional print media and to welcome some ‘first timers’ to the Awards, now that the categories have opened out to include a broader range of today’s marketing activities.”

A full list of category Gold winners includes:            

Craft Award for Direct Mail                                                Hanson Zandi for Internis

Craft Award for Sales Aid                                                  HAVAS LYNX for AbbVie

Craft Award for Film                                                            VCCP Health for Mundipharma

Craft Award for Digital Interactive                                    Big Pink for GlaxoSmithKline

Craft Award for Animation                                                 Woolley Pau Gyro for Napp

Craft Award for Events and Exhibitions                          VCCP Health for Mundipharma

Target Award for Direct Mail                                             McCann Manchester for Shire

Craft Award for Disease Awareness                               FleishmanHillard for Bayer Healthcare

Craft Award for Patient Support                                       nitrogen for Vertex

Primary Care Campaign                                                    Havas Life Medicom for Fresenius Kabi

Secondary Care Campaign                                              Digitas Health for sanofi

Target Award for House Promotion                                 Life

Target Award for Corporate Communications               HAVAS LYNX for sanofi

Geoff Brook Innovation Award                                         Ten Alps Communicate for Sanofi Pasteur MSD

Craft Award for Advertisement Campaign                     Havas Life Medicom for Fresenius Kabi

Craft Award for Secondary Care Ad                               VCCP Health for Mundipharma

Craft Award for Primary Care Ad                                    Havas Life Medicom for Fresenius Kabi

Target Award for Secondary Care Ad                           Learner Adams Bones for Takeda UK

Target Award for Primary Care Ad                                Bedgebury Communications for Sanofi Pasteur MSD

 

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Mundipharma leads award ceremony victories at the PM Society Awards

by Admin 17. December 2014 10:22

Mundipharma has topped the table of shortlisted entries at this year’s PM Society Awards, with 13 projects reaching the finals.

It was closely followed by Shire Pharmaceuticals with 11 projects on the shortlist, and joint third position went to GlaxoSmithKline and Fresenius Kabi with 6 finalist places each, and Sanofi Pasteur MSD with 5 projects in the running to win coveted awards on the 30th January. 

There will be 33 other client companies represented amongst the finalists including AbbVie and Internis with 4 each and Takeda, Novo Nordisk and Napp with 3.

Leading the agency board is VCCP Health with a staggering 14 submissions reaching the finals.  In second position is HAVAS LYNX with 9 shortlisted entries and in third Havas Life Medicom with 7. McCann Health and McCann Manchester have 6 entries each at the final stages and Bedgebury Communications, bmore creative and inVentiv Health all have 5. 

These companies are among 28 agencies who will be battling it out at Grosvenor House for this year’s 29th PM Society Awards in January, which is in its 29th year running.

There were 19 categories at this year’s awards, with most open to both digital as well as traditional media. It was the first time print detail aids was judged against digital sales aids in the same category. It was also the first time international entries across the board were accepted in the running. 

This were separate awards available for house promotion and corporate communications as well as two patient awards covering disease awareness and patient support. An additional category for work created for events and exhibitions was also added to the event.

PM Society Awards Chairman Neil Smith said “It was fantastic to see the number of entries up at the same level as last year and we believe that the changes we’ve made to the categories and judging process reflect changes we are seeing in the industry. We are very proud to be in our 29th year and expect another big turnout at Grosvenor House on 30th January”.

For tickets visit the PM Society website www.pmsociety.org.uk or phone Vivien Bennett on 01403 264898.

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Healthcare Meetings Forum 2014 survey yields key trends

by Admin 3. December 2014 16:00

Results from a survey commissioned for the 3rd annual Healthcare Meetings Forum (HCMF), aiming to define the link between scientific information and positive patient outcome, has shown positive trends for the future.

The 400+ results received so far from the HCPs, which have been evaluated by the HCMF steering committee, offers positive views, with 75% of respondents saying they preferred face-to-face meetings, as opposed to questionnaires conducted online, especially if it related to securing patient outcomes. 

The results are encouraging and they provide a strong catalyst for discussion at this year’s Forum: Focus on the Patient – Driving new trends for medical meetings’.

The survey also showed that approximately three quarters of respondents believed they would receive 80% medical information virtually by 2017. This results directly impact the structure of medical meetings and in-person attendance, particularly as more research and seminars are published digitally, as well as coping with busy working schedules and diminishing budgets.

Changing the nature of information sharing is to be addressed at the Forum meeting, focusing on the quiet revolution in medical congress formats and delivery methodology - which often goes unrecognized. The meeting will also the question of ‘how is content best delivered?’

Other results to come out of the initial responses was the significant minority of those who believed that healthcare companies could speak directly to patients about their products (19%).

Responses to the survey are still being received by the HCMF steering committee and this year’s Forum promises to reveal more insightful and significant data, provided through leadership and a frank forum for discussion. This year’s Forum takes place on 15 – 16 December at the Park Inn Heathrow. 

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What’s my motivation?

by Admin 14. March 2014 11:53

What’s my motivation?

The past ten years have been changeable for the pharmaceutical industry, with priorities shifting as the tide of healthcare turns, both nationally and globally. Sarah Rees takes a look at how motivations have changed.

There are many that would say the golden age of pharma is over. Drugs are not bringing in the mega bucks they once used to, new products are fewer and further between, and patents on many of the major names approach expiration without viable competitors on the horizon.

Optimists, however, prefer to see pharma moving into a mellow maturity, with a slackening of the pace allowing the more sedate process of exploration - namely, research and development - to enter the fore. Is the shift towards R&D for the greater good of humanity or a response to the respond to markets? Who can say, but the industry shift towards value-based pricing has certainly caused many pharma companies to rethink their business models in a bid to stay ahead of the curve and prove their worth in an increasingly scrutinised environment.

This scrutiny has extended into marketing and publicity, and there is no doubt that today’s pharma is under the spotlight in ways that management in the previous decade would not expect. After a number of high-profile cases challenged the reputation of some big names, pharma companies have responded to government and industry pressure for a more transparent system.

Other current watch-words that would surprise managers of old are ‘joint-working’ and ‘integration’, as pharma has made a big move towards alignment with the NHS in order to gain access to the funding pots of commissioners in the system.

This is surely just one of the many ramifications of NHS reform, which stands to shake up the health service in England in 2013 and has forced pharma to re-think business models and strategies. A squeeze in NHS funding nudged open doors for pharma, and the opportunities for pharma to supplement health services and ease the increasing pressure on the NHS are turning from ambitions to realities.

Strategies on the global front have definitely shifted in a decade: China is now a golden location for pharma as the star rises in the East, while the improvement of Latin American economies has attracted the attention of those looking to be ahead in the emerging markets.

While pharma companies have steered their ships through the changeable global industry waters, the staffon board shifted their own priorities and motivations as the decade ticked by.

According to information garnered in the Pf Survey over the years, money and ‘the relationship with the boss’ have remained consistent priorities for sales reps over a decade, but job security has rocketed up the list of importance. Could we expect any less in an environment shaken by the financial crisis and record unemployment?

Pharma sales reps are also attaching less importance to personal development and the, once-adored, bonus with work-life balance now being seen as far more crucial to a workforce that increasingly values its time away from the office.

The times are certainly a-changing, with the shifting sands of expectation and funding sources causing pharma to jump through hoops unheard of in the board rooms of 2003. Nevertheless, pharma has risen to the challenge, weathering the financial crisis far better than many other industries and proving its ability to adapt in the face of changing demands made by the consumer, the health service and the world.

Spotlight on...Abbott Nutrition

In the competitive world of the healthcare industry, Abbott Nutrition is proof that being adaptable, and viewing change as an opportunity, ensures long term success. After more than a century of developing medical products to improve quality of life, Abbott remains an industry leader in terms of market position and workforce satisfaction.

“We are very aware that companies are not successful, people are,” stresses Sales Director Stuart Shotton, who has himself been part of the Abbott business for his entire 15-year career. “We take the results of the Pf survey very seriously, and in response to last year’s survey we targeted personal development and improving work-life balance, so we can continue to lead the industry in terms of Sales Force satisfaction.”

Abbott’s internal motivations are clear, while the external influence that has posed the biggest demand for change in recent years has been the Health and Social Care Act of 2012. “The largest reorganisation of the NHS since its inception has brought new customers that demand new approaches from our Sales Team,” explains Stuart.

“The shift in decision makers towards higher level HCPs, CCGs and procurement has demanded different skills and strategies from our Sales Force.”

An evolving and more discerning customer base sees Abbott Nutrition working to offer industry leading service wrapped around a value offering at a competitive price. “We are working to retain our competitive element by maintaining and enhancing the customer relationship towards partnership status, dependant on what the customer wants partnership to be,” says Stuart.

These methods are the means by which Abbott Nutrition will meet its aspirations for 2014, namely growing its market and margin share. “We want to continue to compete successfully in the market but we also want to grow our margins so we can invest in our future, and this involves making all individuals aware of the personal contribution they can make to improve the efficiency of the company,” Stuart notes.

Again, it comes back to the workforce, and their development remains a key priority for the company as the industry and its relationship with the public sector changes. “Today, sales personnel have to conduct higher-level discussions and be more sophisticated in their approach to the products and the customer, so we train them in these skills.”

“It is a more demanding role but it is also more rewarding,” adds Stuart, “and by preparing our people for change and encouraging them to see change as an opportunity, we can ensure that our 

Spotlight on... Lundbeck 

Lundbeck UK – the national arm of a Danish company – works to create and market products ease the lives of those with mental health and neurological diseases. Founded in 1972 with a staff of just four, the past 42 years has seen the company blossom into a 100-strong organisation that holds a firm position within the pharmaceutical market; an achievement bearing testament to Lundbeck’s ability to keep pace with industry evolution and adapt to the changing needs of the market and the customer.

Having spent the past few years refining the company mission, vision, and strategies, Lundbeck enters 2014 eager for implementation. With the recent launch of some new products – most latterly in collaboration with Otsuka – Lundbeck’s priority is to further establish the new products and drive their commercial success whilst delivering on the vision for those affected by mental health disorders.

That isn’t to say that company priorities are all externally, or commercially-directed – Head of HR and Development Helen Carberry is quick to stress that Lundbeck continues to prioritise “building the skills and knowledge within the company, and continue to make Lundbeck a great place to work”.

Lundbeck has weathered many changes in the pharma industry landscape, with Managing Director Steve Turley viewing one of the major changes in the past decade being the decrease in scale, influencing the ways Lundbeck does business.

“We have to change how we work with GPs in particular” explains Steve, “we are less transactional and have to utilise a more strategic approach to our work. This demands a different skill set, and we always aim to have a better understanding of, and consideration for our customer.”

While commercial success has always been at the heart of the business, strategies have evolved significantly over the past decade to deal with the changing market, with company working systems similarly changing and developing.

“When once the different parts of the company would work separately, we now have all key functions operating to one company strategy with everything geared towards the customer,” explains Steve. “The decision making customer has more power than they ever have done before, so we can’t afford to get it wrong!”

Helping customers achieve their goals is emerging as key, and Lundbeck now have two individuals working on joint-working projects with the NHS. “Joint working has now become critical,” explains Helen. “The role is evolving significantly as we enter a new era in pharma.”

 

Coffee break... with Rachel Wilson

by Admin 5. February 2014 16:41

The roasted aroma of a zillion blended coffee beans fills the air of West Bromwich as solid gold chat magnate John Pinching eases into his lab coat and slips on his latex gloves, for a hot drink and a fondant fancy, with biomedical scientist, Rachel Wilson

 

Labor Omnia Vincit – the Latin strapline on West Bromwich’s coat of arms – simply means ‘Work Conquers All’. As I inhale the Midland’s air on a crisp winter’s morning, I feel satisfied that this robust slogan could not be more appropriate, given the nature of my latest subject’s work. Uplifted, I enter Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital, and greet the receptionist with my new Latin mantra. It is returned with a lingering stare of utter bafflement. No matter, it was time for coffee.

Tell me, Rachel, when did you first get an inkling that your future lay in something scientific or public health related?

I have always been interested in science and can remember when I was a child, collecting the Wallace and Gromit science magazines, and finding the information fascinating! I think my real passion for the lab environment came while I was hanging out in the labs at uni.

Where did you go to uni?

I studied at The University of Wolverhampton where I initially completed an HND in Biochemistry; which I enjoyed much more than expected. At this time, I completed a laboratory-based project, during which I looked into analogues of aspirin and their effects on colon cancer. This led to an Honours Degree in Medicinal Biochemistry, enabling me to gain experience in further biochemistry modules, advanced pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences.

What was your first job after graduating?

After completing my degree it was then time to go out into the big wide world and, get a ‘proper job!’, as my mum would say. After just a few weeks of looking, I was extremely lucky and landed myself a fabulous position as a sales representative for BD (Becton Dickinson), in their biosciences department. I was excited, but nervous! During my time in sales, I gained lots of invaluable experience about the industry and a good insight into the field of medical science.

Was immunology something that particularly interested you?

Immunology wasn’t covered much in my degree, so I went back to uni and completed an immunology module. Once working within immunology you soon realise that it features in many, if not all, of the biomedical sciences. If you take HIV for example, everyone thinks of it as a microbiology topic; however, it affects key cells of the immune system, which we can then test for.

When did you nail your current position?

In 2009 I left my sales job to work as a medical laboratory assistant within the immunology department at Sandwell and West Birmingham hospitals NHS Trust. I realised then that working in a lab was definitely for me, as I enjoyed the practical side of science. After a year I applied for a Trainee Biomedical Science position within immunology, and got the job. Since then I have been training in the lab as well as attending university to complete top-up modules once a week. In October I completed my portfolio and had it verified. This involved a visit to the lab from an external assessor who takes a look at your portfolio, and is given an in-depth tour of the lab by the trainee (in this case, me) as part of the assessment. It was scary to think that my whole career depended on this one day, but I’m pleased to say I passed with flying colours and am now a state registered Biomedical Scientist.

What does your job involve on a daily basis?

An entry Biomedical Scientist has many roles, including running routine assays, entering patient results and authorising them, screening slides, which are obtained from the indirect immunofluorescence assay under a microscope, and carrying out audit work to help improve our services. The other routine work I carry out includes allergy, coeliac disease, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus testing. Ultimately, we are here to provide clinicians with patient results to help aid them with their clinician decisions.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

Exploring the reasons for routine testing and looking at the specific immunological conditions associated with it. Immunology is fascinating and new developments are discovered every day.

What milestones are you and your colleagues particularly proud of?

My colleagues and I are proud that we passed our last CPA (Clinical Pathology Accreditation) - a formal lab inspection, essentially - with flying colours. I think this reflects how hard we all work within our immunology department and the high standard we have set.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working in pathology?kind of help and support to the community.

Is it important that there is greater public awareness of what you guys are up to?

Definitely, sometimes I feel we are forgotten. How many patients do you think know where and how their blood samples are tested? I bet not many! I think we really need to increase public awareness about what we do. I think most people know about what doctors and nurses do, but what about biomedical scientists?

Do you think you have to have a certain type of character to work in a laboratory environment?

I always assumed that people who work in a laboratory environment would be ‘mad scientists’, with crazy hair and bad dress sense! Since working within the blood science group, however, I have met some amazing characters and great friends. I think the main key skill is to be able to work within a team and focus on patient care and providing results in a timely fashion.

Does working within such a respected institution inspire you?

I am proud to work for the NHS and provide a vital service. The NHS features in all of our lives at some point and is accessible to everyone because it is part of the public sector. Everybody who works within the NHS plays a part in improving the quality of life for patients.

Do you get a kick out of wearing a lab coat?

At first, I did feel slightly important wearing a lab coat, because when I was younger the only people I had seen wearing them were doctors. Eventually, however, you realise that they provide a protective barrier between you and potentially harmful substances, while helping with infection control. They also help to hide bad clothing choices on a Monday morning!

What exciting things are your team up to at the moment?

We are currently advertising our ImmunoCAP ISAC assay, which is basically an allergy testing method. Sometimes trying to find the original cause for allergic reactions is like looking for a needle in a haystack. This is especially true when symptoms and case history are inconsistent; the patient is multi-sensitized or shows unsatisfactory response to the treatment. This is where ISAC testing can be very useful, as the method involves a highly advanced tool for revealing the patient’s IgE antibody profile. It is the result of innovative biochip technology and cutting-edge research in molecular allergology. We are starting to offer this service to the public, but we are still working to develop it further.

What is your opinion on the ongoing NHS reforms and have they impacted on your job?

The NHS is constantly changing around us, however, I have not had any direct implications in my current job. I can’t say how the future will pan out, but I’m sure new changes that affect my job directly, will be introduced soon.

How do you kick back and get away from it all?

When I’m not at work I am busy running a Cub Scout section. I have been involved in the Scouting movement since the age of 10 and have had some fabulous opportunities - when I was just 16 years old, I was selected to attend the World Scout Jamboree, held in Thailand, where I got to explore the country and meet fellow scouts from all over the world. I also completed my Queen Scout Award, which is the highest youth award in the Scouting movement. It involved a range of tasks, from a four-day hike in the Dark Peaks to spending time in Kenya carrying out a community project. Once completed, I attended the Queen Scout parade held at Windsor Castle, where I got to meet Bear Grylls and the Duchess of Cambridge.

What challenges lie ahead for Rachel Wilson?

In the next year I have one major challenge - I am currently 27 weeks pregnant and will have my first child in April. I then have to switch from being a Biomedical Scientist to becoming a mother. Once I return to work I would like to start my specialist portfolio within immunology. This will provide me with in-depth knowledge of the testing we perform and I can also explore related immunological conditions.

Toodle-oo, Rachel!

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Features

Number’s up

by Admin 5. February 2014 16:26

When it comes to serving health marketers, data is becoming a big player - with only mild side effects.

A recent Pew Internet study indicated that 59% of adult web users have searched for health information online. Over a third have turned to the Internet in an attempt to diagnosis a condition by searching for symptoms, and physicians report that more consumers than ever are arriving at their offi ces informed about their conditions. Google also reports that pregnancy, diabetes and fl u were among the most frequently searched symptoms in 2013.

The increase in popularity of health-related websites could be a windfall for marketers of health-related consumer products - even amid unique challenges, such as regulations and consumer sensitivity. While outright bans on direct-to-consumer advertising for pharmaceuticals exist worldwide (with the exception of New Zealand and the United States), the data that sites collect is very valuable to pharma brands. Additionally, selling over-the-counter medication, diff erentiating food products based on nutrition, and promoting the latest dieting trends are still big advertising business.

Data-driven marketing has the potential for great success in these arenas, but require careful execution in a sensitive privacy and regulatory space.

No Shortage of Data

It’s worth noting that sensitivity does not seem to curb collection. The most popular sites across the web deploy an average of 97 distinct online marketing technologies, which range from social sharing tools to scripts that segment user behaviour.

Healthcare sites are much more active on average, deploying over 140 per domain during the month of December. The top 10 deployed 251 technologies each - which indicates a very aggressive strategy toward supporting original health analysis and segmenting users for later ad matching. This is not without risk for these sites - each tool can slow the speed at which the page loads and the longer a page takes, the less likely the user will stay to browse.

The most important side-effect to address for health sites, however, is data governance. Scripts placed on pages frequently bring other scripts along with them, meaning data about users on a particular site may be shared with third and fourth parties without the site’s knowledge or compensation. This is more than just a business risk, as regulatory bodies all over the world weigh in with guidelines for disclosing the collection of user data. It’s especially important to follow disclosure protocols for health-related data, as users routinely show greater sensitivity for this type of activity than shopping, social or general search habits.

Over-the-counter Advertising

For non-prescription medicines and other general health services, marketers can approach this data in a straight-forward way. By tracking users who read about medications or symptoms from those sites to other places on the web, advertisers can deliver messages about their products to users they know are interested.

Consider the tracking technologies deployed on the sites for leading over-the-counter pain relievers. There are no actual advertisements on these sites themselves, so tools included here are for audience analytics, social sharing and segmenting users for later ad delivery.

Online marketing strategies vary among the top brands. Aleve’s digital marketing team is deploying on five tech tools – though all of these are designed to help target advertisements or measure the effectiveness of existing advertisements.

Tylenol’s site includes 17 marketing technologies, but these include social sharing tools from Facebook and Twitter, as well as site measurement technology from Google Analytics. It’s an interesting contrast with the numbers found for sites in the health category (illustrated in the table above) – there is obviously only a small relative overlap between the tools deployed on the brand sites and the data attribution tools used by sites where they may wish to engage users. These brands may be unaware of the potential untapped audience or, perhaps, have identified other more successful avenues for reaching their intended audience. It’s also possible that the targeted sites are engaging with more partners than necessary, reaching out for audience data that isn’t there. In practice, the reasons for the wide difference are probably comprised of all of these factors.

Data, Indirectly

One advantage of data-driven marketing is that it is not limited to particular interpretations. If a car manufacturer has reason to believe, for example, that a particular model is popular among

golfers then data about users who browse for golf equipment can be used to market cars. Similarly, there are opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to use consumer-level data without violating rules that prohibit direct-to-consumer communication. Data about web users can inform campaigns toward physicians in similar ways as direct campaigns. For example, the regional interest for the search term “flu symptoms” in the United Kingdom shows a few dense areas of interest. Makers of prescription drugs related to influenza, and common complications of the virus, could focus eff orts to deliver samples and information on physicians in Bournemouth and Belfast, where the user interest is at its peak.

In this way, user data can inform campaigns without marketing directly to those users – and geography is just one dimension. Analysis of activity around certain conditions could show trends that include times of the year, gender and age concentrations, or related symptoms or conditions – allowing marketers to focus on physicians at particular times or with particular specialties.

Technological forecasts indicate that practice of data collection and information sharing will continue to grow in 2014. As wearable tech and smart appliances further the concept of a “quantified life”, healthcare and pharmaceutical marketers have new opportunities to understand their audience in a unique and robust way. Working with consumer privacy concerns and under specific regulations, healthcare advertising can fully benefit from a new world of data-driven marketing science.

 

Andy Kahl has worked in the online technology industry for over 10 years and works as Director of Data Analysis at Evidon.

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Features

Number’s up

by Admin 5. February 2014 16:26

When it comes to serving health marketers, data is becoming a big player - with only mild side effects.

A recent Pew Internet study indicated that 59% of adult web users have searched for health information online. Over a third have turned to the Internet in an attempt to diagnosis a condition by searching for symptoms, and physicians report that more consumers than ever are arriving at their offi ces informed about their conditions. Google also reports that pregnancy, diabetes and fl u were among the most frequently searched symptoms in 2013.

The increase in popularity of health-related websites could be a windfall for marketers of health-related consumer products - even amid unique challenges, such as regulations and consumer sensitivity. While outright bans on direct-to-consumer advertising for pharmaceuticals exist worldwide (with the exception of New Zealand and the United States), the data that sites collect is very valuable to pharma brands. Additionally, selling over-the-counter medication, diff erentiating food products based on nutrition, and promoting the latest dieting trends are still big advertising business.

Data-driven marketing has the potential for great success in these arenas, but require careful execution in a sensitive privacy and regulatory space.

No Shortage of Data

It’s worth noting that sensitivity does not seem to curb collection. The most popular sites across the web deploy an average of 97 distinct online marketing technologies, which range from social sharing tools to scripts that segment user behaviour.

Healthcare sites are much more active on average, deploying over 140 per domain during the month of December. The top 10 deployed 251 technologies each - which indicates a very aggressive strategy toward supporting original health analysis and segmenting users for later ad matching. This is not without risk for these sites - each tool can slow the speed at which the page loads and the longer a page takes, the less likely the user will stay to browse.

The most important side-effect to address for health sites, however, is data governance. Scripts placed on pages frequently bring other scripts along with them, meaning data about users on a particular site may be shared with third and fourth parties without the site’s knowledge or compensation. This is more than just a business risk, as regulatory bodies all over the world weigh in with guidelines for disclosing the collection of user data. It’s especially important to follow disclosure protocols for health-related data, as users routinely show greater sensitivity for this type of activity than shopping, social or general search habits.

Over-the-counter Advertising

For non-prescription medicines and other general health services, marketers can approach this data in a straight-forward way. By tracking users who read about medications or symptoms from those sites to other places on the web, advertisers can deliver messages about their products to users they know are interested.

Consider the tracking technologies deployed on the sites for leading over-the-counter pain relievers. There are no actual advertisements on these sites themselves, so tools included here are for audience analytics, social sharing and segmenting users for later ad delivery.

Online marketing strategies vary among the top brands. Aleve’s digital marketing team is deploying on five tech tools – though all of these are designed to help target advertisements or measure the effectiveness of existing advertisements.

Tylenol’s site includes 17 marketing technologies, but these include social sharing tools from Facebook and Twitter, as well as site measurement technology from Google Analytics. It’s an interesting contrast with the numbers found for sites in the health category (illustrated in the table above) – there is obviously only a small relative overlap between the tools deployed on the brand sites and the data attribution tools used by sites where they may wish to engage users. These brands may be unaware of the potential untapped audience or, perhaps, have identified other more successful avenues for reaching their intended audience. It’s also possible that the targeted sites are engaging with more partners than necessary, reaching out for audience data that isn’t there. In practice, the reasons for the wide difference are probably comprised of all of these factors.

Data, Indirectly

One advantage of data-driven marketing is that it is not limited to particular interpretations. If a car manufacturer has reason to believe, for example, that a particular model is popular among

golfers then data about users who browse for golf equipment can be used to market cars. Similarly, there are opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to use consumer-level data without violating rules that prohibit direct-to-consumer communication. Data about web users can inform campaigns toward physicians in similar ways as direct campaigns. For example, the regional interest for the search term “flu symptoms” in the United Kingdom shows a few dense areas of interest. Makers of prescription drugs related to influenza, and common complications of the virus, could focus eff orts to deliver samples and information on physicians in Bournemouth and Belfast, where the user interest is at its peak.

In this way, user data can inform campaigns without marketing directly to those users – and geography is just one dimension. Analysis of activity around certain conditions could show trends that include times of the year, gender and age concentrations, or related symptoms or conditions – allowing marketers to focus on physicians at particular times or with particular specialties.

Technological forecasts indicate that practice of data collection and information sharing will continue to grow in 2014. As wearable tech and smart appliances further the concept of a “quantified life”, healthcare and pharmaceutical marketers have new opportunities to understand their audience in a unique and robust way. Working with consumer privacy concerns and under specific regulations, healthcare advertising can fully benefit from a new world of data-driven marketing science.

 

Andy Kahl has worked in the online technology industry for over 10 years and works as Director of Data Analysis at Evidon.

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Features

Don’t believe the hype: Myths in critical condition

by Admin 5. February 2014 15:50

The word on the street is one of A&E services at breaking point – are things really as bad as the papers say?

Sarah Rees examines the reality of the ‘emergency room emergency’.

 

Predictions regarding how dreadfully dreadful the winter will be for the NHS have developed into full-scale Armageddon - dampening any positive thinking and making your own (unrealistic) new year’s resolutions appear quite reliable.

The doom-predictors’ most prized object is the emergency services, with papers and news reports morbidly jubilant in their coverage of the general ‘crisis’ in A&E – nightmarish statistics and heart-tugging anecdotes of old ladies left on hospital trollies have been stalking the pages of the national press for some time.

Further ammunition is supplied daily via the NHS England’s ‘situation report’, allowing Joe Public to see exactly how bad things are in their local A&E every single day – a morbid advent calendar, if you will, that will last till March.

Read too many newspaper headlines and you may find yourself staying inside in a bid to avoid accidents (or emergencies) that could force you into the fiery hell that is (allegedly) A&E; but are things really as bad as they sound?

While even my sunny optimism falters when pitched against the evidence, I would suggest that there is a tendency to over-egg the pudding (the media? Over-exaggerating? Surely not). This past month I have, on more than one occasion, matched hellish headlines with good intention stories, and been pleasantly surprised when, upon peeling back the layers of scaremongering found, not stale crumbs, but complete and wholesome good news canapés.

What morsels of hope are these? I hear you ask eagerly. Before the good news, let’s digest the bad. What exactly are the problems that have stretched A&E thinner than a French crepé?

Firstly, the increasing pressure of an ageing population can certainly take some of the credit for the bleak position of the NHS. Modern medicines and an improvement in lifestyle is raising life expectancy, but these oldies eventually begin to decline, with their complicated health issues all too often resulting in more admissions into A&E departments.

There is also that charming, substantial problem of funding. Thanks to the financial crisis, there isn’t much money in the NHS coffers anymore, leaving all departments and personnel trying to handle an increase in pressure with a decrease in support. More people + less money = bad news.

A major thorn in the side of A&E departments is the lack of alternative options. Walk-in centres are closing with alarming speed, GPs shut up shop 5pm on Friday, and even as NHS Direct closes, the new boy NHS 111 has proved somewhat inefficient. Where else can a worried patient head to, when crisis strikes?

As if this wasn’t enough, A&E departments are understaffed and overworked, while trainee doctors choose not to study for what is seen as a very stressful job - and who can blame them?

Finally, and perhaps the most unappreciated cause of all, is the problem of attitude among service users.

In my mind, the emergency department is a pretty serious place to be, only to be ventured into in ‘A Real Emergency’, a place that looms in my mind as Mordor must in the brain of Frodo.

I am, according to statistics, something of an exception. Most people see A&E as the logical place to roll after a heavy night out, or the quickest way to see a doctor when the surgery’s phone line just keeps on ringing. You’d think it was fairly obvious that broken fingernails and ill kittens did not count as emergencies, and yet there are an alarming number of people who have strolled into A&E with just those issues. An estimated 30-40% of all A&E attendances are unnecessary, and people have been known to arrive with concerns about turning orange...only to remember they got a fake tan – I mean, please.

When all of these sprains of gloom are totalled up, it’s easy to see why A&E fracture is the logical prediction. What is all too often overlooked (and under reported) are the projects/initiatives/schemes that are in place to target all of these ills, and the people doing their merry best to improve the prognosis the of emergency departments countrywide.

Managing elderly people’s conditions have become a hot topic, with so many areas now offering care in the community to prevent older people – and other high-risk patients – having to head to A&E in the first place.

Alternative options are also on the rise, with widespread talk of GP surgeries extending their services to the weekend and improvements being made to NHS 111. The public are also being educated on the many services the local pharmacist can offer and encouraged to consider visiting a pharmacy when in need of advice or treatments for certain illnesses.

Not enough doctors in A&E? More training posts for juniors are being created, while those with the power are changing regulations to make choosing the emergency medicine option an easier route.

There is also, thank goodness, a big push to stop patients thinking A&E is an appropriate place to go with a broken nail in the form of adverts, posters and even funky videos on You Tube.

While the government (despite the best intentions) can’t magic more money in the coffers, they are doing what they can, with interventions, such as ‘reclassifying’ emergency services into serious and non-serious emergencies, to maximise the available resources.

Despite all this good news, the public perception of A&E departments continues to be gloomy and reports continue to pepper us with alarming statistics. Why?

Think of the NHS as a huge lumbering cruise liner that has spotted an ice berg in the water. Alarms are raised and the wheel is spun, but the weighty beast takes a maddeningly long time to turn. Changes take time, but they will come as best they can in this tricky climate.

In the meantime, we can all do our bit by changing attitudes and expectations, accepting the harsh truths, and allowing the golden ideal of a perfect health service to mellow into a more satisfactory and obtainable reality.

Sarah Rees writes for PF Discovery, an online resource that offers news and information on the reformed NHS. She is editor for digital title Access NHS, a free publication that covers news, analysis and features on the changing health service. Visit pfdiscovery.com for more details.

 

Pf Discovery

The work is never done for us Pf Discovery caretakers, and this month has seen much moving and shaking on the PfD website as we beaver like house elves to keep everything up-to-date for our discerning subscribers.

There was big excitement upon the upload of Academic Health and Science Networks (AHSN), and these 15 innovation-fuelling groups now have their own tab and member information, including contact details and relevant documents, available at the click of a mouse.

We’ve also been hard at work on sourcing information on Clinical Senates (CS) and Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs) – two groups with overlapping roles that both serve, broadly speaking, to offer a platform for sharing ideas and bouncing around new strategies for coping with local healthcare issues.

From our research, it seems that most CS and SCNs are gradually getting themselves sorted but are at varied stages of progression, which our data reflects. We hope to have more details on both CS and SCNs up on PfD in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled.

We have been keeping a close watch on Commissioning Support Units (CSUs), increasing our database to include more key members of these groups, and listening to the talk of potential partnerships. While there are currently 27 CSUs, some may look to merge to ensure they get authorised as the lead provider of health care support. Two partnerships are in the discussion phase – Central Midlands and Staffordshire and Lancashire CSUs are one, while the other potential gang is Kent and Medway, North West London and South London CSUs.

So that’s the word on the street this month at PfD headquarters.

 

Visit pfdiscovery.com for more details.

image from telegraph.co.uk

Don’t believe the hype: Myths in critical condition

by Admin 5. February 2014 15:28

The word on the street is one of A&E services at breaking point – are things really as bad as the papers say?

Sarah Rees examines the reality of the ‘emergency room emergency’.

 

Predictions regarding how dreadfully dreadful the winter will be for the NHS have developed into full-scale Armageddon - dampening any positive thinking and making your own (unrealistic) new year’s resolutions appear quite reliable.

The doom-predictors’ most prized object is the emergency services, with papers and news reports morbidly jubilant in their coverage of the general ‘crisis’ in A&E – nightmarish statistics and heart-tugging anecdotes of old ladies left on hospital trollies have been stalking the pages of the national press for some time.

Further ammunition is supplied daily via the NHS England’s ‘situation report’, allowing Joe Public to see exactly how bad things are in their local A&E every single day – a morbid advent calendar, if you will, that will last till March.

Read too many newspaper headlines and you may find yourself staying inside in a bid to avoid accidents (or emergencies) that could force you into the fiery hell that is (allegedly) A&E; but are things really as bad as they sound?

While even my sunny optimism falters when pitched against the evidence, I would suggest that there is a tendency to over-egg the pudding (the media? Over-exaggerating? Surely not). This past month I have, on more than one occasion, matched hellish headlines with good intention stories, and been pleasantly surprised when, upon peeling back the layers of scaremongering found, not stale crumbs, but complete and wholesome good news canapés.

What morsels of hope are these? I hear you ask eagerly. Before the good news, let’s digest the bad. What exactly are the problems that have stretched A&E thinner than a French crepé?

Firstly, the increasing pressure of an ageing population can certainly take some of the credit for the bleak position of the NHS. Modern medicines and an improvement in lifestyle is raising life expectancy, but these oldies eventually begin to decline, with their complicated health issues all too often resulting in more admissions into A&E departments.

There is also that charming, substantial problem of funding. Thanks to the financial crisis, there isn’t much money in the NHS coffers anymore, leaving all departments and personnel trying to handle an increase in pressure with a decrease in support. More people + less money = bad news.

A major thorn in the side of A&E departments is the lack of alternative options. Walk-in centres are closing with alarming speed, GPs shut up shop 5pm on Friday, and even as NHS Direct closes, the new boy NHS 111 has proved somewhat inefficient. Where else can a worried patient head to, when crisis strikes?

As if this wasn’t enough, A&E departments are understaffed and overworked, while trainee doctors choose not to study for what is seen as a very stressful job - and who can blame them?

Finally, and perhaps the most unappreciated cause of all, is the problem of attitude among service users.

In my mind, the emergency department is a pretty serious place to be, only to be ventured into in ‘A Real Emergency’, a place that looms in my mind as Mordor must in the brain of Frodo.

I am, according to statistics, something of an exception. Most people see A&E as the logical place to roll after a heavy night out, or the quickest way to see a doctor when the surgery’s phone line just keeps on ringing. You’d think it was fairly obvious that broken fingernails and ill kittens did not count as emergencies, and yet there are an alarming number of people who have strolled into A&E with just those issues. An estimated 30-40% of all A&E attendances are unnecessary, and people have been known to arrive with concerns about turning orange...only to remember they got a fake tan – I mean, please.

When all of these sprains of gloom are totalled up, it’s easy to see why A&E fracture is the logical prediction. What is all too often overlooked (and under reported) are the projects/initiatives/schemes that are in place to target all of these ills, and the people doing their merry best to improve the prognosis the of emergency departments countrywide.

Managing elderly people’s conditions have become a hot topic, with so many areas now offering care in the community to prevent older people – and other high-risk patients – having to head to A&E in the first place.

Alternative options are also on the rise, with widespread talk of GP surgeries extending their services to the weekend and improvements being made to NHS 111. The public are also being educated on the many services the local pharmacist can offer and encouraged to consider visiting a pharmacy when in need of advice or treatments for certain illnesses.

Not enough doctors in A&E? More training posts for juniors are being created, while those with the power are changing regulations to make choosing the emergency medicine option an easier route.

There is also, thank goodness, a big push to stop patients thinking A&E is an appropriate place to go with a broken nail in the form of adverts, posters and even funky videos on You Tube.

While the government (despite the best intentions) can’t magic more money in the coffers, they are doing what they can, with interventions, such as ‘reclassifying’ emergency services into serious and non-serious emergencies, to maximise the available resources.

Despite all this good news, the public perception of A&E departments continues to be gloomy and reports continue to pepper us with alarming statistics. Why?

Think of the NHS as a huge lumbering cruise liner that has spotted an ice berg in the water. Alarms are raised and the wheel is spun, but the weighty beast takes a maddeningly long time to turn. Changes take time, but they will come as best they can in this tricky climate.

In the meantime, we can all do our bit by changing attitudes and expectations, accepting the harsh truths, and allowing the golden ideal of a perfect health service to mellow into a more satisfactory and obtainable reality.

Sarah Rees writes for PF Discovery, an online resource that offers news and information on the reformed NHS. She is editor for digital title Access NHS, a free publication that covers news, analysis and features on the changing health service. Visit pfdiscovery.com for more details.

 

Pf Discovery

The work is never done for us Pf Discovery caretakers, and this month has seen much moving and shaking on the PfD website as we beaver like house elves to keep everything up-to-date for our discerning subscribers.

There was big excitement upon the upload of Academic Health and Science Networks (AHSN), and these 15 innovation-fuelling groups now have their own tab and member information, including contact details and relevant documents, available at the click of a mouse.

We’ve also been hard at work on sourcing information on Clinical Senates (CS) and Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs) – two groups with overlapping roles that both serve, broadly speaking, to offer a platform for sharing ideas and bouncing around new strategies for coping with local healthcare issues.

From our research, it seems that most CS and SCNs are gradually getting themselves sorted but are at varied stages of progression, which our data reflects. We hope to have more details on both CS and SCNs up on PfD in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled.

We have been keeping a close watch on Commissioning Support Units (CSUs), increasing our database to include more key members of these groups, and listening to the talk of potential partnerships. While there are currently 27 CSUs, some may look to merge to ensure they get authorised as the lead provider of health care support. Two partnerships are in the discussion phase – Central Midlands and Staffordshire and Lancashire CSUs are one, while the other potential gang is Kent and Medway, North West London and South London CSUs.

So that’s the word on the street this month at PfD headquarters.

Visit pfdiscovery.com for more details.

 

image from telegraph.co.uk

Tags: , , , , ,

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