Aug21

Adherence Is a Dirty Word

Adherence Picture BlogInstant gratification is not fast enough.

That’s the short answer to what derails (or drives) patient engagement. It’s simple really—you’re asking someone to change their routine, visit the doctor, spend their money, change their lifestyle—for something that doesn’t necessarily have a recognizable payoff tomorrow.

We design programs, apps, and all kinds of resources to “encourage adherence,” but they may only add to this burden. So what, exactly, is that burden?

Try it yourself.

That’s what patient educator and advocate Catherine Price (@catherine_price) has folks do. Dubbed the Tic Tac Challenge, participants use Tic Tacs as placebo pills, to see what it REALLY takes to remember to take your meds.

I organized a small Ogilvy Payer “Adherence Challenge” among my Payer, Creative and Shared Service colleagues, with the help of our fabulous summer interns. In the true spirit of a new prescription, each person got a script (with varying dosing regimens) which was filled at the “intern pharmacy.” Some scripts even had a prior authorization (PA) hurdle, which required a trip to our Director of Operations to answer SOX questions, to mimic the health plan benefits investigations and appeals process.

So how did we do?

Well. I didn’t even fill my script. The PA hurdle I landed with proved too great a barrier in my schedule.

Others’ success ranged from “almost compliant except for one travel day” to sporadic compliance, and some reported back compliance—but only on workdays when it fit into a routine. Variations on time of day, taking with food, or polypharmacy had a noticeable impact on the adherence burden. While some had routines or other reminders to help them along, no one was 100% compliant. With so much going on in our lives, it’s no wonder it’s easy to forget.

 

What’s the answer?

Well, there is no single solution. Merely knowing that “you have to” is not enough. There needs to be a reason you WANT to take a pill every day. Health needs to be integrated into life, not an add-on to it. HCPs need to speak the language of their patients— à la shared decision-making—to truly engage patients toward the benefit that adherence gives them in their life. Technology, while helpful, cannot solve everything for the unmotivated patient (hit that snooze button again!). Far-off benefits are strongly outweighed by what the patient needs/wants/feels right now.

For us, this is just something to keep in mind as we design apps, resources and CRM programs. Simple, integrated, and aligned with the patient’s goals is the mantra I will be marching forward with. A patient cannot just be adherent (a supporter or follower). Instead, a patient must be an enthusiast—active in his or her health interests.

 

These insights came from my attendance at the Patient Adherence & Access Summit this past June. If you would like the full write-up from the summit, just shoot me an email and I’ll happily send it over!

claire.pisano@ogilvy.com

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Feb28

How Can Self-monitoring Best Support Behaviour Change?

3907691Some of today’s biggest public health challenges, such as obesity and  heart disease, can be linked to personal lifestyle decisions. Governments have tried tackling these issues with smoking bans and taxes on high-fat foods, with moderate success. However, personal health behaviour change is needed to make a significant, lasting impact. Can self-monitoring of health information be the answer?

Studies in diabetes, hypertension, medication compliance and weight loss have shown that patients who successfully self-monitor their activities and set personal goals enjoy improved health outcomes and better adherence to treatment 1-6. We now have an abundance of apps and wearable technology at our fingertips to comprehensively track numerous aspects of our lifestyle, analyse results and observe improvements over time. These self-monitoring tools can then be easily integrated into social health networks so that we can share experiences, track our progress against that of our peers, and give and receive advice on how to succeed.

It is estimated that there are more than 40,000 health and fitness apps available. But with this bewildering variety of choice, how can we know which ones will encourage lasting behaviour change?

Easy does it

The apps which make the process of data upload as effortless as possible for the end user are the ones most likely to catch on in the long-term. Devices that automatically record data and synchronise it with online analysis programmes in real time provide a seamless transition and are not hampered by general forgetfulness or lack of time.

Keep it simple

Health information needs to be engaging, and simple enough to be universally accessible. The average person is likely to find sorting the data that matters from what doesn’t time-consuming and intellectually daunting—in fact, many patients who have to actively monitor a condition like type II diabetes don’t always fully engage with self-monitoring for these very reasons.7

Be realistic

Establishing aspirational but realistic goals and providing reinforcing feedback can help bring self-monitoring systems to life and make them personally meaningful.  A recent study into self-monitoring to improve diabetes treatment found that the main concerns patients had with the system were disappointment with unmet expectations and difficulty fitting the programme into the demands of daily life. 1

Collaborate

Ideally, fitness or health tracking app developers should collaborate closely with specialist healthcare providers and device makers as well as social scientists who understand how to bring about behaviour change. Such cross-fertilisation could result in truly useful tools that track fitness alongside other health metrics, such as blood sugar levels or medication adherence.

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1.  Barlow J, et al. Self management approaches for people with chronic conditions: a review. Patient Education Counseling 2002;48:177–87.

2.  Benhamou PY. Improving diabetes management with electronic health records and patients’ health records. Diabetes Metab 2011;37(Suppl 4):S53–6.

3.  Dennis EA, et al. Weight gain prevention for college freshmen: comparing two social cognitive theory-based interventions with and without explicit self-regulation training. J Obes 2012;2012:803769.

4.  Parker R, et al. An electronic medication reminder, supported by a monitoring service, to improve medication compliance for elderly people living independently. J Telemed Telecare 2012;18:156–8.

5.  Ralston JD, et al. Patients’ experience with a diabetes support programme based on an interactive electronic medical record: qualitative study. BMJ 2004;328:1159.

6.  Wagner PJ, et al. Personal health records and hypertension control: a randomized trial. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2012;19:626–34.

7.  Choose Control Survey. Choosing to take control in type 2 diabetes. Available at: http://www.diabetes. org.uk/Documents/Reports/Choose_Control_report.pdf (Last accessed May 2013).

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Feb26

Digital Trends Impacting US Healthcare – Infographic

In the past year, digital innovations have brought about new markets and channels for digital health interactions. This infographic is a visual mapping of the technologies and innovations which are already playing a key role in shaping the future of healthcare and the experiences and journeys which surround it.

Of course the ACA is affecting healthcare coverage, but it is also affecting our healthcare experiences by placing increased importance on and driving more frequent interactions with NPs, PAs, and Pharmacists. Additionally, more priority has shifted to consumers to educate themselves and take responsibility for their own health, especially when combined with our growing culture of social media and trust networks, and recent draft guidance from the FDA. Video remains hot, but the trending has shifted to the length of videos patients are consuming, increasing its relevance to pharmaceutical marketers. Mobile and tablets continue to grow rapidly, with and quantified self driving deeper engagement though apps, not just web. Last, but certainly not least, EHR is poised to enter the next phase of meaningful use, setting the stage for a platform shake-out as certification requirements evolve to provide more and deeper data sets to systems of connected health as providers continue to on-board.

Infographic of important technologies that impact digital healthcare marketing.

Infographic of important technologies that impact digital healthcare marketing.

Technology is evolving fast, and healthcare, believe it or not, is keeping pace and even leading the charge on many fronts. Spurred on by government mandates and initiatives, innovative organizations ranging from Google and Apple to Silicon Valley startups like Practice Fusion are quickly carrying the ball forward, sometimes struggling to keep pace with consumer expectations of today’s technology. It’s these digital healthcare innovations which have set the trends affecting us today, and will carry us forward to tomorrow.

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Feb18

Taking the Pulse…Tuning In to the New Patient Network

1741356 sA guest blog post from Craig Martin – Chief Executive Officer of Feinstein Kean Healthcare, an Ogilvy & Mather Company

Most of us are far too young to remember the early days of television. What I do recall from my childhood is that three networks owned the airwaves, large numbers of people followed a small number of notable programs, and the screen turned to fuzz at midnight. You made note of the TV Guide schedule, and you adjusted your schedule to the TV shows that interested you. The networks and the stars were in charge.

A lot has changed since then, obviously. There are now countless networks, and seemingly limitless numbers of shows. Reality television has made stars of “ordinary” people. And the digital age has made scheduled programming obsolete—the content follows you and adjusts to your life and device of choice, not the other way around.

Why wax nostalgic about the evolution of broadcast television? Because I believe a similarly dramatic transformation is under way in our field. The old channels and choices are fading to fuzz. A new era is dawning.

For years, healthcare PR relied on a few channels and reliable choices to reach, inform, and market to patients. On behalf of our clients, we used traditional media (earned and paid), events, celebrities and big disease education programs to build awareness and get patients to “talk to their doctors about…”

Today—as more of the burden of choice, comparison, and cost gets shifted to patients, as diseases become more and more categorized via genomic analysis and molecular diagnostics, as medical practice and health become more universally digitized, and physicians and pharma become more responsible for outcomes vs. treatments—the traditional big, broad-channel approaches are becoming less relevant and effective as a means of reaching more and more narrowly defined populations of patients.

These trends are leading to the establishment of entirely new channels and networks, made of up patients identified and aggregated virtually through the sharing of personal medical information and data. In other words, the audience is creating the network, and continually informing the programming through the data they share. Now, rather than casting a wide net via mass media and hoping a narrow audience will be watching, we will have ready-made networks, open 24/7, waiting if not demanding to be engaged. This opens up new frontiers for micro-targeted, real-time communication and measurable engagement, based almost exclusively on digital content and social influence.

Not long before the holidays we learned that Feinstein Kean Healthcare (FKH) and a select group of partners won a million-dollar government grant to develop a “patient-powered research network” for the multiple sclerosis community. This is an exciting development, but not because of the money. This new kind of network represents the leading edge of the transformation I’ve described, and we’re now right at the forefront as well.

In the days and months ahead, we’ll continue to evaluate the pace and progress of change, and work to assure that our thinking and services are aligned with where the world is headed. Naturally, we don’t want to get too far out ahead of the trend, but we must be informed and equipped to lead when the market is ready.

I believe, as this new era unfolds, we will find there are many exciting opportunities ahead for us to engage differently and far more meaningfully with patients.

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Feb13

You Might Not Realize It, But You Can Be Working For The MI6

MI6What interested me most about James Bond’s career, and, most importantly, that of his support staff, is the development and implementation of a unique and highly versatile arsenal of innovative technology. Starting with Bond’s pager in From Russia With Love, followed by that pen-sized-underwater-oxygen-recycling-breather-thing in Thunderball, or the way-ahead-of-its-time GPS tracker in Goldfinger—all these are examples of an unmet need in spymanship being filled by technology: well researched, well developed, well implemented, and well working.

While recently sitting in a conference room at one of our healthcare client’s headquarters, going through scenario after scenario of possible ways technology can minimize barriers to patients’ prescribed treatment regimen adherence, it was Mr. Bond that my mind turned to.

On a scale from zero to life-changing, healthcare is one of the areas where technology can play a crucial role and provide life-impacting value.

I think back to that scene in Casino Royale where Bond drinks the poisoned Vesper Martini and finds himself staggering back to the car to find a solution to his newly acquired ailment. But which vial from the glove compartment should he inject himself with—blue or red? One will cure him on the spot, the other, of course, will immediately kill him. And here is where technology comes in. He takes a blood sample. The results sync up with the poisons directory back at MI6. On the other side of the globe, Bond’s team reviews the reading in real time and points him to the correct vial.

Oh, and unlike the mini-rocket-launcher cigarette from You Only Live Twice or the bagpipe flamethrower from The World Is Not Enough, this blood-sample transmitter and reader are now out in the market, available for purchase.

In the days where Astounding Innovation greets Cost Efficiency over a bottle of Realistic Possibility for Implementation, the internet of things continues to blossom all around us. Your carbon monoxide detector can now know when you started cooking and tell your thermostat to turn down the heat by 6 degrees; or dim your lights when you walk out of the room; or your door can unlock itself when it senses you down the street. Your FitBit, by linking up with your blood-glucose monitor, can adjust your Seamless menu selection and choice of restaurants for the day (unless you run around the block a few times, that is…). You can start your car with a simple wink. Or, write a script, shoot the footage, do all the post-production work, and distribute the content globally—all from the palm of your hand! Sound familiar?

As this intelligent-device-fueled ecosystem continues to expand, more and more possible hooks arise that are able to feed and empower one another. A chain of monitoring devices, all in constant communication, adjusting themselves and providing information before we even know to ask for it, set the stage for a tremendous opportunity for our healthcare clients.

Spanning over all spectrums of monitoring one’s health habits, from improving existing treatment to preventing a need for a possible treatment a few years down the line, we now have an opportunity to help our clients efficiently channel their investments. If it so happens that after years of R&D, clinical trials and FDA reviews, patients neglect to adhere to their prescribed treatment, the years of innovation and investment lead to questionable marginal benefit, at best! The cost compared to eventual benefit comes out to be quite high. By enlisting connected and innovative technology, we can open the door for researchers, physicians and caretakers to finally close that loop on a number of treatment barriers.

As “Agency” people, with passion and insight into the latest tech innovations, as well as equally deep insight and understanding of our clients’ brands, we have an opportunity to guide our clients into this new area of possibility.

We can now pave a highway between our clients’ amazing potential and this new ecosystem.

We are at a unique crossroads where amazing technology is very much within our reach. The only limit, it seems, is our imagination.

Big ideas often come to us on those “regular days”—on commutes back from work, or walks, late evenings, or days at the beach. So too with our clients, the opportunity to introduce that big tech idea for their brand can arise at any moment—during a casual conversation on a drive back from market research, or after a day-long workshop. We should be well versed and ready to fuel inspiration.

The research team back at MI6 doesn’t wait to prototype a glidesuit-equipped-tuxedo until Bond is jumping off a plane to infiltrate a high-profile cocktail party at some off-the-map nuclear power plant. The research is done in advance. And so is the development and testing. Before the next international crisis even has a chance to escalate, the prototype is out of dry cleaning and ready for action.

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Feb7

The Age of Wearable Health Technology Is Upon Us

5240666It used to be that technology that conforms to the human body and seamlessly integrates into your environment was stuff of science fiction movies. But if we’ve learned anything over the past 10 years, we know that science fiction is rapidly become science-fact. If you wanted to see what the near future held, all you had to do was tune in to the numerous news feeds covering the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) January 7–10. If there was one trend that seemed to be on every manufacturer’s mind, it was wearable health technology. In fact, CES expanded exhibitor floor space by 40% just for digital health and fitness exhibitors, many of whom were showcasing wearable personal devices.

CES is known as an event where electronics manufacturers like Samsung preview the mainstream consumer electronics that will drive the holiday shopping season. It’s the place where the industry goes to see everything from the latest web-connected refrigerators to the latest mobile chips. And the news from this past CES convention was no different. In the past, consumer electronics companies have been focused on portable, mobile technologies. With the mainstream adoption of smartphones and tablets, consumer electronics companies have continuously tried to innovate by going smaller. It was this evolution from compact, mobile personal technology to wearable technology that was on full display this year at CES. There were smart watches, smart jewelry, and smart glasses, and even mention of integrating technology into fabrics. There was a visible trend toward fashionable, smart, wearable health devices. The core technologies and functionality in many of the wearable gadgets on display were fairly similar, mostly informational apps and health and fitness monitoring, but it was the emphasis on style and technology as an accessory which spoke to how health technology will be more seamlessly integrated into everyone’s everyday life.

After years as a novelty, in 2013 wearable health tech began gaining wider adoption. From primetime TV commercials for the Samsung Galaxy Gear—a watch reminiscent of Dick Tracy’s clunky walkie-talkie wristwatch—to coverage of the debut of Google Glass on local news channels, wearable technology was noticeably all over news and pop culture. You couldn’t take a ride on the New York City subway without seeing at least 5 people with some kind of fitness tracker on their wrist or hip. And those who didn’t have a dedicated tracker likely had some kind of fitness or health-focused app installed on their smartphone. In fact, wearable tech adoption grew from 3% in 2012 to 13% 2013, and that growth has been fueled by growing consumer interest in fitness and personal health monitoring and tracking. As consumers have increasingly begun to take control of their own health, adoption of wearable devices to help them do so has grown. Gartner predicts that the fitness and personal health monitoring trend will grow to a $1.6-billion industry in 2014 and to $5 billion by 2016. As we saw at CES, consumer electronics manufacturers are doing their part to give the trend momentum by making the wearable devices easy to use, fashionable, and less pricey, hoping to appeal to a much wider consumer base. And it’s not just the consumers who will see the benefits of devices that are easier to have and use. New opportunities will continue to arise for healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies to play a direct role in wellness and health behaviors through these wearables. As open software standards become more prevalent across devices, it’ll be easier for healthcare marketers to customize programming to suit clients’ needs and integrate wearables into a more personalized patient experience. Here at Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide, we’ve already begun to explore how this new channel for engagement can be used toward patient education and adherence. Next Christmas, don’t be surprised if your grandparents or teens ask Santa for a fashionable wearable health device.

What about you? Do you currently own a wearable personal health or fitness device? How has this affected how you manage your and your family’s health?

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May30

The Parent Factor—How to be a Good Daughter and Pharma Marketer

Patient Doctor ThumbnailWhen my mother was recently diagnosed with COPD, I thought I could help her. We had worked on the gold-standard treatment for a decade, knew the data, the leading clinicians in the field and the course of the disease. However, knowing the answers is one thing, effectively communicating them to a parent is quite another.

Two main hurdles hadn’t occurred to me. Forgive my sweeping generalisations, but I think these may apply to a lot of people of her generation.

Firstly, she has entrenched, hierarchical viewpoints when it comes to receiving health information, namely:

  1. Whatever I say is of no consequence—I am not a medic, I’m her child.
  2. Whatever the nurse says is of no relevance—she is “insolent” and shares anecdotes about her own mother’s illness, which is “inappropriate.”
  3. Despite having a “machine” (MacBook Air), searching the web for relevant information, tools or support doesn’t occur to her.
  4. Whatever the doctor says is sacrosanct (hierarchy is everything), but she’s unlikely to remember it.

Secondly, obtaining an accurate account of what had been discussed during her many consultations was almost impossible. Precise questions such as, “Ask them to give you your FEV score” were met with vague responses: “They wouldn’t give it to me, they said they think it’s that thing—emphysema—they explained what the blood tests were for but I can’t remember what they said,” etc., etc.

Trying to interpret patchy feedback from the consultations was frustrating, especially when it was further confused by her misconceptions. At one stage, she said they thought it was asthma, but this was an assumption she had made because they had prescribed an inhaler which she equates with asthma. My mother is an intelligent woman—it’s just hard to listen and remember everything when you are scared and confused. And the more I speak with her, the more evident it is that she doesn’t understand the disease or the need for treatment: “I’m going to go back and find out just how long they expect me to use this medicine” and “What happens if I don’t take it?”

I spend my working week devising new, innovative ways of communicating health messages to patients—via the media, apps, crowd-sourcing communities, videos, Vine, Twitter—you name it, we’ve done it, but what I’ve learned from this personal experience is that sometimes there is no substitute for clear advice provided directly by an HCP.

What my mother needs is a consultation with a doctor in which he or she clearly explains:

  • The disease
  • The role of treatment
  • The consequences of nonadherence
  • The outlook

All could be covered in a short conversation, but this needs to be given by the doctor and backed up with written information.

My final thought is, wouldn’t it be great if there was a network of impartial adults—call them consultation buddies—available to accompany people to their healthcare consultations and take notes on their behalf? Not to aid diagnosis, but to aid understanding by capturing the relevant information in written form.

If anyone is interested in starting a consultation buddy business, call me!

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May21

Don’t Be Fooled: The Core Tenets of Relationship Marketing Are Timeless

DartGoing back to basics on effective communication can lead to a big impact on your audience.

Pharmaceutical marketing at a glance seems unrecognizable compared to a few short years ago: technological advancements, big data, changing sales models, channel fragmentation, mobile marketing, social media…the list goes on. This constant sea of change is enough to overwhelm even the smartest marketers and strategists. Some marketers have followed the whims of change, prioritizing the latest marketing fads over a sound strategy. However, this reprioritization of communication efforts can lead to risky results. Pharmaceutical marketers will be best served by keeping their focus on the following fundamental marketing objective: getting the right message to the right audience at the right time.

Without a doubt, incorporating modern tactics and media channels can strengthen a campaign’s effectiveness, but the core communication objective should be tied to strategic objectives. In other words, the tail should not wag the proverbial dog. These core objectives should drive the decisions behind the channels, the content, the cadence, and the outcomes toward which a campaign is optimized.

The focus on fundamentals is essential across both patient and healthcare professional marketing campaigns. For example, with traditional patient support programs—which educate patients on their disease state, provide them with lifestyle tips, and empower them with condition management tools—the ultimate objective is to increase persistency and adherence. Rather than haphazardly building a program that randomly combines the latest marketing “it” channels, it is imperative to strategically consider the combination of tactics, channels, and content, at the right cadence to achieve the campaign’s goal: increasing adherence and persistency. While a campaign can and should incorporate channels both old and new, it should be the strategy that drives these decisions.

How to Focus on Fundamentals When Determining a Marketing Strategy

So, how can marketers effectively deliver communications in the ever-changing marketing reality? In the era of data integration and two-way marketing, we recommend using these three best practices to guide the process:

1)      Don’t be afraid to ask—so you can know what they are thinking: A behavioral survey can identify how targets would prefer to receive communications, such as by telephone, email or direct mail. Using this information, design a communication strategy that provides relevant information in the way(s) they want to receive it. By simply asking how an individual wants to be communicated with and by fulfilling that basic need, marketers can more successfully deliver the brand’s message and increase conversion.

2)      Observe, adjust, and make them feel special: With the phenomenal growth and availability of campaign response data, marketers have the opportunity to design and cater communications at the individual level. Creating customized communications and educational tools based on a target’s experience can ultimately lead to greater engagement and positive, impactful outcomes.

3)      Think like them—to understand what they need: As marketers, we measure success by driving impact and ultimately changing behavior. With the data at hand, we can now design and adjust strategies, all the while focusing on the brand’s fundamental goals. These metrics and objectives allow us, as marketers, to start thinking like our targets and asking questions that drive stronger campaigns:

A) What do our targets want and need?

B) How can we strategically design a program to meet these wants and needs?

C) How will we know if we met our targets’ wants and needs?

By remembering to follow these three steps when developing a CRM strategy, we can impact behavior by creating custom relationships based on trust, respect, and value…all by delivering the right message in the right way to the right person.

So while the marketing context, customers and channels have changed and will continue to change rapidly for the foreseeable future, we as marketers must keep our focus on our core, timeless tenets of good marketing: sending the right message at the right time and the right place. By applying some of these best practices, you should be well on your way to maintaining a sound strategy amongst the ever-changing marketing landscape.
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Apr25

When Will Pharmaceutical Companies Embrace Behavioral Retargeting to Drive Adherence?

Shopping KeyPicture this: You visit a website, add something to your shopping cart, but abandon the transaction. Maybe you are distracted or decide to shop around to get the best deal.

The next day, you’re on a different website. Suddenly an ad pops up on your screen…for that item you had in the shopping cart the day before. In your mind you’re thinking, “Wow, maybe this ad is an omen that I should buy that item?”

You’ll be relieved to learn that the ad is not an omen. It’s just “behavioral retargeting,” one of the tools that a smart marketer is leveraging to capture your attention. They want you back at their site to complete the purchase.

Digital channels can leverage relevancy (based on action and exposure) to deliver highly motivating advertising. If it works well for consumer products, how would this work for pharmaceutical brands?

The Web as a Research Tool
The Internet is used by consumers to compare prices and features. What we find online often influences both online and offline purchasing decisions. In the early days of the Internet, consumers were leery of making significant purchases online and would compare prices on the web then go to a brick-and-mortar store to make their purchase. With improved mobile technology, consumers now see and touch products in stores, only to make the purchase online. Many consumers are now willing to make major purchases online.

The prescription drug buying process is different. Some consumers see advertising for lifestyle drugs on TV and in print, go online for additional information, and ask their doctor for a prescription. If their doctor agrees, they may receive a prescription. A pharmaceutical website for a prescription drug may play a role in initial patient-doctor discussion, but it can really play a much more significant role in influencing medication adherence.

Behavioral Retargeting to Influence Good Behavior
We see many prescription drugs with elaborate, multichannel medication adherence programs that often have minimal impact on the bottom line. The reasons for this are twofold.

  1. Programs that are dependent on patients signing up tend to have very limited reach against the patient base.
  2. They often attract patients who are adherent, so there is little opportunity to increase sales. We also see programs where enrollment is driven by activating a savings card—but too often patients are unaware they joined the program and don’t engage with the communications they receive.

What if we used behavioral retargeting to increase awareness of compliance programs? Imagine if retargeting didn’t just apply to shoes and baby clothes, but also encouraged medication adherence.

Behavioral retargeting provides the ability to extend reach and deliver highly relevant adherence messages contextually, then bring consumers back to your site for deeper content. It provides an additional channel to get key adherence messages to customers who might not sign up for a program.

Then again, even if we can do it, we may not want to deliver behavioral retargeting. After all, some patients have conditions that they’d rather keep private. They may not appreciate a reminder message from a pharma company that manifests as a banner ad on their favorite website. If this is the case, such issues can easily be addressed with a simple opt-out that prevents future retargeting from the ad server.

These days, behavioral retargeting is closely associated with advanced ecommerce websites. Looking forward, it will probably become another tool for communicating with patients and healthcare professionals. Before that happens, industry thought leaders need to think carefully about how patient health information is used and retargeted across different websites, channels, and platforms.

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Aug23

Speed That Belies Size

The interwebs sparks all sorts of great stories. Cat videos are awesome. Only boutique agencies “get” digital. And big agencies are only good for bloat.

We can all agree on the first. The latter two—well, as “Mortal Kombat” used to kick off its matches: Fight! Which is not to say there aren’t odd days in the quagmire week where machinery gets in the way. But more often, the potential of having a great many top folk in one place is its own advantage.

Rapid response can be assembled in short order. Properly motivated and target-focused, this is a critical mass of strategy, planning, creative, coders, UX, and more that can more than handle itself in the ring. And as in all good moments of fission, that time to reaction can really cook.

Just this last week the mobile group put together a 2-day hackathon. Thirty or so pros, many meeting for the first time, split into 5 teams across an equal number of brands.

Two days to learn about multiple capabilities in a new software development kit (SDK) from a leading telecomm vendor; conjure that fresh knowledge into a mobile app concept; push pixels and punch words to fit an appropriate number of screens, menus and assets; and program it out into a working prototype that had to impress a showcase session at the end of the second day.

Every group delivered sit-up-and-take-notice work. The results were a wowza gathering of mobile goodness across luxury and consumer packaged goods, financial and communication services—and from our corner, healthcare adherence.

Building on the tools offered by the SDK, the Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide team concepted an app that tracks a person’s pattern of behavior, uses location to assess health-positive and health-negative activities, and then provides the right level/tone of support to make sure they’re properly managing their condition through treatment.

These weren’t blue sky exercises. They are real apps, based on real insights, and they will be leveraged for real next steps with their respective brands.

Not bad for 16 hours. And more common than “big agency” is often credited with. Edgy and current is critical to digital thinking. But that’s not the sole province of “small & scrappy.” Mass can equal more talent, more discipline, more expertise and experience to kick into gear and kick it up a notch. On your next journey into digital, consider all your options.

But whatever else—trust me on the cat vids.

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