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Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ Category

I had the privilege a couple weeks back of attending the second annual ePatient Connections conference, which I highly recommend for those in the pharma/healthcare industry.

Interacting with the growing number of influential ePatients, and hearing their perspectives, is immensely valuable. The conference is put on by Kevin Kruse and his team at Kru Research.

Here is my video recap:

Other helpful summaries of the conference can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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There’s a very cool service that auto-creates an on-line newspaper each day, based on the articles “tweeted” in Twitter by a defined group of contributors. Anyone on Twitter can generate a “List” of contributors, and using paper.li, can create a customized newspaper!

Here are several I’ve created for folks in pharma and healthcare. Feel free to subscribe (just press “Alert Me” and enter your e-mail address – each day, it will alert you when the new edition is ready for viewing!). You don’t have to be a Twitter user to “get” the paper. Very cool.

http://bit.ly/PharmaNewsDaily (pharma news drawn from links shared on Twitter)

http://bit.ly/PharmaNetworkersDaily (drawn from top links shared by pharma’s influential social media types on Twitter)

http://bit.ly/HealthcareDaily (healthcare news drawn from Twitter, with a bit of focus on digital/eHealthcare)

http://bit.ly/ePatientsDaily (links and news shared by influential ePatients and advocates on Twitter)

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Had a great time last week at the SPBT conference. Planning to get out a summary post later this week…

TODAY’S NEWS:

Big news for Novartis: FDA panel unanimously recommends approval for oral MS drug – A Food and Drug Administration panel has unanimously backed the safety and effectiveness of Novartis’  multiple sclerosis treatment fingolimod. The panel voted 25-0 in support of fingolimod’s “substantial evidence of effectiveness” in treating patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. That makes it likely the drug will be the first oral MS treatment to gain FDA approval, beating Merck, Sanofi  and Teva – all of which are developing their own oral MS drugs – to the punchmore

Glaxo cuts 700 more sales/marketing positions – A Glaxo spokeswoman said 700 sales and marketing staffers (and related support staff) have taken buyout offers in recent months, while others’ jobs are being cut. She declined to give a total figure, but said the cuts are affecting “a variety of different positions in the U.S. pharma commercial staff.”more

Uncomfortable links being investigated – ARB high blood pressure drugs/cancer; Daiichi‘s Benicar and heart disease; troubling new data on GSK‘s Avandia and heart disease.

A “pill mill” in Kansas and multiple fatalities from the “lollipop of death.”

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Fresh from the tube this weekend: the first ever DTC commercial for medical devices?

JUST FOR FUN

This may just be the most hideous website “designed” by man. Do not click with any consumables in your mouth…

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Novartis’ CibaVision subsidiary has released a new iPhone app, called the Academy for Eyecare Excellence. I have downloaded it and am going to write this review “live” – that is, give my impressions as I walk through it. I believe that intuitive user interface is the key to good software design, so let’s see how this app strikes a newbie from a user experience point of view.

First up is a required registration page, asking for first name, last name, email, zip code, country, and profession. Below that there are a couple of notification options (for updates), and a link to the Privacy Policy.

Right off, I’d prefer to have a brief explanation why this amount of info is being requested. It’s intrusive compared to most iPhone apps, and may be a barrier to entry. Now, there may very well be excellent reasons to ask for it – but if so, please share them up front in capsule form (you do get a better idea by reading the detailed Privacy Policy).

When I first use any app, I want to feel a sense of intuitive ease with the interface, AND I’d like a little “Wow” factor. The home page interface is a bit busy, but the Intro video of two guys talking about what the app can do for you is very impressive – smooth, hi-res, and motivating. Thumbs up on that idea!

From the initial screen, the user can jump to Courses, Video, and Articles. Let’s try Courses…OK, two courses present (on contact lenses, of course), several future courses listed. The course is structured in topical nuggets, each of which is a tasty combination of video and animation with nice, clear narration. I cannot comment on how helpful these little courses will be for eyecare professionals, but I can say, as someone with a lot of background in eLearning design, that this is pretty good stuff from a production standpoint. Thumbs up here.

The Video section is just promo videos for the digital Ciba educational properties, including this app. This could eventually be a potential repository for helpful little practical hints, or clinical updates, if Ciba heads in that direction – right now, it seems like a placeholder. Thumb at rest in horizontal position.

Articles doesn’t go anywhere. I assume there will be resources populating this at some point. Thumb hiding.

On the bottom navigation bar is a button for Academy, which opens up (essentially) a miniaturized website explaining CibaVision’s educational approach and offerings. The iPhone form factor is not ideal for information structured this way – small type and standard web navigation design. Thumbs down – not on the idea of explaining more about the offerings, but on the information design. There is also a button fro Prof. Affairs which currently goes nowhere.

-> It occurs to me that perhaps the two non-functional buttons are because I registered as an “Other”, not as one of the designated titles for an eyecare professional. So, I just left the app and registered under a different name, as an Opthamologist. And, sure enough, now those nav buttons are occupied! The Prof. Affairs is just a repeat of the intro video – a placeholder, nothing to see here – but the Articles now show a couple of article summaries with a link to the .pdf. Sparse here at launch, but the potential is there. Plus, you are invited to pop open (to full screen) an ad for one of the CibaVision contact lens products.

There is also a Back and a More button on the bottom – Back does what you’d expect, and More gives links to CibaVision site; Acknowledgements; a Contact link (which opens up your e-mail); and Tell a Friend (also e-mail driven). Nothing special.

OK, let’s sum up:

Putting on my branding hat: The visual design, naming, and branding are mediocre. The graphical elements used, and page layouts, are only so-so.

Putting on my application user experience hat: It has potential. Right now, I question the value, especially for the amount of personal information I’ve “given up” at registration. And the experience is “choppy” and stitched together – cool video here, clunky web interface there, etc. The app doesn’t feel smooth and well-integrated (yet).

Putting on my eLearning/professional education hat: Very nice. With lots of potential to evolve.

It is a one-way application – nothing truly interactive or social about it. I think a lot of first-gen pharma apps will fall into that camp. I’d have to say that this one is not particularly compelling, unless an eyecare professional really needs those courses in the palm of their hands. Then, there’s clear value.

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I had an absolutely delightful time at the SOBCon conference this past weekend, interacting with a great group of very high-quality entrepreneurs/social media types. Summary blog post here.

TODAY’S NEWS

FDA to Sepracor on new anti-epileptic drug candidate (STEDESA) – Nah.

FDA to AstraZeneca/Pozen on arthritis drug (VIMOVO) – cleared for takeoff.

Obamacare and the drug stock sell-off.

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PLUS

For a contrarian industry view – Marcia Angell on Big Pharma, Bad Medicine

Today’s sunrise, from my backyard in Boonton, NJ. Stunning.

JUST FOR FUN

Fire-breathing manholes in Manhattan. I just like the fireman’s quote…!

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It’s the pathos that does it.

EMD Serono has released a striking DTC campaign, on the theme of infertility – specifically, encouraging couples struggling with the problem to see a doctor and “increase your chances” [EMD Serono makes various products for infertility treatment].

Before you read on, I’d encourage you to go to the IncreaseYourChances.org site and just watch one of the mini-videos (I like the Jane video best, where the friend’s uterus is hated). It won’t take long to watch the others as well.

Yes, your first reaction to the Bird-and-Bee costumes, and the music, may make you think it’s all hokey. But watch. And see if the use of humor, sarcasm, and the depiction of raw relational emotions doesn’t pull you right in.

It’s very effective storytelling. And soon, you’re rooting for this fictional-but-somehow-very-real couple to succeed in getting pregnant. Because they’re portraying a genuine medical and marital problem, in a way that makes you feel the pain as well.

Unlike a lot of unrealistic and non-engaging 60 second DTC drug ads, this approach brings humanity to the fore, with just the right mix of emotional reality and humor. Probably most of us know couples in this situation – does this type of approach have the potential to help break down barriers and relieve isolation?

Let’s think about this for a bit. By themselves, the video stories are compelling – but if we think about other web and social media platforms, how could this be extended into even deeper levels of effectiveness? Could a year-long web-video “story” of this couple be crafted, with a successful outcome at the end? Could a community of people suffering with this condition be formed, catalyzed by this video? How might you take this on-line storytelling motif and use social media to expand it and help more couples?

The comments are yours….let’s brainstorm!

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TODAY’S NEWS

Big news for Novartis on two fronts – Novartis has received a couple of pieces of good news from regulators in the USA this morning who have approved its meningococcal vaccine Menveo and granted a priority review for the Swiss major’s investigational oral treatment for multiple sclerosis fingolimod…more

Avandia – the bad news just won’t quit. The heart attack factor, and the when-did-they-not-share-what-info questions. And a call to just pull it from the market. A rough patch for GSK.

BI gets FDA approval for new Extended Release version of Mirapex (for Parkinson’s)

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From Wendy Blackburn: 7 things I Learned at the ePharma Summit. And, from Betsy Raymond StevensonCuring Pharma. Restoring the industry’s reputation will mean a lot of hard work, not just a PR campaign.

JUST FOR FUN

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