Does your patient engagement strategy currently rely on the same archaic tactics that most organizations suffer from? It’s time to get connected, and meet your patients where they are – on their mobile phones. Statistics have proven 60%-70% of your patient population is primed to actively engage with you—we know this because we facilitate over 100,000 unique patient activations per day.
Marie Ennis-O'Conner explains how the potential of digital technology will never be realized if unless the stakeholders work alongside patients in co-designing
A new report by Accenture reveals that just two percent of patients at hospitals are using health apps provided for them. The research, which assessed mobile app use among the 100 largest U.S. hospitals, found that 66 percent of the hospitals have mobile apps for consumers and 38 percent of that subset have developed proprietary apps for their patients. However, a mere two percent of patients at those hospitals are using apps provided to them. This staggeringly low figure represents an alarming waste of resources in the healthcare industry.
Accenture found that “hospital apps are failing to engage patients by not aligning their functionality and user experience with what consumers expect and need.” For example, only 11 percent of the apps surveyed offer at least one of three functions most desired by patients: access to medical records; the ability to book, change and cancel appointments; and the ability to request prescription refills. Brian Kalis, managing director of the health practice at Accenture, recommends that hospitals “must adopt a more patient-centric approach when developing new mobile health apps, or when revamping existing mobile apps.”
The pharmaceutical industry, under fire this election season for rising drug prices, is ramping up a new advertising campaign designed to improve its reputation with lawmakers as it lobbies against any effort to rein in prescription costs.
The sector’s largest trade group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, says it intends to spend several million dollars this year, and 10% more than in 2015, on digital, radio and print ads that emphasize the industry’s role in developing new drugs and advancing medical science.
Many of the ads are running on social-media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter,because PhRMA wants to target federal and state lawmakers, policy analysts and other political “influencers,” said Robert Zirkelbach, senior vice president of communications at PhRMA, which represents nearly three dozen of the largest drugmakers, including Pfizer Inc. and Amgen Inc.
Websites like Facebook promise to deliver ads to specific audiences based on characteristics including their location, occupation and keyword search history.
The campaign is primarily directed at policy makers in Washington, but ads will also run in some select states that have yet to be determined, Mr. Zirkelbach said.
Marianne Kryhlmand, a brand manager from Lundbeck , will be presenting at ”The digital transformation in Pharma” conference, April 13-14 in Copenhagen. Prior to the conference she have been asked by the organizers to shed some light on our beliefs at Lundbeck regarding the digital transformation in the pharmaceutical industry.
The pharmaceutical world has been flocking to Twitter, just like the rest of the universe, often in an attempt to draw attention to new scientific discoveries aiding in the treatment of disease or to connect with others in their field.
However, Twitter’s popularity has not only benefited the legitimate side of the pharmaceutical industry. A study released in December, supported by both the Global Health Policy Institute and the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, found an empirical link between all Twitter content and content aimed at the illicit drug sales. A survey of two week’s worth of posts shared on Twitter, involving the analysis of more than two million tweets, turned up 45,000 tweets which encouraged drug abuse. The survey found that more than three-quarters of tweets both pertaining to the non-medical use of prescription medications and including a hyperlink to a sales affiliate related to the anti-anxiety drug Valium.
This week I had the immense pleasure of attending SMI’s Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Industry conference. As always I enjoyed the event, catching up with many of the #hcsmeu twitterati and hearing insights from the industry and patients.
The event started for me on Tuesday as I led a workshop looking at how pharma can successfully engage using social media (you can find my presentation here). With a small group we discussed some of the common issues that we still face in this space, for example internal barriers, lack of adequate process and poor understanding of this channel.
Most of these issues have been around for many years now and it does sadden me that they still need to be addressed in so many pharmacos. On the other hand it is great to be able to have a much richer and deeper set of case studies to use in the battle in bringing some of these barriers down. “We can’t because of regulations” clearly no longer cuts it – regulations have been clearly shown to not be a barrier. Another element that appears to still be an issue, and which saddens me greatly, is the view that social media does not need to be approached strategically. Whilst I am a huge advocate of pharma companies getting involved in social media I do not condone or recommend doing social media for the sake of it. There does need to be a clear strategy and plan – otherwise you are just taking pot shots in the dark – and frankly doing any form of business, marketing or communication without a strategy is just plain old bad business.
I was very happy however to see on Day 1 of the conference Stine Sorensen from Lundbeck discussing strategy, and not only its importance but the importance of having a regularly updated strategy (in this case she updates it every 6 months). I was also very happy to hear Stine mention that she now has the review & approval time for social media content down to 25minutes. I have had quite a few clients tell me that 24 hour approval times are unrealisitic so it is great to be able to counter this with the fact that quite a few companies now have process in place for near-to-live response. Not being able to respond very rapidly due to inappropriate review & approval process should no longer be a barrier (and mini self plug – I can help you work this out). In fact Stine supported everything I always say – there is no longer any room for excuses around not doing social media. Those days are gone and, as her slides so beautifully shows, excuses are useless!
Another great presentation was given by my friend Jackie Cuyvers, who recently left ZS to set up her own social listening company. Jackie is an extremely experienced social listener and she now specialises in doing global / local listening. Besides flagging the importance of asking the right, business questions, she talked us through some of the implications of social listening, in particular some of the linguistic and cultural elements that we tend not to think about. She mentioned how even in the same language there are big differences across countries and groups in use of terminology. In the UK for example “pants” means something quite different from “pants” in the US (underwear versus trousers) or the term “good crack” which means different things in the US and Ireland. She also made the point that just translating content directly often totally overlooks cultural nuances and local idiosyncrasies. In English for example we use the term “kick the bucket” but in Slovenia the translation of this term would be “whispering with crabs”. This has potentially huge implications on companies running social listening research, especially if they are dependend on pure technology or English language researchers. I also loved the fact that Jackie got an image of a dog into the conference – tres social!
Jackie’s summary of the 3 steps to social listening
One emphasis that came through throughout the conference though was the importance of patients and the incredible role they play, and the huge value that social media brings to them. The event was actually kicked off by three fabulous ladies, Birgit Bauer, Silja Chouquet and Marlo Donato Love who shared some great insights from a patient’s perspective and mentioned one of my favourite quotes “patients are the most underutilised resource in the pharmaceutical industry”. They talked about the importance of getting patients involved and the role they can play in working with pharma. Silja then also went on to talk about patients participating and “attending” medical conference virtually via social media. In fact she raised the point that whilst doctor’s are the main participants online at conferences patients are also increasingly getting involved as they search for more information on their conditions. She also made some great points about the futility of pharma’s current approach to using promoted tweets and how this is potentially going to be a big issue resulting in dilution of high value content on Twitter.
Perhaps a highlight for me though was Trevor Fossey who talked us through the impact of digital on patients and the NHS. I was nearly crying as he told us that he has access to his NHS medical record online, and that of this wife for whom he cares, and that as of 1st April every NHS patient has a right to access their medical record online. OMG! As a UK patient, with a chronic autoimmune disease, not having access to my medical records has been a big issue. I have been to numerous doctors, privately in the UK and abroad, and have never been able to show them my NHS blood results as I did not have access to them. Of course the fact that I now live abroad and don’t have a GP means in all liklihood I still won’t be able to access them but the realisation of what this means for other UK patients, including my elderly parents, was profound. Trevor mentioned some fantastic points about how impactful empowered patients really are – and how much money they save the NHS. I can tell you I was certainly not the only person in the room blown away but Trevor’s presentation – despite being a room full of digitally savvy people none of us where aware of our right to access our medical records online. Trevor found himself a whole group of advocates at the event (I for one have alreay shared to news to all my UK friends and family).
There were so many other great presentations, such as Letizia Affinito who showed us some great non-pharma case studies, and Pinal Patel from BMS who showed us how they are using social media in clinical trials – and more importantly how they are listening to patients and adapting their process in response to patient feedback. An awesome point was made that often once a trial is over patients are just left alone – but really we should be thanking them and sharing the results with them (something BMS plans to do now thanks to feedback). Charlotte Roth from Actelion also gave the Corporate POV around social media, bringing an additional dimension to the conference, while Liz Skrbkova shared perspectives around multi-channel engagement and online influencers. I also have to add that IMHO Liz was one of the best dressed ladies at the event :)
Last but not least was the pleasure of meeting all these amazing people and having some great discussions, including over wine and dinner. Dinner also gave me the opportunity to catch up with a couple more of the #hcsmeu and the next day I was able to sample some of the most amazing cocktails at the Alchemist in the evening. Afterall what would a social media conference be if it didn’t include the “social” bit!
With all due respect, you are not automatically a “patient-centric” company just because you added that term to your marketing materials and hired someone with an eponymous title who travels the country with a spectacular LinkedIn profile on fact-finding missions to buy nonprofit CEO’s lunch to data mine their insights.
And don’t get me started on regulatory. We in the Patient Advocacy sector are not naive to The Physician Payments Sunshine Act. (It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) This onomatopoeic law is killing all of us. It stifles innovation (with a lower case “i”), presents innumerable encumbrances to actually getting anything done and ties up any possibility for success in a sea of red tape negotiations.
My point is that that a re-imagining of patient-centricity needs to occur STAT. Otherwise no one wins.
PAOs are at fault too. We can’t just take your money and not expect to produce ROI. And yet, there are a few nonprofits for whom ROI is in their DNA. They operate using program management and evidence-based patient outcome reporting. Pharmas that choose to meaningfully engage with these groups benefit from a measurable competitive advantage by viewing us as business partners, rather than charities looking for a handout.