What's Your Digital iQ

Putting technology and trends to work for healthcare marketing

The Role of Marketing in Improving Health Outcomes


We’re all very aware of the escalating statistics with diabetes, obesity, healthcare costs, and so on. In response, we’re seeing more and more wellness programs from employers, payers, retailers, etc. Today’s panel discussion is around the role pharma marketing plays in improving health outcomes.

Today’s Panelists:

Brad Sitler, Principal Industry Consultant, Center for Health Analytics and insights, SAS

Eugene Lee, SVP, Media Innovation & Analytics, Communications Media, Inc.

Kellie Boyle, Senior Director of Marketing GlaxoSmithKline

How can pharma advance their adherence and compliance program to meet the demands of a value-based system?

Kelli: There are so many opportunities for the industry to partner to understand patient segments, create messaging and develop programs for very targeted groups. We need better ways to segment patients in our programs. Do I understand who you are and where you are that helps me help you?

Eugene: For us, the delivery of the message must depend on where the patient is in their journey for us to provide them with utility and purpose in our efforts. Hopefully, when they go through that journey and we know where they are at, we can develop metrics to monitor the effectiveness of our programs.

Brad: The major problem with our adherence programs today is that most of the participants are already highly engaged with their disease and treatment plan. Pharma spend millions of dollars talking to patients who already understand and buy-in to the program. That is one reason why we don’t see the needle move – the participants are already adherent and we’re ignoring the ones that are not. I’d really like to see a strong partnership between a pharma brand and a payer on developing an adherence program that caters to those who are not adherent.

Should pharma companies really be focused on the parts of patient outcomes that are based on lifestyle components (diet, activity level, etc.) or remain focused on treatment (medication choice, adherence, compliance)?

Eugene: If positive patient outcomes are the true goals, then pharma should be involved in all aspects.

Kelli: The only reason this question is asked is because people do not trust pharma. The answer seems obvious to me: yes. Now is the opportunity for us to begin to partner with patients and other groups to deliver value-based healthcare as opposed to tracking how many ‘scripts we’ve wrote.

What programs are you favorite right now? Which ones have the most promise?

Kelli: I have several favorites. WellDoc is one that always comes to mind. It’s in a very early stage but their objectives and structure are really well thought out. I’m also an avid user of Fitbit. It’s not hard from these solutions to imagine how we can involve

Brad: Novo Nordisk has a great program they are working on for diabetes patients. It seems to capture all aspects of a patient’s life from activity and diet to medication adherence.

Eugene: Something like Patients Like Me is the type of program I really enjoy. Giving people that opportunity to connect and converse with other people on a similar journey seems like an intuitive experience and one that can have a major impact.

We’re starting to see physicians incentivized for positive health outcomes, what are your thoughts on patients being incentivized for positive health behaviors and outcomes?

Brad: Yes, we absolutely need something like that. Take Cleveland Clinic for example: They are incentivizing their employers with cash for improving specific readings like BMI, cholesterol, and blood pressure. They have even eliminated all the fryers on their campus.


#DigPharm Quotes: KOLs Influence Online


“KOLs will help shape the online dialog. This is power that brands can harness to influence HCP perceptions”

- Ryan DeShazer, GSW Worldwide


2 Great Slides + 10 Ways to Fail When Implementing New Technology


Developing a culture of communication and alignment between marketing and IT departments is not a typical conversation topics at digital pharma conferences, but that was all changed today when VP of Marketing Philip Freed and Sr. Manager of IT David Morrissey (both of Maquet) went head-to-head to talk about best ways to communicate and collaborate when deploying new technology solutions.

Below are two slides that capture the points and counterpoints from the discussion.


#DigPharm Quotes: Metrics are key


Don’t forget metrics. Determine them up front. Track them. Communicate them.

- Joyce Ercolino, CSL Behring (@jearch)


Effectively Employing a Unique Pay-for-Performance Marketing Program


Kicking off after lunch, Chad Bellentine, Product Manager for Upper GI Marketing at Takeda, shared a small case study on a marketing pilot that his team and partners deployed. Chad shared specific goals that the DEXILANT brand team was hoping to achieve in they pilot:

  • Educate patients on their acid reflux disease and its symptoms and the unique benefits of DEXILANT
  • Drive patient-doctor discussion about DEXILANT among pre-qualified GERD sufferers

With those goals in mind, the team launched a pilot program called Quality Conversations. The program was designed to take patients through a flow of information and call-to-actions.

  1. Attract patients to an email touchpoint program.
  2. Align the right patients to the most relevant offers
  3. Activate patients through targeted messages and channels
  4. Convert patients to DEXILANT by educating and engaging on disease state and DEXILANT’s value proposition

DEXILANT’s Quality Conversations Pilot program

The first step was rolling out the pilot program. The goals were to develop and approve a library of brand resources and then build a communication engine to disseminate that content. In the DEXILANT program, there was a very specific program flow they hoped to achieve:

1) Deploy an email series that prompts a patient to learn more about DEXILANT through a microsite.

2) Once the patient access the microsite, they are encourage to download a conversation guide for a consult with their physician.

3) With the download guide in hand, the patients were then encouraged to print a coupon for DEXILANT.

Through this program flow, a patient was walking into their doctor’s office with information on the brand, a conversation guide, and a coupon for their prescription. While DEXILANT’s MLR team wouldn’t allow for specific numbers to be shared, the marketing team found that overall prescription number increased and noted excellent prescription rates for those patient who entered the top of their funnel by receiving the email series.

Chad recommended a framework and tips for running a marketing pilot.

Goal: Set performance criteria and expectations upfront.

Time: Actively participate in evaluating the real-time analytics and making optimization decisions or delegate this function back to your marketing partners.

Optimization: In addition to overall program results, explore specific areas in the overall flow where your program isn’t functioning to identify additional opportunities to optimize for better results.

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