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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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Hit by stroke while driving, man gets hold of his family members using Alert app

by Shoshana Nacass,

South Carolina, April 2nd, 2016.

Charles, 53, was driving on Ashley River Road, Charleston SC on Saturday when he suffered a stroke. He had the presence of mind to reach for his phone and tap the Alert button.

One tap was enough for the life-saving app to send an Alert to his family. Both his daughters and wife’s phones buzzed at once with alert text messages notifying them of Charles’ exact location. A phone call automatically followed, and everyone was conferenced-in. Charles’ daughters acted fast: they instructed him to pull over and quickly alerted the emergency services. In no time, Charles was able to receive treatment and was thankfully out of the hospital a few days later.

”I had to use an alert this past weekend when I suffered a stroke on the side of the road. The app worked beautifully to notify three members of my family, call them, and provide them with my exact location where I was located. I cannot thank you enough for the help this little app provided me. Quite literally, it may have saved my life.” (Charles, South Carolina, April 2016)

Following a stroke last May, Charles had done some research before choosing the Alert app.

“ I tested several apps to see which one provided the fewest key strokes to activate while providing multiple forms of contact to my support group (family and/or Doctor). Your app was a hands-down winner.”

An Alert can be triggered seamlessly by tapping the Alert button or shaking the phone — a simple tap on the wrist does it as well for Apple Watch holders.

In critical times, every second counts. Charles is doing better; his recovery was actually quicker since he was allowed to receive treatment so quickly:  ”I am much better now. Because I was able to receive treatment so quickly, my hospital stay was short and my recovery has been much faster.”

About Alert by HelpAround

Alert is the Simplest Way to Call for Help. A simple tap on the Alert Button notifies three emergency contacts, texts them your exact location and conferences-in all of them at once. Alert is a free app available for iPhone, Android and the Apple Watch; unlimited Voice Alerts are offered to premium users. Download the Alert app for free here.

Learn more about the Alert app at www.helparound.co/alert

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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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How a woman with type 1 diabetes, stuck without supplies, was helped out by strangers

by Shoshana Nacass,

Wearing an insulin pump frees you from injections. It gives you flexibility regarding mealtimes, sleeping, and change in routine. No need to wake up your kid extra early for that morning insulin shot. Not need to eat extra to avoid hypoglycemia at night, after miscalculating the amount of insulin injected before dinner. Also, the dose sizes are more precise and can be fine-tuned, which can’t be done with syringes.

Insulin pumps are great and the pump technology significantly improved the life of people touched by diabetes. Yet, pumps don’t relieve them from it all.
Dealing with pump supplies is not easy. Especially if you get stuck without enough supplies because you didn’t pack extra before your trip. Sensors. Infusion sets. Reservoirs. You gotta have them all.

2 weeks ago, someone with type 1 diabetes who lives in Milpitas, CA, posted on the Diabetes Helpers app and asked for infusion sets. She was having trouble getting pump supplies and was looking for help, after having had to give herself injections for the past few days.

“Having issues getting some pump supplies. Would anyone be able to help with a couple quickset infusion sets 4 the Medtronic pump? I’m desperate and have been giving injections for the past few days.”

Diabetes Helpers across California who were notified by her post stepped up right away to offer their help. A nearby helper from Rohnert Park, CA offered to send out some supplies in the mail. Another helper from Redwood City, answered right away and offered to send supplies through friends, who were driving to Santa Cruz the same day. Someone from San Diego was also ready to mail her some infusion sets. A Highland CA helper offered the extra Quicsket supplies and reservoirs that she wasn’t using since she switched to the Vibe.

Diabetes Helpers sharing pump supplies

You can read the whole thread here. You gotta see it for yourself. Our Diabetes Helper from Rohnert Park wrote: “I’m sending out a flat rate mailer USPS. You’ll get an email with the tracking number.” We followed up. The mail was received. It’s all good now.

I wonder what the most astonishing thing is: witnessing people who don’t know each other so committed to help each other; or seeing 4 Diabetes Helpers, not one, but 4 different people, reaching out right away to offer their help.

The kindness and generosity of the Diabetes Helpers community is amazing. Every day, every story, is a proof of concept.

If you haven’t joined the community yet, download the app to become a Diabetes Helper today. We’ve got you covered.

 
The HelpAround platform and its Diabetes Helpers app connects people with chronic conditions who might not know each other, but share similar challenges and are committed to provide immediate assistance to each other.
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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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Traveler with Diabetes Stuck Without Supplies Quickly Finds Diabetes Helpers in His Area

by Shoshana Nacass,

Traveling with diabetes is not easy and vacation can quickly turn into a very stressful experience if your pump breaks or if you find yourself stuck without enough supplies.

Today, someone with type 1 diabetes who is currently visiting Israel, asked for extra Lantus on the HelpAround Diabetes Helpers app. His pump broke while he was traveling, so he had to switch back to injections but was running low on Lantus. The Diabetes Helpers in the area were immediately notified of his request through the app and quickly reached out to offer their help. You can find the whole thread here.
It sucks to run out of supplies in the middle of your vacation. But remember you’re not alone, there are people out there wherever you go, a big community of Diabetes Helpers who are ready to help if you’re in a pinch.
A user from Chile, amazed at how quickly people reached out to offer their help, commented on the thread as well “This is so awesome, being part of this community makes me feel I’ll be covered wherever I am.”

This is amazing. We’re lucky to witness the kindness and generosity of our users on a daily basis. We’re so proud to see that the HelpAround technology connects people with chronic conditions who might not know each other, but share similar challenges and are committed to provide immediate assistance to others.

If you haven’t joined the community yet, download the app to become a Diabetes Helper today. We’ve got you covered.

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Diabetes Helpers Share Tips on Getting Low Cost Insulin and Strips

by Shoshana Nacass,

We witness people help each other on a daily basis, on the HelpAround platform. Useful tips, advice, and messages of support are pouring every day.  We’ve started highlighting the content shared by our users and gathered on a previous blog post some of the best discussions that happened on the app.

One of our Star Helpers*, Gaja, who lives in Yucaipa, California with type one diabetes, started an interesting discussion the other day. She started sharing tips on how to get low cost insulin and strips in the US. Have a look and join the discussion if you have questions or good tips to share!

Happy helping everyone!

*A Star Helper is a Diabetes Helper who always volunteers to help other Diabetes folks on the platform. Whenever someone asks for help or has a question, Star Helpers join the discussion and provide great tips. We’re lucky to have a good number of them on the HelpAround platform and we’re thankful for their contribution to the community!!

 

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