The Harvard Business Review recently interviewed 58 CEOs in the healthcare sector, and the words they most used to describe the keys to their organizations’ futures: Change and innovation. What else could it be? As the healthcare system continues evolving and becomes more focused on delivering value, companies need to find new ways to improve patient outcomes while reducing costs. Innovation may be more important to this industry’s success than ever before—and marketers are not exempt from this challenge. Not only should they help find ways to provide more value to customers, but they must also continue to adapt to the ever-changing means by which people communicate. This requires new solutions, offerings and thinking that can solve the problems life science companies currently face—as well as problems they are sure to face right
around the corner.

We highlight these forward-thinkers in our third annual Innovations in Pharma Marketing special issue and provide a guide to the Companies, Divisions, Products, People, Services and Strategies that can help create success in the New Year. Once again, our call for innovation did not go unheard. We were bombarded with remarkable submissions from across the industry. The following represent a select collection of today’s best industry innovations and innovators. These range from exciting new ways to speed up drug discovery and development to a platform that can revolutionize rare disease marketing. That’s just a taste! Between the 62 innovations/innovators in this issue and the directory of some of today’s most innovative companies, we believe you’ll find plenty of ideas to help make 2015
a great year.

Here are our picks for products. Cutting-edge software, apps, programs and anything else designed to help life science marketers become more successful.

CUSTOM ON-DEMAND EDUCATION: Artcraft Health

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At Artcraft Health, our mission is to create a service or product that serves and supports both physicians and patients to ensure that each patient adheres to treatment. Our response to this challenge is our Custom On-Demand Education (CODE) program. This innovative product extends beyond the traditional approaches to physician and patient support by creating an educational experience for both audiences while enhancing the rep and HCP relationship. CODE delivers education at the point of care and in between office visits by teaching patients about their disease and providing tools and tips to facilitate adherence and promote health and wellness.

As patients have become active decision makers in their own health outcomes, generalized marketing strategies will no longer be effective. Rather than focus on widespread promotional messages, healthcare marketing strategies must now be built on education-based programs with custom content, messaging and design targeted directly to individual patients. This product combines all of those into a traditional or digital format that is crafted for the individual patient and delivers relevant and useful information where and when he or she needs it most. Reps can walk physicians through the program’s simple drag-and-drop navigation on an iPad and help them select from different options in order to build personalized patient educational materials. This personal touch not only improves the rep-physician relationship but also leads to better discussions between physicians and their patients.

EASY SAVE: PSKW

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PSKW’s newest co-pay assistance channel offering, Easy Save, is leading a revolution in the delivery of co-pay assistance. Easy Save is an in-pharmacy, in-workflow co-pay assistance solution with pharmacist discretion. It automatically prompts pharmacists when a particular prescription is eligible for co-pay assistance. If the pharmacist foresees a significant risk of abandonment, he or she simply applies the co-pay support and then explains the manufacturer-provided savings to the patient.

Easy Save also helps to resolve Rx abandonment and poor adherence by generating two to three more refills per patient. Developed in partnership with Emdeon—one of the nation’s largest financial and administrative information exchanges—Easy Save enables pharmacists to instantly access available co-pay assistance simply by submitting a secondary claim to a permanent PSKW-assigned Bank Identification Number (BIN).

Easy Save enables preemptive co-pay support, giving pharmacists the ability to avoid awkward cost-centered pharmacist/patient exchanges and decreasing the rate of “sticker-shock” Rx abandonment. It also:

  • Generates automatic notifications that appear in the pharmacy workflow no matter how the Rx arrives at the pharmacy (hand-delivered, phone, fax or ePrescription).
  • Is active at the time of prescription receipt—no need to wait for patient arrival.
  • Gives pharmacists the discretion to offer assistance only when it is needed.
  • Is a flexible and low-cost way to augment print-based co-pay programs.
  • Can be added to existing co-pay programs or used as a stand-alone program.

eAUTH: Allscripts

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Allscripts automates the manual, time-consuming process of prior authorizations (PA) for medications with Allscripts eAuth. The solution is innovative in two ways: 1) Physicians can use it within their e-prescribing workflow. 2) It uses a prospective approach, meaning that eAuth alerts physicians about the need for a PA as they order medications—not after the order reaches the pharmacy and may be denied.

The current burden to the system in time and cost is staggering. Some estimates claim that $31 billion annually is diverted to the mostly manual PA process. Instead of spending days or weeks to resolve PAs, Allscripts eAuth enables clinicians and payers to process requests in minutes. As a result, patients have more timely access to medication, which can increase adherence. Allscripts eAuth can also enable pharmaceutical companies to offer a more efficient way to transact PAs through support hubs and provider portals.

One of the challenges in similar types of electronic transactions is in integrating multiple Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) companies and payers. Using information from Allscripts pilot program with a large national PBM, the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) built a standard for electronic pharmacy transactions. Allscripts is currently working with top PBMs, representing approximately 65% of the covered individuals in the United States.

LifeLine: Greater Than One

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Today’s health education and wellness category is becoming increasingly saturated with “me too” offerings in wearables, social and content syndication. Too often, products are disconnected from the larger professional and personal human context, and don’t add value where patients’ lives are at stake.

With this in mind, GTO and sister agency Adjacent To One—a digital product design consultancy—have been developing LifeLine, a new tablet-based product that drives positive behavior change, benefitting patients, hospitals, physicians, pharmaceutical companies and payers. LifeLine educates patients, whose health and disease states are in their own hands, using rich anatomical visualization; engages patients through messaging based on a predictive modeling and behavioral economics; and energizes patients through unique partnerships that extend adherence and patient, nurse and provider satisfaction.

LifeLine’s product team believes that innovation through digital design and technology solves human problems. They are working to prove that through a year-long pilot of LifeLine with Novant Health (ending April 2015) focused on point of care patient education that integrates with HCPs’ clinical workflows.

The results so far have been promising. Nurses report call-backs from discharged patients who now understand their condition and why they need to make positive lifestyle changes. There’s been a drop in 30-day readmission rates for pilot patients. And, based on initial findings, there’s a potential benefit that was never originally considered: There may be an impact on the number of patients who quit smoking.

NEXXUS PERFORMANCE MOBILE SALES: IMS Health

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In August 2014, IMS Health introduced Nexxus Performance Mobile Sales, a mobile sales and marketing effectiveness solution that allows life sciences companies to optimize and execute brand strategies at local levels.

Mobile Sales embeds a unique new level of strategically aligned territory analytics into each representative’s territory management by delivering just-in-time, locally relevant insights to their tablets. The patent-pending “Next Best Customer” methodology helps prioritize customer visits based on brand strategy analytics, local customer dynamics and multiple data sources, including targeted prescriber behavior, payer influence, territory sales trends and proximity.

Additionally, voice-command technology, plus intuitive prompts and actions, allow teams to deliver greater value and spend more time with customers. Automated alerts about customer trends, payer opportunities and gaps in execution for each specific territory eliminate the need for sales teams to translate national strategy, review disparate data or run queries or reports.

One thing that should be clear is that Mobile Sales is not just another data reporting or SFA system—even though it does tightly interact with SFA/CRM systems. However, Mobile Sales does promote a strategic approach to customer engagement. And to ensure this product differentiation, IMS Health engages clients around the localization of national brand strategy for consistent field sales execution—well beyond today’s current life science SFA capabilities.

ALME HEALTH COACH: Next IT

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Alme Health Coach is a new intelligent product built on Next IT’s Alme Platform to help patients and doctors manage chronic diseases.

The product powers artificially intelligent assistants built to engage, guide and coach patients as they manage their health outside of the doctor’s office. This is one of the most focused applications of A.I. available in the healthcare space.

To be clear, this is not another fitness tracker. This is about managing specific, complicated chronic disease for patients by closing the communication gap between visits with providers. For patients with MS, hemophilia, diabetes or many other conditions that require complex daily treatment, Alme Health Coach assistants can guide adherence to treatment plans, register side-effects and changes for patients, and provide critical information feedback between doctor and patient. Each assistant is trained to understand a specific disease and match the needs of the pharmaceutical company. It also helps enable doctors to scale care by arming them with actionable data.

Alme Health Coach is offered to pharmaceutical companies in order to provide them with a competitive edge. By offering this tool to doctors, pharma companies are helping to close the communication gap between doctors and patients while improving adherence.

ASPIRE: PulseCX

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As part of a strategic partnership with Adobe Systems, PulseCX built the proprietary Aspire platform, an immersive wellness experience that allows the agency to customize future messages, content and offers based on an individual’s preferences and past interactions. This level of customization provides a more personal experience, encourages ongoing engagement with patients, and provides valuable aggregated data that helps the brand further refine its segmentation and marketing strategy.

Aspire is delivered right to a consumer’s mobile device (enabling real-time communications and engagements without the need for a website or email program) and is triggered by a “prescription” to download it from iTunes or Google Play. This “customer experience” (CX) blends lifestyle content, disease education, brand content and valuable offers to offset medication costs (e.g., co-pay cards) with tools that appeal to each patient’s wants and needs, including:

  • Recipes in which users can cook side-by-side with videos of chefs preparing the dish.
  • Exercise routines along with a virtual 3D trainer.
  • Geo-location maps of hiking trails and locations of restroom facilities.
  • Enabled social sharing so patients can share successes and content and become advocates of the brand and program.
  • Real-time surveys with feedback loops and coaching videos to help patients talk to their doctors using language that brings them together and provides the best opportunity for making the right treatment choice.
  • Connections to third-party systems to activate co-pay cards without having to visit a separate website.

drawMD PULMONOLOGY: Visible Health

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Asthma affects nearly 26 million Americans, including 18.9 million adults and seven million children according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 44% of all asthma hospitalizations are for children.

Ever tried to draw a picture for a patient depicting asthmatic airway exacerbation? Not exactly practical. Until now.

drawMD Pulmonology, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim and supplemented by The Allergy & Asthma Network (AAN), is an iPad app developed by Visible Health. More than 50,000 physicians employ drawMD at the point of care.

“The ability of patients to reach a deeper understanding of their condition and treatments is the top benefit of drawMD Pulmonology,” says AAN President Tonya Winders. “Improvements in patient education and literacy tools is a perfect application for digital health tools. ‘A picture is worth 1,000 words.’ We use the app to show even the youngest patients what’s happening with their condition.”

The app is also a boon for pharma marketers. The drawMD series now includes 18 apps, with more in the works, which enables sponsors like Boehringer Ingelheim to reach the highly coveted physician audience precisely at the point of care when critical choices are made—including medication therapies.

Even better, top apps at the point of care maximize time spent between clinicians and patients improving patient literacy and confidence. And with health literacy comes adherence and with adherence comes better outcomes.

VEEVA COMMERCIAL CLOUD: Veeva Systems

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Today, data sits in many different places globally, creating multiple versions of the truth. Disconnected systems and channels make it difficult to align teams and coordinate customer interactions. Content proliferation exacerbates these obstacles, adding cost and increasing risk. Veeva Commercial Cloud tears down the siloes to unite the most fundamental components of a commercial operation: Customer data, multichannel interactions and compliant content. Veeva Commercial Cloud replaces a host of inflexible legacy systems with one, easily accessible, cloud-based system for all customer data and activity across channels, geographies and customer types—a breakthrough for an evolving life sciences landscape.

Now, every team, every partner and every region is free to collaborate in real time with one another unencumbered by the technologies that are supposed to help rather than hinder progress.

Building on a foundation of solutions, Veeva Commercial Cloud marries multichannel Veeva CRM, Veeva Network customer master and Veeva Vault for regulated content management to enable a fully integrated, personalized and compliant customer experience. Deep, ever-growing customer insights feed face-to-face, mobile, phone and web interactions, ensuring that customers get the relevant content and information they need—anytime, anywhere, on any device. Veeva Commercial Cloud also delivers the interoperability, agility and continuous innovation required for faster time-to-market and responsiveness to industry and regulatory changes. This allows companies to achieve their key commercial business imperatives: Strengthening multichannel engagement, improving transparency and expanding globally.

ClearSky PATIENT REFERRAL iPAD APP: Pursuit

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Leading specialty patients from diagnosis to referral and to treatment is a challenge that has material impact on their health outcomes. Managing this process is a burden to medical professionals and their office staff. To specialty pharmaceutical companies, speed to therapy is a critical metric that drives the topline. As such, field professionals are playing an increasing role in this workflow. Many now track the progress of referrals at their customers’ offices and help mitigate bottlenecks. Out of necessity, companies have cobbled together their own processes, assembling and disseminating case status data manually. The result has been a demonstration of success paired with data lag and quality issues, resulting in frustration for their field professionals and customers.

In an effort to understand this process and whether innovation opportunities existed, Pursuit worked with its clients to understand the issues and design a solution. The work resulted in their ClearSky Patient Referral iPad application, a new version of their Customer Engagement application that addresses the unique needs of the specialty market.

This specialty version of ClearSky uses reimbursement hub data as a source to deliver iPad push alerts to the field professional, and report referral case status at their customer’s practices. It also allows referral managers and field professionals to share information regarding cases directly through the app, allowing traceability for analysis and optimization.

CARD ACTIVITY PORTAL: OPUS Health

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More and more specialty products have been introduced over the last several years. These therapies target complex, chronic conditions including HIV, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C and Crohn’s disease—and often create the need for a patient support center or “HUB.”  These centers provide services such as individual education materials, nurse support, self-injection training and other support services. However, too often these patient support and reimbursement/co-pay programs are developed and managed in silos. This has a negative effect on patients by requiring them to contact disparate call centers to get necessary information depending on whether it’s nurse support or co-pay card balance and usage.

OPUS Health developed a solution that empowers support center users to manage the entire patient experience. The Card Activity Portal (or CAP) enables users to enroll and re-enroll patients, manage patient attribute changes, trigger targeted communication and provide necessary data for responding to benefit-related questions. CAP is an extension of the OPUS Health claims engine providing access to real-time patient data including card usage and balance information. Since the technology is proprietary to OPUS Health, it can be deployed quickly and managed with repeatable processes and integration points.

The Card Activity Portal simplifies the patient experience by offering “one-voice” that enhances the value of the brand’s support program.

HEALTH STORYLINES: Self Care Catalysts

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Today’s patients know more about their diseases, medication choices and methods of treatment and are taking more control of disease management and treatment choices. Pharma/biotech companies that can fill the intelligence gap currently existing in real-time understanding of patient experience along the disease journey can distinguish themselves from rivals and create long-term value for their customers.

Health Storylines by Self Care Catalysts Inc. is a breakthrough technology in the field of health informatics and patient self-care. The solution’s mobile suite empowers, engages, educates and motivates patients to take control and make better daily decisions about their health by tracking self-management behaviors and routines throughout their disease journey. Simultaneously, Health Storylines’ platform gathers critical intelligence from the experiences of patients living with disease over time, providing pharma/biotech companies with vital real-time insight into the patient experience that can unlock new sources of revenue and improve methods of care.

Data gathered by the Health Storylines Intelligence Platform is de-identified and aggregated to protect patient confidentiality while delivering valuable health informatics to inform pharma/biotech decision-making. The platform supports the natural way patients want to convey their health stories, and informs and guides their care, while collecting and aggregating data drawn from patient stories to provide new dimensions of insight to the pharma/biotech industries.

TickiT: Shift Health

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TickiT, developed by Shift Health, is an interactive mHealth platform that collects patient entered data anywhere along the healthcare continuum. Individual patient responses are documented in simple, concise reports with flagged alerts, and can be aggregated for healthcare research. TickiT’s success lies in the platform’s intuitive, colorful user interface (UI) that blends design-based principles with healthcare expertise. Graphics and simple text increase patient engagement by mitigating barriers to participation, such as low literacy rates, language and survey fatigue. TickiT has been used by top healthcare researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital, Brown University and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

The ability to easily capture true patient insights has important implications for pharmaceutical research. Side effects, convenience preferences, the patient’s response to methods of drug administration, are all critical to adherence and effectiveness. TickiT’s UI is also ideal for pediatrics. The American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Therapeutics and Technology (Fall 2013) recommends a global re-evaluation of pediatric pharma with direct engagement of children and youth in research. TickiT’s high-quality data that reflects the individual’s experience with healthcare, results in greater reach and better data-capture to inform evidence-based decision making, and creates standards of industry best practice.

This co-creative “design for the patient” approach, and emphasis on evidence-based research evaluation has demonstrated value and concrete benefits through uptake and completion rates of over 95%, as well as patients’ positive feedback and satisfaction using the platform.

FocalPoint: eHealthcare Solutions

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eHealthcare Solutions has launched a new and innovative suite of products called FocalPoint. The new suite leverages data from de-identified health insurance claims to geo-medically target audiences segmented by condition and/or treatment option. All FocalPoint data is anonymized and HIPAA compliant and enables EHS to target specific consumer populations based on geographic propensity for a given condition. All ads are served exclusively on approved sites to reach the client’s target audience.

De-identified prescription targeting with FocalPoint enables EHS to deliver geo-medical targeting with unmatched precision to audience segments in locations with the greatest condition density. FocalPoint offers clients insights into the initial data sets by zip code and impression inventory. Campaigns are then deployed where both are maximized.

Characteristic synchronization targeting with FocalPoint leverages custom propensity data modeling and enables EHS to demographically target ads exclusively to audience segments with significant common characteristics. Data is analyzed to identify characteristics shared by most members of a target audience including: Income, family size, purchasing patterns, age and more. As many as 1,500 segments can be analyzed and distilled to create custom look-alike models of the desired target audience.

EHS FocalPoint products are designed to effectively identify and engage target audiences with laser precision and minimal campaign waste. The company can then measure, optimize and report campaign performance in accordance with client’s media objectives through a variety of digital capabilities to achieve maximum brand impact.

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