Blog - Author: Yishai Knobel

Specialty Pharma Can Learn from Tinder – Part I

by Yishai Knobel,

You’re at the doctor’s office, just after learning that you or your loved one has a disease you’ve never heard of. The doctor says it’s not a death sentence but in the same breath describes an overwhelming regimen of lab tests, weekly injections, nutritional guidelines and pills with scary names. Your mind is flooded: What is this? How will I pay for it? What will happen to my family? What will my friends say? How will we treat it? What will I have to change? Who can possibly understand what I am going through?

Now imagine you can pick up your smartphone, and swipe to find five other people around your age, maybe even from your city or state, who have been living with the same disease for quite some time. They can’t make the disease go away and it still sucks, but they’ve offered to lend a hand – or a shoulder to cry on – that might make dealing with it easier. Meet Jane, her daughter was born with a rare condition and she can offer insights on a helpful exercise routine or diet tips. Or perhaps Anne is a better fit – she was recently diagnosed and has already tried a number of treatments about which she has many opinions.

Companies like Uber, Tinder and LinkedIn have brought “matchmaking” technologies to dating, job hunting, networking and ride-sharing. It is convenient, instantaneous, feels personal and can be so effective that couples get married after “the internet introduced them”. So it only makes sense that such technologies may also benefit in a situation like the above, in the lobby of the doctor’s office, flooded with questions.

In the specialty health sphere, on top of sending shockwaves through the lives of the entire family, and overwhelming the daily routine with notoriously complex specialty , a new diagnosis also may bring extreme loneliness upon the individual, a result of the small size of many patient populations. In such small patient groups, the impact of successful matchmaking can make the difference between desperation and hope.

This is why we are so excited by the patent Helparound was recently granted, for our unique algorithm for matching patients with similar others. Matchmaking can be so important in helping an individual navigate through tricky insurance issues, getting used to a new, complex treatment, accessing new treatments if necessary and, most important, staying motivated. Or in our industry jargon, patient matchmaking technologies may help drive therapy Access, Activation and Adherence.

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In Specialty Pharma, a Sleeping Bear is Waking Up to Digital

by Yishai Knobel,

Pop quiz: who picks up the phone when you call a Pharma’s Patient Support Program? Hint: it’s usually not the Pharma itself.

Here at Helparound, we focus on the challenges a life-changing diagnosis brings upon individuals and their families, when an entire family’s life is turned upside down by the news of a disease to manage, and thrown into a whirlpool of Providers, Payers and Pharmacies to navigate their new reality. Yet one massive stakeholder in the newly diagnosed patient’s world is struggling to reach them: the Patient Hub, the therapy manufacturer’s patient-services proxy.

Because regulation blocks Pharmas from talking directly to patients – but specialty therapies, frequently biologics, require guidance and patient services so treatment regimens are carried out correctly and safely – Patient Hubs are the intrinsic patient communication arm for the Pharma. Hubs are an extremely important piece of the puzzle for people dealing with chronic disease and high burden therapy, yet many people don’t even know they exist or what they can do to help.

Speaking to numerous Hubs, we found that while other patient-facing players, e.g. providers, have been adopting patient engagement technologies , Hubs mainly work through traditional CRM systems and call centers. Hubs offer wonderful “wrap-around” services to patients by staffing their call centers with credentialed nurses and pharmacists, according to the 2017 Hub Services Report (Pharmaceutical Commerce). But there are many ways to support patients beyond their bi-weekly or monthly call from the nurse. (Full disclosure: Helparound fills the gaps between these calls through mobile: http://helparound.co)

Hubs are projected to support a $165B industry of specialty therapies in 2018. Specialty therapies accounted for 28% of the pharmacy industry’s prescription dispensing revenues in 2016 according to Drug Channel. With the current expansion of specialty treatments, this percentage is projected to grow to 42% by 2021. Yet today only 19% of patients are even aware of Hub Services (Accenture). Patients should know there are support channels available to them – and It’s time to bring this indispensable aspect of the patient communication chain to a mobile, patient-friendly platform.

About Helparound: We believe families facing a life changing conditions need more than an online brochure and a monthly phone call from a nurse. Helparound is activating the Hub-revolution: to extend patient Hub services through a highly personalized mobile platform, to deliver the support these families deserve.

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6 Patient Support Rules-of-Thumb for Pharma Marketers

by Yishai Knobel,

Recent Deloitte Review on patient services paints a clear picture on patient services by Pharmas:  70% of surveyed life science executives indicated that their organizations were moderately/somewhat ready to implement effective patient engagement strategies, and more than half (55%) felt they needed to be “extremely ready” in the next two years.

And indeed, some initial efforts by pharma companies have emerged around it:  Biogen’s Above MS, Genzyme’s MS One to One, AstraZeneca’s AZ & Me clinical education and prescription savings programs and Abbvie’s Humira Complete support program for all of Humira’s autoimmune indications.

Such patient services span many different aspects of the patient’s life, but Deloitte highlights the following key needs to address in patient services: Financial, Clinical, Engagement, Therapy, and Education.  That said, in conversations with our pharma partners at HelpAround,  we often see good ideas running into unnecessary user-experience pitfalls.

So we set to summarize these conversations into 6 patient support rules of thumb, regardless of therapeutic area.

And here it goes:

  1. Frequent – securing recurring slots in your patients’ attention is one of the most challenging tasks nowadays.  However, marketing a therapy for a chronic condition has the “benefit” that the patient has already allotted a mental slot to squeeze into.   The more frequent your services are used, the stronger the connection you would build with the patient.  The task for frequent usage medication is easier than for bi-weekly injections for instance, but the latter has a greenfield of opportunity in between.
  2. Timely – just like an effective push notifications on your smartphone, patient services need to be timely.  Does taking your therapy require travel?  call them an Uber;  does it require fasting?  find them a breakfast spot for the morning.
  3. Personalized – consumers have zero tolerance to copy-paste offerings.  The personalization bar is incredibly high and requires an effort to personalize service offerings.  Age, sex, behavioral profile:  all these are available today by companies like HelpAround, Neura, Medisafe, HelloHeart and more;  don’t ignore them.
  4. Actionable – a patient service that is not actionable leaves the patient in passive mode.   Ask the patient to claim the offered service.   They’d appreciate it more if they “worked” for it.
  5. Bold – patient services is where brand teams can go really wild.  Look at the patient journey that you have developed, and find friction points to alleviate.   Is it prescription refills?  a free Uber ride to the clinic?  what else?
  6. Consistent with your message – living life to the fullest,  sense of security, etc. – you have already positioned your therapy in your DtC communication.   If it has worked well, then your patient service offering should be consistent with your message.  If it’s about lifestyle, then offer lifestyle services;  if simplicity – find ways to make their life easier, etc.

 

What are some of the effective (or ineffective) patient support strategies you have seen out there? 

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Alert your family from your Apple Watch

by Yishai Knobel,

When we launched the Alert app back in July, we wanted give our loved ones a way to reach us easily.  Our children, parents and grandparents needed a better way to reach us when in distress.  The existing, antiquated panic buttons we gave our aging family members screamed, ‘I might need help!’.  As a result, many forgot or refused to wear them due to the stigma associated with them, not wanting to come off as dependent and helpless.

Today, we are super excited to introduce Alert for the Apple Watch, offering our aging population a convenient, accessible, and elegant way to reach us in times of need.   Alert for Apple Watch gives them back their independence and allows them to go around freely with peace of mind, and while looking as elegant as ever with a beautiful Apple Watch!

Alert for Apple Watch is available on the App Store, which can be found on the Apple Watch app on iPhone under the Featured tab. The users’ alert contacts don’t need to use a smartphone to receive alerts. The basic app is available for free and includes the text message service and three conference calls. An upgraded subscription is available for $9.95 a month and includes unlimited calls.

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Knowing when your loved one needs you

by Yishai Knobel,

Alert-image

“It’s not just for me, it’s for HER”, Bethany pointed at her 6-year-old daughter who was having lunch with us outside HelpAround’s offices last week.  “If my sugars ever go too low and I pass out, I would want her to press ONE big button on the iPad in order to alert my husband, my mom, and our neighbor”.

Since we developed Diabetes Helpers, we’ve seen thousands of strangers stepping up to help each other, but we also learned how much fear our users have to cope with.  We came to realize how imperative it is for anyone to get a hold of the people they trust the most, in times of distress. This is why we built Alert.

The app is very simple:  pressing a big red button or shaking the phone allows anyone to alert and conference-in the people they trust.  And we designed it not only for the diabetes community, but for anyone living or caring for someone at risk of experiencing physical or emotional distress:  Asthma attacks,  severe allergic reactions,  addiction relapses, panic attacks, dementia-related confusions, Crohn’s flare ups, and the list goes on and on. In all of these moments, our fine motor skills deteriorate and our thinking can become muddled, which makes it difficult to properly navigate a smartphone.  So we made it as easy as a shake of the phone to send an alert.

We hope you like it, and we hope it makes you feel safer and closer to the most trusted people in your lives.

— Yishai & Team HelpAround

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Alert is available for download on iOS, and Android mobile phones.

 

 

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HelpAround in Israeli digital health UK mission

by Yishai Knobel,

At the end of June 2015,  HelpAround had the pleasure of participating in the Israeli digital health mission to the UK, visiting London and Manchester in two packed days, including meetings with the NHS, AstraZeneca, and more.

The mission was organized by Startup Nation Central in collaboration with the UK Israel Tech Hub.  We had the pleasure of attending alongside companies Zebra Medical Vision,  Healthy.io, Telesofia Medical, MedAware, Veritas Venture Partners,  and Tel Aviv Venture Partners.

 

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HelpAround Digital Health Startup joins as first member of SOSA Tel-Aviv Startup Community

by Yishai Knobel,

It was designed to facilitate the discovery and matching of people who can help each other but otherwise wouldn’t be able to. No, we’re not talking about HelpAround – we’re talking about SOSA, where the app was created and is expanding every day!

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