MSD has teamed up with the online patient community site ‘PatientsLikeMe’ to gauge the impact of psoriasis on patients, whilst also looking to improve outcomes.
Under the agreement, PatientsLikeMe will work directly with Merck’s clinical researchers and epidemiologists to analyse psoriasis patient-reported data.
The site has an active community of psoriasis patients, where nearly 2,000 people share data and stories to reveal what it’s like to have the disease and what they do to treat it. Health profiles, forum postings and journal entries highlight their experiences.
While patients interact to help improve their outcomes, the data they provide helps researchers learn how these diseases act in the real world and accelerate the discovery of new, more effective treatments.
Psoriasis is a non-contagious, chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin and is associated with other serious health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and depression.
Many big pharma firms have already signed up to use the site, including Novartis and UCB. The Swiss company uses PatientsLikeMe as an online forum for post-transplant patients, whilst UCB uses it for bettering outcomes for people with epilepsy.
Both firms develop drugs for the disease and conditions they are discussing on PatientsLikeMe, and it is becoming both a new marketing tool for big pharma firms, and a unique way of harnessing real world data.
MSD owns the rights to psoriatic arthritis drug Simponi in Europe, Russia and Turkey and shares 50-50 rights with Janssen in the US.
The firm is also currently developing MK-3222, an anti-interleukin-23 monoclonal antibody candidate, for the treatment of psoriasis. The drug begun Phase III trials this year and is seen as a future blockbuster.
It is for this drug that MSD will be hoping to utilise the site for, and use the real world data coming from the online forums to help it further develop the treatment, whilst also allowing its name to be associated with a psoriasis drug.
This type of website interface can develop into a goldmine for pharma firms, as it affords them an in-depth look into the patient population of a treatment, something it cannot easily attain anywhere else.
Dr Sachin Jain, chief medical information and innovation officer at Merck, said: “Effective use of health information provides the path forward to patient-centered care and personalised medicine.
“Our collaboration with PatientsLikeMe is an important part of Merck’s strategy to establish and apply innovative solutions that improve disease management and enhance the patient experience,” Jain added.
'Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they're operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.
First, buyers are no longer paying much attention. Several studies have confirmed that in the "buyer's decision journey," traditional marketing communications just aren't relevant. Buyers are checking out product and service information in their own way, often through the Internet, and often from sources outside the firm such as word-of-mouth or customer reviews.
Second, CEOs have lost all patience. In a devastating 2011 study of 600 CEOs and decision makers by the London-based Fournaise Marketing Group, 73% of them said that CMOs lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient business growth, 72% are tired of being asked for money without explaining how it will generate increased business, and 77% have had it with all the talk about brand equity that can't be linked to actual firm equity or any other recognized financial metric.
Third, in today's increasingly social media-infused environment, traditional marketing and sales not only doesn't work so well, it doesn't make sense. Think about it: an organization hires people — employees, agencies, consultants, partners — who don't come from the buyer's world and whose interests aren't necessarily aligned with his, and expects them to persuade the buyer to spend his hard-earned money on something. Huh? When you try to extend traditional marketing logic into the world of social media, it simply doesn't work. Just ask Facebook, which finds itself mired in an ongoing debate about whether marketing on Facebook is effective.
In fact, this last is a bit of a red herring, because traditional marketing isn't really working anywhere.'
Instead, Bill Lee suggests:
* Find your customer influencers
* Help them build social capital
* Get your customer advocates involved in the solution you provide
'If patient engagement were a drug, it would be the blockbuster drug of the century and malpractice not to use it.
Let’s first take a look at the evidence, and then see where we can go from here.
First, the evidence for blockbuster drugs. In Dr. Eric Topol’s book “The Creative Destruction of Medicine,” he takes a deep look at the evidence for statins, possibly the biggest group of blockbuster drugs the last 20 years. Statins are a requirement of Meaningful Use Stage 1 clinical quality measures, as well as key measures for the CMS hospital quality measures used by many organizations, internal and external to the hospital, to grade the quality of care at a hospital. Prescribing statins, in many instances, is no longer optional. Topol states that “of every 100 patients taking Lipitor to prevent a heart attack one patient was helped, 99 were not.” These drugs cost $4 per day per patient and $1500 per year. While they are great at lowering cholesterol, it remains unclear that they do much to prevent heart attacks.
Now let’s take a look at a 2009 Kaiser study of coordinated cardiac care. Compared to those not enrolled in the study, coordinated care “patients have an 88 percent reduced risk of dying of a cardiac-related cause when enrolled within 90 days of a heart attack, compared to those not in the program.” And, “clinical care teams reduced overall mortality by 76 percent and cardiac mortality by 73 percent.”
“Recognizing the importance of early treatment and intervention, every patient who presented with CAD was enrolled in the program for both short- and long-term care.
“Physicians, nurses and pharmacists, using proven CAD risk-reduction strategies, work collaboratively with CAD patients to coordinate care. Activities such as lifestyle modification, medication management, patient education, laboratory results monitoring, and management of adverse events are all coordinated across a multifunctional team.”
Can you imagine what the headlines would be if a new cardiac drug showed this kind of effectiveness?'
Ever since the ipad first appeared on the market, it has enchanted pharma. In particular, the sales force has embraced ipad as a means to engage the customers in sales calls. As an ex pharma rep and sales manager my first experience of detailing was a painful experience. The laptop took a good 5 minutes to start, battery life meant it would just about last 2 calls and the only value add to the interaction was a few KOL videos. Is an ipad sales aid just about the user experience or should it be much more?
Don’t get me wrong creating the right impression with the customer is critical for engagement, and in that respect the ipad can deliver a wonderful end product. Rather than carrying a few clinical papers a rep can carry a complete library and KOL opinion videos on each paper. As a business tool for a representative, the ipad really provides value to pharma.
The real difference detailing electronically lies with data and how it can be used to improve communication in all channels. Firstly incorporating data from CRM can allow customisation of the sales aid to give a personalised “story” that can really engage the customer. How a healthcare professional interacts with the sales aid can help profile their interests, behaviours, drivers, influence and influencers. Capturing this information can help reform your pharmaceutical marketing. Use of behaviour profiling offers pharma an opportunity to personalise communication in any channel. At the heart of behavioural profiling and multichannel marketing is CRM (now this should include a social element).
Through the use feedback loops from all communication channels customer profiling can be refined to improve the effectiveness of personalised messaging. The traditional barrier to personalised messaging is a lack of investment in systems and processes to enable effective message delivery. Pharma on the whole tends to use traditional models in relation to messaging which is normally developed using a combination of market research of target groups/segments, lists and “off the shelf” data, ending up with a series of key messages that if repeated 5 times will change that group’s behaviour. With the evolution of data management, your company can gain true personalised understanding of your customer rather than relying on a “one size fits” all approach to marketing. With the right delivery systems/channels personalised communication that can really engage and change customer behaviours.
Any pharmaceutical marketer needs to ask the question, how would you react if a sales person tried to sell you something while completely ignoring your questions and what you said? Loss of engagement reduces the likelihood of buying. If it is unacceptable for you, why should it be acceptable for your customers?
Such clarity may come from either the long-awaited FDA guidance or from self-regulating policies developed within the industry, according to “Pharmaceutical Digital Marketing and Social Media: Managing Growth, Mitigating ...
‘While paradoxically, the consumer actively engages much less with [a] brand when they begin to rely upon an application for a particular service[...] we need to learn to see this as a marketing positive. They may clock off from the often tiresome active engagements via our website, but don’t mistake this cold shift in engagement for a drop in loyalty.’
The title of the Michael Bayler article from which this post is derived is arresting, but the argument it articulates is less compelling, and the conclusion is wide of the mark from my point of view.
Why sound this apologia for the collapse of the precepts of marketing?
Why look for ‘marketing positives’ in social environments that are innately hostile to the concepts of ‘marketing’ as they developed in offline contexts?
Why not accept that the social web is a postmarketing environment rather than repeatedly trying to reformulate maxims that are antithetical to the expectations and etiquettes of social in every way imaginable?
Why enter social environments in such a deterministic manner, and one which would appear designed to make companies unpopular?
What fideism supports the leap of faith underpinning the expectation that ‘loyalty’ to a brand (the etiology of which is never adequately defined) should be eroded in settings where attempts to influence directly have corrosive effects?
The reason that I found the title interesting in the first place, however, is that it conjures images of the tightrope that healthcare will need to tread in the future: informed by Big Data, but facilitated by networks that may become more focused as ties strengthen, relationships develop, and new matrices of trust, influence and authority emerge.
If you do not sit in the middle of these matrices, you will always remain on their margins, struggling to gain purchase, and losing your grip.
The social web is paradox: burgeoning volumetrically, yet contracting in terms of engagement opportunities for new entrants as communities coalesce.
The success of devices like the iPhone and iPad in healthcare has become so pronounced that the Department of Health And Human Services has begun to single-out the use mobile devices as part of the meaningful use requirements for electronic health records (EHR) systems. In addition to identifying mobile device use, the agency has also taken steps towards explicitly regulating mobile device security needs in the healthcare industry.
This week, the federal agency released the official set of stage two meaningful use requirements, which will go into effect in 2014. A large portion of the stage two requirements focus on mandating more frequent use of EHRs and electronic health information exchange systems. For example, Doctors will be expected use digital systems to order lab work and diagnostic imaging for at least 30% of their patients.
Meaningful use rules for stage two come in two different documents, the CMS and ONC rules. Both documents include frequent
references to smartphones, tablets, and mobile apps (the language is by and large generic and doesn’t specify mobile platforms like iOS and Android by name).
Some of the rules impact data security when stored on or accessed from a mobile device:
'Requiring health-care providers to assess whether they need to encrypt protected health information data while at rest, in reaction to multiple breaches of PHI from mobile devices.
The general policy we express in this certification criterion requires EHR technology designed to locally store electronic health information on end-user devices to encrypt such information after use of EHR technology on those devices stops
Encryption is required for mobile devices, and EHRs must be able to create an audit log of such encryptions if the system allows local storage of data on the devices.'
Other rules stipulate that some of the required use of digital systems can be met using mobile devices:
'Requiring providers to use computerized physician order entry – which specifically can include a mobile device — for 60 percent of patients and 30 percent of laboratory and radiology orders.
The provider’s use of computer assistance to directly enter medical orders… from a computer or mobile device.'
Still others describe how mobile technologies can be used for engaging patients and providing access to their records (stage two requires hospitals and practices to offer 5% of patients online access to their health data):
'[S]ecure email, a secure portal, even some type of mobile application could all be examples for secure messaging methods that could potentially meet this certification criterion.
Vendors may develop mobile patient-engagement apps using technology that meets basic requirements for EHR certification, including secure email, portals and mobile applications using a variety of transport standards.'
The frequency of the references and their specificity clearly highlights the increasing role that the iPhone, iPad, and other mobile technologies have in healthcare - on the part of doctors, nurses, and hospitals as well as on the part of consumers. A recent study notes that 40% of mobile apps being developed today are related to healthcare or general health and wellness topics.
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