PM360’s Innovations Issue, established five 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 strategies of 2016, which include never-before-tried approaches that are changing how the industry operates.
“Dancing With Myself”
Annie Diaz-Roberts, PharmD, Global Associate Medical Director
The world’s understanding of epilepsy has come a long way in recent years. But there is always more to learn. Even physicians who devote their lives to treating this disease cannot truly know what a seizure feels like.
That is why UCB sponsored “Dancing With Myself,” an In My Shoes project written and produced by Jane Gauntlett of differencEngine. Together with Jane and GSW—an inVentiv Health company responsible for amplifying the solution—UCB tapped into the power of virtual reality (VR) technology to create the ultimate learning experience.
“Dancing With Myself” provides an opportunity for physicians, as well as people who work closely with the epilepsy community, to experience a seizure firsthand from the perspective of Jane, an adult living with epilepsy. It is a groundbreaking project inspired by a simple idea: Greater empathy for those living with epilepsy leads directly to a deeper understanding—and ultimately better patient care.
The immersive VR experience premiered at the 2015 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting in the UCB-sponsored Innovation Pavilion. Working with 3D Exhibits, the three partner organizations designed a space for 16 participants that mirrors the restaurant scene in the video experience. The exhibit was accompanied by interactive touchscreen displays for attendees to explore. Promotion included a printed 3D invitation and a microsite with snippets from the film in HTML5, as well as preregistration for guests to reserve their spot.
Since debuting a year ago, the VR experience has been presented to more than 1,000 healthcare professionals worldwide at other international conferences and other local epilepsy meetings. “Dancing With Myself” has proven to be quite the experience with qualitative feedback including statements from epileptologists, such as, “I now see epilepsy in a whole new way,” “I was physically moved,” and “The best educational experience I have ever seen any pharma company do, EVER.”
Lauren Murphy, Associate Director, Public Relations
In the pharmaceutical industry, it can be daunting to successfully leverage new tools that help engage patients and healthcare providers, while still remaining compliant with applicable laws and FDA regulations. In the oral anticoagulant space, Boehringer Ingelheim has been at the forefront of innovation since the launch of its novel oral anticoagulant (NOAC), Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate), which was followed in October 2015 by the launch of the first reversal agent for a NOAC. And while it was innovating to bring a reversal agent to market, Boehringer Ingelheim was simultaneously developing a new and unique tool to help its salesforce engage with HCPs.
Earlier this summer, the company launched a video that, when watched on a smartphone using a Google Cardboard VR viewer, virtually transported doctors to a 3D environment where they could see in great detail how the reversal agent works.
HCPs have a limited amount of time, and keeping up with the latest innovations in medicine can be difficult. Boehringer Ingelheim is addressing this by using a mechanism of action video viewed in a Google Cardboard device to educate doctors about NOAC reversal, while still being respectful of their busy schedules. While the rollout of the video is ongoing, initial feedback has been positive, with one HCP being so impressed with the technology that he immediately grabbed his peers and encouraged them to watch the video as well.
Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to improving the lives of patients by taking an innovative approach to medicine, patient care and education, and using VR to educate HCPs is just the latest example of this.
Heart and Stroke Ball Interactive Displays
CDM New York
Franklin Williams, Vice President, Technical Director
Since 1924, the American Heart Association (AHA) has been dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Each year, the AHA’s flagship fundraising effort is the Heart and Stroke Ball. CDM NY set out to help promote this important fundraiser by reminding donors of the significant impact they can have on families affected by heart disease and stroke.
To do so, CDM NY created four interactive monitors, each featuring a child engaging in a specific activity. Each monitor was connected to a podium holding a stethoscope. From the monitor, attendees were prompted to, “See what happens when you put your heart into it” and to place the stethoscope over their heart. The stethoscope was specifically designed to detect the action of being placed over the user’s heart, so as attendees placed the stethoscope over their chests, one of the child’s relatives—alive thanks to an AHA innovation—was brought into the scene on the screen to join the child in the activity that they had been performing alone.
Whether the result was a father and his daughter dancing together or a granddaughter-grandfather duet, the attendee witnessed the impact of these lives saved. To further demonstrate what their support means, the child’s family member was designed to fade away as soon as the stethoscope was removed from the attendee’s heart and come back in when the stethoscope was pressed back to the chest.
More than one thousand Heart and Stroke Ball attendees “put their heart into it” at this year’s gala. In part, this experience, helped to raise $1 million, which will be used to benefit new and ongoing projects funded by the AHA.
MedTech Expo at Cannes Lions
Omnicom Health Group
Jo Ann Saitta, Chief Digital Officer
The annual Cannes Festival in France brings together thousands of people from around the world to celebrate innovations in creativity. In 2014, the festival added a new component dedicated solely to healthcare: Lions Health. But Omnicom Health Group identified a gap and suggested an innovative addition to the conference: The first-ever MedTech Expo at Cannes Lions.
This specially curated exhibition introduced the most innovative companies in MedTech and represented a diverse, global mix of technologies and organizations, covering: Cognitive computing and big data; wearables and home health devices; virtual and augmented reality; telemedicine and video visits; personalized medicine and genomics; artificial intelligence; and 3D printing. The exhibitors were: Twitter, IBM Watson, Annalect, Google, iVenturesHealth, Sutrue, and Validic.
Sutrue was actually one of the Expo’s write-in attendees, as Omnicom welcomed outside companies who saw it as a way to bring their innovative technologies to a wider group of people. Suture creates medical grade suturing devices through 3D printing.
The Inaugural MedTech Expo took place June 18th–19th 2016, and since then Omnicom Health Group has been approached by several pharmaceutical companies and payers interested in applying artificial intelligence for deeper patient insights, leveraging internal data, as well as external clinical information to improve communications with patients. Additionally, through the company’s partnership with Validic, which was announced at the conference, Omnicom is now using wearables to accelerate patient-reported outcomes.
Following the success of the first MedTech Expo, Cannes Lions Health has asked Omnicom Health Group to once again host the event for next year with Google and IBM Watson already committed to take part.
Minimal Residual Disease Interactive Learning Game
Mazi Farzam, President, Inhance Digital
Amgen Oncology knows that the persistence of cancerous cells after treatment may lead to disease relapse, so the company needed an engaging way to teach physicians about new, more effective ways to detect residual disease. The solution was a unique interactive game that takes players through various detection methods for minimal residual disease (MRD) in hematologic malignancies.
Initially, the game would be rolled out at Amgen’s exhibits at industry events such as the annual meetings of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Inhance Digital built an interactive educational activity for Amgen that provides a deeper understanding of the concept of MRD, taking players through four rounds of game content, focused on the detection methods of responses to therapy, including morphological analysis, flow cytometry, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and next-generation sequencing (NGS).
First, tradeshow attendees were attracted to Amgen’s exhibit using vibrant colors and inviting sounds from a series of Microsoft Surface Pro tablets facing the pedestrian traffic flow, in addition to a 75-inch monitor playing an “attract loop” and game-scores leaderboard.
Each tablet displayed a similar “attract loop” until touched. Each game round included three multiple-choice questions related to MRD assessment. Correct answers initiated detailed animations of cellular biology, underscoring the concepts of searching deeper into identifying abnormal cells.
At the end of each game, players were asked to enter their name and area of expertise—information that was used to display scores on the leaderboard and give Amgen additional insight into those engaging with the game.
Hundreds have played the game, and hundreds more have learned through the gameplay now available on the Amgen Oncology website: http://bit.ly/2g5ukJx.
Music Therapy Platform
Larry Mickelberg, President, Havas Lynx US
Imagine this scenario in a doctor’s office somewhere near you sometime in the not-too-distant future. A doctor and a patient are sitting together looking at a smartphone screen. “Mr. Smith, the results are back and we’ve uploaded your treatment schedule to the app. It’s 10 minutes of Lady Gaga after your morning medication, five minutes of Sting with your lunchtime medication, and 15 minutes of Mozart after your evening meds. And don’t worry—there’s no risk of overdosing.”
Music as medication? Doctors prescribing playlists? Really? Actually, it’s not as improbable as it might sound. Medical professionals have found that using music in clinical settings can have a positive effect on blood pressure, blood flow, pain, and anxiety for cardiac patients. In fact, the Havas Lynx team has identified more 250 active clinical trials in the music therapy space.
The agency’s new Music Therapy platform is a partnership between Havas Lynx and corporate cousins at Vivendi’s Universal Music Group (Havas and Vivendi are parts of the Bolloré Group, based in France). The vision for this partnership is to be the commercial leader in the application of music to health, across two dimensions:
Clinical: To partner, promote, support, and/or help create clinical trials and other scientific research examining the role of music as therapy and create learning and test environments to evaluate and scenario plan for research, evidence, reimbursement models, etc.
Commercial: To create new mechanisms for music discovery matched to health conditions and journeys, including the development of curated (by health experts, artists, or producers) music/playlists shown to be effective in conditions or treatments.
The partnership will also use music to build and enhance brand activations, in TV, video, and digital campaigns.
Orchestrated Customer Engagement
Richie Etwaru, Chief Digital Officer
Orchestrated Customer Engagement (OCE) is an innovative new strategy from QuintilesIMS that helps life sciences companies enhance the value of customer interactions by coordinating the activities of all customer-facing teams including sales, marketing, medical, and customer service. OCE makes it easy for the members of these teams to communicate and collaborate, and to enable useful experiences for HCPs. Like other individuals, HCPs have come to expect this kind of orchestration, because they experience it every day as they engage in banking, retail shopping, even government transactions.
The coordination enabled by OCE leads to greater trust which, in turn, leads to improved results. And by producing more efficient internal operations, OCE can also result in significant cost savings and more rapid responses to market changes.
Typically, life sciences companies are organized as a series of disconnected vertical silos, a structure that they developed for good reason, but now limits their ability to provide coordinated customer experiences. OCE creates horizontal integration across key customer-engagement activities, leverages shared data and predictive analytics, and supports it all with a foundation of robust information management.
The increased organizational efficiency achieved with OCE not only contributes to greater transparency and integrated processes throughout the company, but can also lead to improved profitability and ROI, lower costs, and faster time-to-market for new therapies. With the data-driven insights and greater agility that OCE provides, companies can also anticipate and respond more effectively to market changes, giving them a competitive advantage.
Companies that want to implement OCE can start by using their existing systems, leveraging their previous investments, and building on their current skills and resources as they work toward full orchestration.
Keri Hettel, VP, Group Director of Analytics
Every savvy pharmaceutical company grapples with the question of how to truly optimize their marketing spend to drive business impact—lift in prescription writing behavior. In 2016, Razorfish Health developed an innovative approach, Physician Attribution, to gather deeper physician’s insights and achieve that impact. This approach is a novel methodology that facilitates insight generation by tying together a number of different data insights to tell a more complete story about the physician and marketing impact.
The first phase of the approach is enabling a cross-channel, full eco-system attribution methodology. Through this, Razorfish can understand the most common digital pathways, including specific media touchpoints, which drive valued actions on clients’ websites. The agency is able to look at these pathways uniquely and over time.
The second phase is focused on implementing custom approaches to increase the volume of physician data through high-performing media channels or activity-driving techniques. This enables the agency to observe all digital channels that a physician might have been exposed to on the way to, for example, downloading a savings card on a brandhcp.com.
The third phase is developing a data infrastructure that allows the connection of pathway insights, with attitudinal data and offline prescribing data. For example, if the agency observes trends or new patterns, such as changes in prescribing behavior, it can connect those changes at a physician level back to exposures to media.
This Physician Attribution innovative approach drives a deep, holistic view of a physician’s digital profile to more effectively impact physicians’ writing behavior. It allows companies to definitively see not only what media impacts physician writing behavior, but also what types of content or activities are important to individual physicians.
Through Thick and Thin Tumblr
AbbVie/Digitas Health LifeBrands
Natalie Cuttic, Group Account Supervisor, Digitas Health LifeBrands
The average life span of a person living with cystic fibrosis (CF) is approximately 37 years. Teens with CF face unique challenges as they transition to take on more responsibility in their treatment management. The challenge: Develop a CRM stream that helps a notoriously hard-to-reach group of teen patients remember to take their enzymes during their most crucial years of life.
The answer: Digitas Health LifeBrands (DHLB) created the Through Thick and Thin Tumblr blog in 2016 with AbbVie, Inc. Through Thick and Thin strives to articulate the teen perspective across a range of health topics in which teens with CF actively share and consume information with their peers and catalog their personal experiences with the condition.
Content includes topics helpful to teens living with CF, including medication management and adherence, symptom identification, working with their care team, nutrition, motivation, and inspiration. For a group who cannot be together physically due to health risks, Through Thick and Thin not only gives teens with CF the support they need, but also connects them to a community that “gets” them. Teenagers with CF who engage in their health are more likely to live longer lives.
Teens are engaging with Through Thick and Thin content in record numbers: The blog has more than 5,000 followers, many of whom are “CFers” expressing their appreciation for the blog. Tumblr’s health and wellness benchmark for content reblog rate is 6% to 9%—Through Thick and Thin is at 38%. More than one-third of the content on Through Thick and Thin is being shared, and much of this success is happening organically, because CFers are repeatedly engaging with the blog’s content and message.
Whole Patient Needs
MicroMass Communications, Inc.
Chad Benditz, Marketing and PR Specialist
In today’s healthcare environment, there is more pressure to deliver optimal patient outcomes with greater efficiency. To stay relevant, pharma needs to find ways to deliver solutions that have a real-world impact. Patient services are the ideal channel to impact patient outcomes and optimize experience on therapy. But, in order to truly make an impact, the model needs to change. The needs of the whole patient should be addressed.
MicroMass’ Whole Patient Needs approach checks all the boxes—product differentiation, ease of product access, and meeting the functional and psychosocial needs of the patient. Patients need knowledge and access to the product, but that’s not enough to improve health outcomes. The Whole Patient Needs approach supplements conventional awareness efforts with active motivation and skill-building programs. This method accelerates product awareness and adoption to drive optimal outcomes. Brands can now go beyond simply addressing functional needs and make a much larger impact with patients.
While traditional patient education programs impact patient adherence at a rate of 2% to 10%, MicroMass Behavioral-Health Psychology Programs impact patient adherence at a rate of 20% to 300%. Additionally, a MicroMass’ support program offered a 22% increase in the number of prescriptions during a four-month period (vs. patients not enrolled in program).
MicroMass leverages evidence-based techniques from behavioral science such as cognitive behavioral techniques, health coaching, problem-solving, self-affirmation, and coping strategies to address whole patient needs. These approaches aren’t about providing tips or persuading patients to make changes. They are fundamentally different because they engage patients in a way that actively shifts attitudes, builds skills, and changes behavior.