Based in New York City and Arlington, VA, health information and technology company Remedy Health Media has become one of America’s leading providers of clinical resources and wellness tools for patients and caregivers, offering services (such as the point-of-care publications RemedyMD and Diabetes Focus and the Health Central Network of websites including TheBody.com and HealthCentral.com) that reach over 150 million people each year. One of the leaders responsible for the company’s recent growth and success is Jim Curtis, who joined Remedy in June 2011 after almost five years as the Vice President and Publisher at Everyday Health, Inc. and previously Director of Strategic Partnerships at WebMD. As Remedy’s CRO, Curtis is responsible for Sales, Business Development and Marketing strategy across all of Remedy Health Media’s enterprise, digital, print and mobile product lines. His focus is on driving digital growth for the company while creating advertising solutions that leverage Remedy’s strong multiplatform media solutions. To accomplish those goals, an executive needs to be a “Trendsetter,” so PM360 recently caught up with Curtis to find out what new “remedies” he and the company have planned for the future.
PM360: Can you describe the best sources for acquiring credible health information that will be beneficial to patients? How does Remedy fit in?
Jim Curtis: Leading research firms in our space have identified four key sources of health information that are the most trusted by patients and, in return, are the most influential in their health decision making. The doctor is consistently the most credible source of health information and is followed by the expert patient, as they can talk specifically and credibly about their experiences living with a chronic condition.
Digital health information is a leading influencer, BUT not just any digital health information—credible information. For instance, you can Google GERD and find 60 million related search results on the subject, but what can health information seekers really trust? Trusted sources include third parties and key opinion leaders like Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Another leading influencer is the pharmacist. As patients spend shorter periods of time with their physicians, they are turning more to their local pharmacist for information they can trust.
How important is it that patients get involved in their healthcare discussions, and how can Remedy’s content and tools help?
It is essential that patients are interacting with their healthcare and understand what is happening with healthcare reform as it affects their decision making and how well they can live with their condition. At Remedy, we have aligned our business with all of the most credible sources of health information. We have partnered with EMR providers that allow doctors to provide their patients additional content around their condition and how best to live with it. Online we employ the most noted expert patients to blog and answer questions about living with a condition such as diabetes on HealthCentral.com. We also plan to launch a policy site that will provide the latest news and answers to the most pertinent healthcare issues.
Smartphone and tablet adoption is driving more people to look up health information online or through apps. How does this transition affect marketing strategy, and what can marketers do in order to better reach their audience across multiple channels?
Digital marketing has become a mainstay in the marketing mix and mobile is rapidly growing. It has prompted marketers to understand how patients are consuming digital information and then determine the best way to provide something of value to them that they can consume on the go. It has also strengthened the social marketplace and how people are sharing content. Now, most publishers are becoming mobile optimized, creating Facebook pages, apps, or are finding other ways to interact on a social level.
We’ve found that 20% of our overall audience is coming from mobile devices, smartphones, tablets, etc.— and it has prompted us to develop new products to meet the demand. It seems as though health is the last frontier where you search online and every health site looks the same. They’re all the same colors. They all have the same functionality. Marketers and publishers must ask themselves: How can people interact with their health in the same way that they are interacting with other media —The Huffington Post, Instagram and Pinterest? How do we curate content, or create apps in the health space so that patients can consume content and use tools in the same ecosystem they live the rest of their digital lives in?
We think we’ve done this in part with an application called MyRefill Rx, which is a mobile app specifically designed for patients to remind themselves to stay persistent with their treatments through SMS, email or IVM medication reminders. The app also includes access to a mail-order pharmacy where the patient can instantly fill a 90-day script. Soon patients will use the app to interact with their online communities and find additional sources of health information including video content.
Can you explain what makes Remedy’s mobile adherence offerings like MyRefill Rx and Intelecare.com different from the other adherence solutions out there?
We all know adherence is a major issue for patients and drug manufacturers alike. Remedy adherence products keep patients in better health, save payers money and increase compliance for pharmaceutical companies. Remedy’s system is unique because it is HIPAA and HITECH compliant. It is device agnostic and we have the ability to white label the product for any partner’s site. We’ve been a long-term provider for Cigna, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and others. Unlike most reminder services, Remedy’s adherence users complete a 10-step registration and double opt-in process to set up their treatment and doctor’s appointment reminders, and to get credible content on their conditions. These are more holistic tools.
So does Remedy Health Media offer any other unique or new approaches that can help marketers reach their target audience online?
Remedy reaches more than 150 million people a year in a way that is specifically focused on their health decision making moments. We are constantly developing products to provide more value to them and our partners. Stay tuned for more to come.