What's Your Digital iQ

Putting technology and trends to work for healthcare marketing

Transforming Health Marketing

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I just stepped off the stage at eDTC Revolution. Great, enthusiastic crowd today that I’m very proud to be a part of.

Our keynote this year was all about changing the interface of health care.

We work in one of the most innovative industries in the world. But our marketing doesn’t always reflect that sense of incredible discovery and change.

In short: we don’t have a broken industry; we have a broken interface.

The way we introduce life-changing science to people is at best an after thought and at worst a barrier. It’s clunky and covered with fine print and written in a voice that sounds about as human as the smarty-pants tones of R2D2’s golden buddy C-3PO.

Our presentation today was about how we can change all that. We can do it by borrowing some lessons from the lab and learning from the core principles that have fueled the innovation engine for pharma for decades. Check out all the big (and little) ideas:


AT&T’s location-based messaging could be a huge step forward for adherence and healthy support


A few years ago, iQ developed a prototype called iQ.2Do. The idea was based on a simple premise: We rarely live up to the promises we make in the doctors office.

Our industry calls that an adherence issue – in fact, some call it the biggest health care crisis of our time. Roughly half of us discontinue therapy within the first six months – that’s true even for life-changing drugs.

The thing is, in real life, it’s not always an intentional decision to quit. It can be as simple as forgetting to get that next refill.

So we asked: What if you could be reminded to refill when it was actually convenient? We’d use geolocation and pharmacy records to deliver a reminder message when it was most relevant – that is when you’re out and about, near the pharmacy, and in need of a refill. You can check out a video overview of the idea here.

AT&T’s Donde could make just that kind of location-relevant support both easy and personal. Donde was created in AT&T’s labs out of a desire to find a better value between the connection of messages and location. Researchers realized a note with location association would mean users could get the message just when they needed it — which is often at a particular location or point in time. This way messages don’t get buried in an inbox.

Think of the possibilities in real life - what if you received your spouse’s message to pick up a gallon of milk when you pulled up to the grocery store? Chances are you would remember to buy the requested gallon of milk better than if you had received the message earlier that day.

And in health care – what if you received a message from your nurse practitioner to refill a prescription and pick up the ingredients to a healthy recipe right as you pulled into a similar grocery story? What about a supportive message from your doctor right before you start physical therapy? Or even a planned moment of intervention when you drive up to that McDonald’s drive thru?

Donde is coming to a consumer market trial soon. Its initial functionality will let users compose a message, associate a location, whether current or searchable, and then send the message for delivery at the time the recipient reaches a particular geographic location. Hear more from the innovator, Gerald Karam.

AT&T (or Gerald) – if you’re reading, we’ve got 10 BETA testers right here ready to sign up. Love this idea!


How the Kinect could Retain Patient Motor Skills


Our first experiment Circuit, created by iQ back in June of 2010, was developed to make everyday interactions better. Because 15 minutes in the exam room is never enough time to treat and manage a chronic illness, physicians need to understand the patient’s daily journey. Circuit helped with this by utilizing the iPad’s accelerometer to do simple range of motion tests like moving a ball over a mountain to test relative dexterity. Tests like this, would be uploaded to a detailed dashboard that patients can view, share with their physician, or append to their electronic medical record.

Since developing Circuit, we’ve been following health related apps and games to see how we could enhance Circuit. Today we’re most interested in Microsoft’s Kinect PlayFit, a new dashboard that tracks fitness activity on the Xbox. Kinect PlayFit’s aggregation of data from games like Dance Central 2, Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012, Kinect Star Wars, and others is used to provide personal fitness stats. This service allows players to earn achievements, gamerscores, and avatar awards.

As we looked into the Kinect PlayFit, we we’re excited to see their use of stats like calories burned and daily streak. We quickly started to see how these stats could be applied and modified to manage chronic illness. For instance, say a patient’s disease state affects their flexibility, the Kinect could be used to record their flexibility baseline. Each day, patients could try to match or beat this baseline in a game. During game play, data could be captured showing the retention or improvement of their flexibility over time. Achievements could be awarded for retention, improvement, and daily streaks. Buddy scores could be shown to motivate patients to retain or improve their flexibility.

So we asked, why can’t brands create their own Kinect game to help patients retain and even improve motor skills affected by their disease state?

Our latest prototype Circuit 2.0 contains our thoughts on how brands could do just that.


Why Pharma Should be Detailing at Patients’ Homes

Brand Visit

Remember the days of the door to door salesman? Perhaps you recall the vacuum salesman pouring dirt on your carpet to show how well their product worked. Those days seemed to have been put behind us with the advent of product websites, product performance videos on YouTube, and Amazon product reviews. However, today we’re seeing a resurgence in the at home sale. Take Liberty Mutual for example, when customers are curious about their products, they will send a local representative to discuss their services with you and your family so that the household can ask questions and make an informed decision together.

When making life altering decisions, like starting a prescription, wouldn’t it be nice if you, along with your caregivers, family, and friends, could speak with a brand representative?

Now I know you’re probably thinking:

“Shouldn’t customers get all their information from their HCP?”
“Isn’t the branded website and patient education materials enough?”
“Customers don’t typically trust Pharma. Why would they want to talk to them?”

I admit, there are a some healthy discussions to be had around this topic. However, my challenge to Pharma marketers is to consider the possibility. As we continue to see a resurgence in at home sales, brand transparency, and personalized customer service we should consider changing how we market too.

Our latest prototype Brand Visit contains our thoughts on how detailing to potential patients at their homes could work.


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