PM360’s Innovations Issue, established four years ago, serves as a comprehensive guide to our readers, providing a glimpse at the year’s most cutting-edge: Companies, Divisions, Startups, Products, Services and Strategies.
Here are our picks for the most innovative companies of 2015, which can include any organization developing new ways to push the industry forward.
Bill Densel, CEO
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is frequently characterized as the most preventable but least prevented cancer. Regular monitoring of the colon can easily spot the disease in time as small, precancerous polyps can take up to 10 years to transform into invasive cancer. And yet less than two thirds of people aged 50 to 75 adhere to screening guidelines because the perception of the test is less than pleasant.
Check-Cap is changing that by developing a non-invasive scanning system that does not require bowel preparation or modifications to an individual’s normal diet or activities. The system uses proprietary, ultra-low dose X-ray technology to scan the colon in its natural state to create 3D images of the inner surface. The system consists of an ingestible capsule, a biocompatible data receiver patch worn on a patient’s back, and proprietary software that physicians use to download the data from the patch and view a 3D reconstruction of the colon.
Since the company’s founding in 2005, Check-Cap has been led by a team of world-class experts and has partnered with industry-leading scientific advisors who have brought the company to where it is today. 2015 has been an especially good year for Check-Cap. The company had a successful initial public offering in February and is now trading on NASDAQ. Check-Cap also began its preliminary human efficacy study this year, which is currently ongoing towards European regulatory approval with approximately 75 patients. The technology has already demonstrated 100% sensitivity and specificity in lab conditions as well as clinical safety and the ability to detect polyps in a human colon.
Cindy Murray, Director of Marketing
DrugDev’s mission is to improve and speed up the clinical trial process. This is something the industry and clinical trial sites are open to, but the challenge has been offering solutions that interact with existing systems and help pharma companies and CROs collaborate more with sites, while providing an intuitive, attractive user interface people actually want to use.
Furthermore, DrugDev is taking a surgical knife to the entire process, questioning each part of the trial, and coming up with better ways to manage the business end of trials by driving standards, implementing beautiful technology and improving processes so drug makers can do more trials. Currently, nine of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies and four of the top five CROs use DrugDev technology to make their trials more efficient and to better engage with the investigators. These solutions include:
- Site activation including site selection using DrugDev’s proprietary global network of 80,000 active investigators, execution of clinical trial agreements and collection and management of essential documents.
- The largest specialized site payment solution with more than $1 billion processed globally.
- Training, site engagement and workflow optimization on the award-winning DrugDev TrialNetworks platform.
- The SiteCloud platform which integrates investigator and site data to create a clean and secure hosted information system.
DrugDev technology also powers the revolutionary Investigator Databank collaboration and the TransCelerate Investigator Registry (launching soon). Featuring a universal identifier known as the DrugDev Golden Number, the platform matches and masters site and investigator profiles from multiple disparate data sources to create a single source of the truth for more informed site selection decisions and improved investigator relationships.
Heather Aton, Chief Innovation Officer
As part of its ongoing commitment to innovation in healthcare marketing and communications, Dudnyk was abuzz in 2015 with new activities and experiments. The company delivered updated platform technologies, including the completely new and different Proscape for rapid custom app development. And with the help of digital strategy guru Jay Baer and Convince & Convert, Dudnyk completed a successful content marketing pilot, leveraging social media and drawing on influencer marketing tools, as well as new analytics tracking software like Rival IQ.
The agency also focused on internal innovations by creating a business planning and operations group, as well as formalizing its analytics, search, social community, content strategy and media capabilities. Dudnyk also experimented with how employees interact. The company invested in interactive white boarding so that team meetings could take place among members in multiple locations. And going against the open office trend, Dudnyk evolved its physical space to ensure every employee has storage and privacy, and can customize his or her workspace. The company also refined its business process with the assistance of advanced project management software for intranet workflow and calendaring and the rollout of a sophisticated new client onboarding process.
But perhaps the biggest sign of Dudnyk’s commitment to innovation and its understanding that it must be a part of the company’s culture is the creation of a dedicated innovation unit. The new Dudnyk Innovation Lab will include a website that aggregates the breadth of Dudnyk content related to new ideas in healthcare strategy, technology and digital communications.
greyhealth group (ghg)
Lynn O’Connor Vos, CEO
“Communication is the cure.” That is ghg’s mantra to help clients navigate today’s disrupted marketplace. But disruption is not always a bad thing as several trends are actually working in favor of positive change such as the shift from products to outcomes, the growing personalization of health content, and a renewed national will to stomp out chronic disease. ghg helps pharma companies become transparent, coordinated care brands while demystifying and simplifying the healthcare deliver experience through several new offerings and strategies.
ghg was the first healthcare agency to partner with IBM Watson. Since it continuously learns through interaction, Watson helps consumers with information overload by processing millions of gigabytes of healthcare data, and by directing answers to the specific needs of the patient. Currently, ghg is developing prototypes for healthcare consumer use, including the next generation of text4baby—a leading mobile tool for expectant mothers.
The company also recently acquired a minority interest in OptimizeRx Corporation, a software company whose content-delivery platform enables pharmaceutical companies to provide on-demand patient-care services, including e-prescribing financial support in EHRs at the point of care. Together, ghg and OptimizeRx will build an online medium that helps healthcare companies offer services at the point of care, where it can be most helpful and valuable to the patient.
ghg also developed the first vertical STREAM health (un)conference, which was hosted by WPP. In the (un)conference format, there are no keynote speeches or PowerPoint presentations. Instead, start-ups and major life science companies came together to openly share ideas about business development and healthcare transformation. One attendee from Google called it, “A perfect blend of networking, fun, brainstorming and learning.”
Good Works Health, Inc.
Joseph Grace, Chief Executive Officer and Founder
Good Works Health’s cause-marketing platform provides the pharmaceutical industry with a unique opportunity to engage efficiently with medical professionals while generating good will with the healthcare community. Any time a medical professional engages with the company’s platform for just a few minutes, they are raising money toward their favorite charities.
Medical professionals just have to review practice relevant material and provide feedback to Good Works’ sponsors, and the company’s sponsors will donate money to any IRS-recognized public charity of their choice. This is the only government-approved platform to provide this type of marketing program.
Good Works not only delivers content to a specific target audience, but also captures granular, real-time customer level data, helping clients strengthen relationships, improve access and facilitate meaningful dialog with HCPs. The platform supports existing marketing strategies and is customized to meet each brand’s marketing needs. Industry clients have implemented the platform to drive HCP engagement with their sales force, difficult or no-see targets and live events such as conferences, expos, dinner meetings and webinars.
Essentially, the company has created a win-win-win for the healthcare community. HCPs access important practice-relevant information, charities receive a new source of funds and industry content is delivered with greater understanding of HCP perceptions and prescribing behaviors. So far, more than $2.2 million has been donated to nearly 2,000 charities with 95% of HCPs ranking their experience as good to excellent. The platform also averages 15 minutes of engagement by participant, a 97% participant completion rate and a measured ROI of 415%.
Improved Patient Outcomes, Inc.
Greg A. Muffler, CEO & Founder
Improved Patient Outcomes, Inc. (IPO) is a joint venture between Duke University Dept. of Medicine and the private sector, with the goal of driving innovative solutions that boost medication adherence by 15% to 20% as well as patient engagement and patient outcomes. The company has at its disposal dynamic, evidence-based behavioral intervention content for more than 90 disease states. This comprehensive armament of material is from more than $80 million spent on 18 years of research at Duke University. This content can then be delivered through a multichannel patient engagement platform including mobile, web, SMS, email, IVR, live call, face-to-face and direct mail. Leveraging hundreds of predictive indicators, IPO can determine what intervention to send to what patient at one time.
For example, in a Pharma Foundation funded pilot, low income, Medicaid patients with high cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk received tri-weekly text/SMS and monthly calls to help address CVD-related medication adherence. This is typically a challenging group of individuals to reach (low income [average of less than 10k annual salary], low literacy, adults with competing needs), but 12 months after starting IPO’s program more than 90% of the patients were still engaged with the program.
In another program, patients with ACS from four different Veterans Administration Medical Centers (VAMCs) were randomized to a one year intervention program comprised of pharmacist-led medication reconciliation and tailoring, patient education, collaborative care between pharmacist and primary care provider/cardiologist and voice messaging. In the intervention group, 87% of patients were adherent compared to 72% in the usual care group. The median pharmacy refill adherence was also higher in the intervention group.
Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide
Shaun Urban, Managing Partner
One of the core principles at Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide (OCHWW) is what they call the Big IdeaL, which begins with a simple statement and challenge: “We believe the world would be a better place if….” For OCHWW, they believe that the world would be a better place if they could bring out the inner greatness in brands, organizations and their people. That is exactly what the company is doing through some of their most recent innovations.
Element Access is an iPad-based marketing platform that makes formulary and coverage information easy for physicians to access (see example below). Sales reps can custom tailor information to each of their physicians, which helps them to prescribe brands with more confidence knowing the medication is actually covered by the patient’s insurance and at what cost.
OCHWW also launched their Electronic Health Records (EHR) program which provides product information and personalized service to physicians via an in-work-flow messaging platform that enhances the relationship with a physician’s customers and drives improved patient outcomes by delivering messages at the times that are most convenient for the physician and most beneficial to the patient.
Yet another example of the company’s innovative abilities is its Clinical Decision Making initiative. This service identifies the gaps between current and desired behaviors at different stages of the patient care pathway and then ascertains how to close those gaps. It does this by going beyond just motivational factors to additionally interrogate capability and opportunity. It also considers “automatic” drivers of behavior such as heuristics and biases, drawing from the literature specific to clinical behavior. The service has been already adopted by clients in the fields of neurology, oncology, rheumatology and metabolic disorders.
Rx EDGE Pharmacy Networks
Kathleen Bonetti, Vice President of Marketing
Imagine a pharmaceutical marketing vehicle that reaches a large audience of potential patients when they are seeking healthcare information and answers. A vehicle whose effectiveness and ROI are measurable and unequivocally proven across a multitude of brands and categories. A vehicle that makes use of comprehensive targeting tools to deliver maximum precision. Rx EDGE Pharmacy Networks had the foresight to “imagine” this concept as an innovative alternative, or addition, to the various media forms being deployed by pharmaceutical companies.
Rx EDGE’s Solutions at the Shelf is an outside-the-box vehicle (i.e., neither digital, nor “traditional” like TV and print ads) that reaches patients in the pharmacies when they are browsing the aisles looking for information and treatments. While the program isn’t new this year, Rx EDGE did introduce a new platform in 2015 to ensure Solutions at the Shelf programs were reaching the optimal audience in the best markets.
Insight EDGE is an enhanced suite of targeting resources that Rx EDGE developed in partnership with Retail Intelligence, Inc., a leader in store-level research and analytics. Insight EDGE combines prior targeting tools with new capabilities to result in a greater scope of data solutions. Resources for Insight EDGE include prescription product distribution, geographic/demographic profile factors, brand/category develop indices, shopper traffic information, audience composition and DMAs.
Rx EDGE has attracted a record number of new brands to its programs this year and continues to deliver an average of 9.8% in prescription volume lift with a return on investment exceeding $5.
Don Creswell, Co-Founder & Vice President
It is hardly news that forecasts are unreliable, contentious and subject to considerable gamesmanship and politics. Here is how the process typically plays out: John, the product manager, is charged with producing next year’s forecast for a new medical device. He produces a spreadsheet analysis that includes his staff’s assumptions—reasonable but not too ambitious projections of first-year unit sales, costs and margins. It is now his job to defend his forecast against the wishes of his division head’s ambitions to make a better showing to top management.
Because there is considerable uncertainty about the factors that will affect the success of his device, John needs a way to provide a forecast that convinces his boss and avoids arguments about single-point assumptions. To help people like John, SmartOrg enterprise software draws on the management science of decision analysis, delivered by business model templates that include variables such as market size, addressable market, market penetration, cost and other factors.
Based on the most current knowledge available, John and his team can enter low-, mid-, and high-ranges for each variable, reflecting their best assessments. When each variable in the model has been assessed and ranges assigned, the computer will run every possible combination (called Monte Carlo or decision tree analysis) and produce a chart that reveals a clear picture of the impact of uncertainty on achieving forecast value (see example below). Given this information, John and his boss can have an objective discussion around what is possible, where the risks lie and where resources can be applied to improve the upside for the company.
Jennifer Matthews, Managing Partner
Innovation is part of The Bloc’s DNA. The company’s guiding mantra is creativity is a mind-set, not a skill set, which reminds employees to infuse creative thinking into everything they do in order to drive innovation in the service of clients by delivering creative solutions for their business problems as well as their brands. In the last year alone, The Bloc has introduced several industry-changing innovations.
For example, agencies typically respond to client requests with the same mind-set to impress and over-deliver—an approach that is mismatched to the real client requirements for lower complexity assignments. The BlocSky system, however, applies rigor, structure and metrics to this approach, reducing the time and expense involved in handling less complex projects. This fundamentally alters the way clients allocate budget, driving maximum efficiencies that benefit their bottom line, thus allowing investment in initiatives that benefit top-line growth.
In June, The Bloc created the Caregivers Speak Up social platform to put a spotlight on the more than 34 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S. The program includes a website, video series and Facebook page where caregivers can share their stories and create lasting bonds. The Bloc also created Caregiver Connect, a new division that will provide scientific and ethnographic expertise around caregivers and support clients’ needs to communicate specifically with this audience.
And over this past year, The Bloc also productized an analytics-based scoring methodology for customer engagement that attributes user-initiated actions to content and channels. This proprietary software called SCOREboard, built on industry-leading data visualization software to optimize content and media in near real time as well as serve as an asset used for segmentation, targeting, ROI framework development and brand-planning decisions.
The Patient Experience Project
Dan Bobear, President
The Patient Experience Project (PEP) is one healthcare communication firm that is actually delivering on the promise of patient centricity. When it comes to developing strategies and creating programs and content, PEP ensures patients and caregivers have a seat at the table and a voice in the process. While that sounds simple enough, that strategy is bringing transformative change to both the patient communities and the healthcare industry.
The value and effectiveness of PEP’s co-creation approach was evident in a campaign to help a pharmaceutical company market an FDA-approved medication for a rare form of epilepsy. PEP uncovered insights that mattered to patients and caregivers. A multi-tiered campaign was then implemented, including a new online, on-demand mentor program for caregivers populated with co-created content, as well as a new unbranded Facebook page that has grown to more than 50,000 “likes” in the year-and-a-half since its debut—that’s for a disease that only affects about two in every 100,000 children each year.
Another example is when PEP helped a pharma company recruit children with an ultra-rare genetic disorder for a clinical trial. PEP worked with members of the advocacy community to understand why its members were reluctant to participate, connected with participants to co-create content about their experience, and leveraged the advocacy Facebook page to distribute the content via a targeted media campaign that drove potential participants to an online registration form. By the end of the campaign, the company had successfully recruited the children needed to conduct and complete the trial.
PEP’s “win-win” co-creation approach is improving the patient experience, while also helping companies to enhance their reputations and, ultimately, bottom lines.
Greg Cohen, Global Multichannel Solutions Lead
UCB’s commitment to generating patient value has always been core to its business, such as when UCB surveyed almost 300 patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals in order to get an idea of what patients truly value in their healthcare experience. Combining the insights from this survey with additional trends research, the company formed UCBCares with the goal of developing a single source solution center for patients and stakeholders. Since implementation, customer satisfaction scores have soared from 73% to a quarterly average of nearly 98%.
This year, UCB took patient value creation to a new level when it defined the patient as the true customer and created a new organizational model in which UCB is no longer organized by function, but by the patient value it wants to create. This has facilitated cross-functional teams working at every level of the organization to be as close as possible to the patients and delivering the optimal outcomes.
One such project focused on a new bill proposed by Congress that would bring enhanced transparency to the Drug Enforcement Agency scheduling process, which for some controlled medicines can take more than 237 days, keeping valuable, approved medicines out of the hands of patients. A cross-functional group at UCB (including senior leadership) launched #Stories2Impact, a social media advocacy campaign allowing patients to share stories with legislators so that they would vote in ways that create value for patients.
This is just one example of how UCB is empowering people living with severe chronic diseases to take a more active role in developing products and programs to help them live the life they choose rather than the one dictated by their disease.