Monday, December 31, 2012

The Rules of Self-promotion

Imagine yourself as a young twenty-something working to get your blog/writing off the ground.  With today’s social media outlets make it easier than ever to start a blog and instantly share it with each and everyone of your followers, friends, and subscribers.  There is, however, a fine line between making yourself known and an air of arrogance.  While arrogance can get you noticed very quickly, it can also turn people off even faster.  So how do you, the hypothetical young twenty-something blog writer, walk the tightrope of effective self-promotion and arrogance?

As discussed by Della on Micro to tele, we are on the same page that most of our self-promotion is obtained by tweeting the blog-link a few times the day of publishing and once on Google+.  But for an up and coming blog with few regular followers, is this enough?  And, is it okay to tag others (friends or influencers) in your tweets/posts in order to gain a following?  Our opinion is that content is the major determinant.  If your content is aligned with that of whom you are tagging, then yes, one or two tags a month of an influencer may be just what you need to boost your credentials.  Important to note though, there is a fine line between a few tags a month and becoming obtrusive.  Do not become the latter.  That is arrogance.

You may be asking yourself, how does this apply to BioPharma Advisors and healthcare?  Well now change that hypothetical situation to a healthcare/life sciences company rather than a blog.  It is essential to promote yourself in the proper communities without seeming arrogant to those well established in those communities.  That is where we come in.  We can help you boost your credentials with a proper marketing strategy that will allow you to gain ground in your field.  Remember, there is a fine-line between self-promotion and arrogance.  Crossing the line can be detrimental to your company, but a proper promotional strategy will lend to a successful future.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fixing Noncompliance

It is considered as a black mark on a patient’s chart.  Being labeled as a noncompliant patient basically sends the message that no matter what medical instructions a physician gives you, you will not abide.  A recent post by Dr. Danielle Ofri, associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine and editor in chief of the Bellevue Literary Review, discusses what it truly means to be noncompliant and how the issue of noncompliance could be better handled. 

Dr. Ofri quotes the example that a hypothetical medical chart was constructed for a 67-year-old patient with diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.  In order to remain truly compliant, the patient would have more than 3,000 behaviors to tend throughout the course of a year!  These include anything from taking medication as prescribed to exercising three or four days a week to attending recommended checkups.  Day in and day out (for some reason medical issues do not like to take time off), the patient must turn instructions into habit so that they may remain compliant.

The question needs to be asked, what can we do as Healthcare and Pharma professionals to improve medical adherence?  This could potentially be a multi-billion dollar question as improved medical adherence would directly impact prescription drug sales and provide new avenues for healthcare companies to facilitate and monetize physician-patient dialogue.  Now that smartphones and apps seem to be within arms length of almost everyone, we believe one key strategy will be to develop apps that allow patients and physicians to monitor key stats such as daily caloric intake and provide the ability to set reminders to adhere to a prescribed plan (see Prescription Smartphone Apps for Medication Adherence). 

However, this is just the beginning.  Improving adherence will require input and effort by everyone involved.  It is important for the Healthcare and Pharma industries to understand that adherence can be a “complicated balancing act” for patients.  Particular issues in a patient’s therapy may trump others and professionals in Healthcare and Pharma need to recognize this so that a prioritized plan can be developed.  Together we can develop strategies that improve medication adherence, and with this improvement, everyone will be better off.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ferry from "Statin Island"

Statins have become some of the most widely prescribed drugs of all time.  Atorvastatin calcium (the artist formally know as Lipitor) is prescribed an estimated 50,000 times a year according to the FDA and is by far, up until it lost patent protection in November 2011, the best selling statin of all time (see graph).  And to make them even more spectacular, statin benefits are not limited to simply lowering LDL cholesterol levels.  Recent studies have shown that statin use could potentially treat or prevent cancer as summarized by John LaMattina, a contributor to Forbes. 

Image courtesy of Pharma Marketing News

Even with the extensive benefits and proven efficacy of statin therapies, adherence to prescribed therapies is still an issue. recently summarized the results from the USAGE survey, which was the largest cholesterol survey ever, tracking treatment adherence and physician-patient communication of 10,100 statin users. 

With 75% of all newly prescribed statin users discontinuing their therapy by the end of the first year, we believe it is essential that healthcare providers uncover the reasons behind this trend in their patients and do not assume the patient is "compliant." We further encourage healthcare providers to develop strategies and leverage support tools that encourage treatment adherence.  

Studies show increasing the adherence rate will result in improved health for patients, higher revenues for drug manufacturers, and reduced future healthcare costs.  The USAGE survey shows that side effects (62%), cost (17%), and lack of treatment efficacy (12%) lead the way for reasons why statin users discontinue prescribed therapies.  However, revamping physician-patient dialogue and education techniques will help address adherence issues because part of good adherence counseling includes discussions about how to manage potential side effects.    

For more information about the USAGE survey, please visit

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monitoring Consumer Sentiment in Pharma

Sifting through social media sources is one of the best ways to find information regarding new technology.  While perusing Twitter, we came across this article written by Jennifer Zaino of  With today’s world of constant data streams, managing it all and applying it in a meaningful way is a priority of successful companies.  Effectively utilizing this data requires semantic technology and sentiment analytics, and in turn, a user or business can continuously adapt their social customer relationship management (CRM).  Gartner, a leading information technology research and advisory company, recently released its Magic Quadrant for social CRM. 

Several players exist in the semantic technology arena that work with companies to develop business strategies and social experiences that generate improvements for sales, marketing, and customer service, while also benefiting online communities.  Gartner has divided these players into the following four quadrants based on completeness of vision and the ability to execute that vision: niche players, visionaries, challengers, and leaders.  On this spectrum of social CRM players, it is evident that the leaders, such as, are the ones that effectively utilize social and sentiment analysis strategies that are evolving with today’s world of social media and ever developing  “emotional state” of the Internet.  Learning from the leaders of this area of information technology will allow for better overall consumer experiences across industries.  Going beyond keywords for developing a sense of consumer sentiment will be the new normal, and those who effectively utilize this information technology, will be the leaders of their respective industries going forward.   

With regard to pharma, noticeable improvements will be necessary in the future regarding the consumer experience.  Developing efficient methods of monitoring consumer sentiment of various biopharma products will allow companies and healthcare providers to adjust quickly (assuming they are willing to) and provide necessary support for patients in times of non-compliance.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cashing in on the 6 things patients want from social media

Attempts at creating the next sexy and flashy social media craze seem to be everyday occurrences.  But, the real issue at stake is developing social media with functionality.  After reading this article on "6 things patients want from social media," we wanted to add our perspective for our clients to consider in their life science marketing strategies. 

The most important point is the first thing patients want (and need): to find information quickly! We are still amazed at all the efforts ongoing in the industry that SEO provides, yet when marketers hire agencies to produce the information for all their print materials, no consideration is given to making that information readily accessible by patients or providers.   Look at some of the trends with video on You Tube. Are marketers really leveraging this channel given its rapid rise?  Patients are much more willing to take 3 minutes to watch a quality, informative video that provides a summary of information that is essential to their diagnosis/prognosis.  Incorporate a product or brand name in the informative video and you have a customer.  Our video marketing expertise will allow your company to effectively reach out to patients in a manner that will educate potential customers while promoting your product.

Other important points to consider when branching into social media to facilitate the conversation and flow of information with patients are:

·      To have information streamlined: This coincides with providing information quickly but also incorporates providing information in a manner that flows so information is easy to find and understand.
·      A clear understanding of the aging population: When developing social media strategies it is easy to produce an interface that attracts younger populations.  But how does one attract the primary demographics in healthcare?  It is essential to have a clear plan and benefits for the use of social media by the aging population.
·      To be engaged: Throwing information at patients and then becoming disconnected is not a good marketing strategy.  You must provide an interface through which patients and brand reps can interact in a meaningful way.
·      To help with the practical parts of care: Unfortunately, payments and paperwork is one of the practical parts of healthcare.  New ways of streamlining this necessary portion of healthcare will increase customer satisfaction and keep patients returning for your product or service.
·      To help with the healing process: For us, this touches back on being engaged.  Throughout the healing process, patients need to feel as if they are the number one priority for a physician and social media can assist with this.  Provide an easy way to keep physician-patient dialogue open and medical adherence will increase.

Social media will have a huge influence on healthcare going forward.  Provide a customer centric approach to marketing and attracting patients that focuses on these patients’ needs and you will see great returns.  Contact us, and we can help you develop your social media marketing plan that will reach out to patients in a meaningful way.