Health Records in the Past, Present and Future


Maureen Wendell, VP, Account Director, Palio

Twenty years ago: 1991.

You go to the doctor. Your chart is a folder stuffed full of papers, one of hundreds in the office. You leave with a prescription, which your physician wrote on a small piece of paper, and you carry it to the pharmacist. The pharmacy – unaffiliated with any larger chain – takes your paper, files it, and fills your prescription. If it’s for a “scheduled” drug, like a narcotic, you sign your name in a large ledger.

Today: 2011.

That chart is likely to be a digital file, and your prescription is equally likely to be transmitted electronically to your pharmacy, where it is filed digitally and cross-checked against your prescription history, for contraindications, and your personal history, for allergies. Your input is either verbal or digital – an answer to a question that you’re asked, which is typed in, or a digital signature. Some people do have a “care team” structure where their different health providers interact directly, but they’re likely to be extremely well-off, or dealing with a serious and specialized issue such as cancer.

Twenty years in the future: 2031. What will your healthcare experience look like?

Despite too many years of legislative hang-ups and politicking, we’ve finally attained a unifiedsystem of electronic health-care records. From your patient profile to your visit report to your prescriptions to your reviews of your experiences, it’s all digital, searchable and shareable.

Your physician and pharmacist both access the same data. Also included are your massage therapist, who helps you with your bad back, and, of course, your insurance. Your dentist or your allergist, however, have different permission levels. The only one who can see everything is you.

You aren’t a lone ship sailing from port to port to manage your healthcare anymore. Your care team can be linked as closely as you would like them to be.

This helps them to address red flags and head off health problems. They’re compensated more highly for preventative work than for curative or palliative care, so they are able to focus accordingly.

Paperwork is minimized, allowing back-office work to be replaced by true patient care. Visit lengths have grown from under 20 minutes to half an hour, and waiting time has shrunk from nearly an hour to 10 minutes.

Because information no longer requires physical housing, many physicians are reverting to house calls, a practice that appeals especially to the elderly, parents of small children, and professionals working long hours.

Because each patient owns the repository of their health data, a variety of tools have sprung up to help them parse and utilize it. Digital scales, thermometers, sleep monitors, blood-sugar monitors and other small wireless tools feed that repository effortlessly, making it ever more useful in predicting and monitoring your health.

What are you working on that can help this future arrive sooner?

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Have You Increased Your Ability to be Found?


Joe Arcuri, Director of Multi-Channel Services, Palio

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project eight in 10 people have gone online looking for health-related information. It seems everyone is hitting Google to research medical conditions, locate a physician, find new treatment therapies, or learn about the latest fad diet. Search is the gateway technology to other social media and inspires action. From search, people discover communities, make decisions about a prescription or treatment, increase their ability to perform self care, etc.

Beyond thinking about what someone would type into Google, getting the most from your search campaign requires understanding your target audience, knowing where they interact and gather information, and then getting them to do something, whether that’s visit your company website, make a purchase or enroll in a clinical trial.

How can companies get the most from their search campaign?

Increase digital landscape knowledge, gather information about the population you’re trying to attract and offer them something of value. The challenge is to figure out where your demographic is online and focus your communication strategy around it. Be careful not to pigeon-hole your strategy. Multichannel, multi-audience campaigns require customized SEO efforts. When you deliver value to your customers they’ll be encouraged to share their experience with others.

Create profiles on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Flickr, YouTube, and LinkedIn and take time to periodically review and update them. There are different places and opportunities to increase visibility. Search engines are just one way users find information – remember to think about other avenues such as social networks, linked data, mobile apps, social bookmarking sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon and Digg, online directories, and industry publications.

Know what words and phrases your reader is searching for and craft well-written copy for every Web page. High-quality information will ensure people return to your website and share it with their network. Well-written content creates higher levels of engagement, search engine rankings and promotes the likelihood of links from other sites. Create a list of targeted keywords and use them throughout your content and in various titles. Run keyword audits on competitor sites as well, particularly if they rank higher than yours in major search engines. Titles should be interesting to read, but clearly communicate what the reader can expect to learn.

First-page SEO ranking is important and requires ongoing management and optimization. If your site is appearing at page three for a given keyword phrase, it’s time to make some changes – most people don’t look beyond the first page of search results. Because rankings fluctuate, depending on competition and changes in the Google algorithm, it’s important to monitor rankings over time, and determine if you need to make changes in order to maintain top positions.

Measure everything. Providing value and information of interest to patients, medical professionals or other targets is of primary importance. Use these criteria to build searches on your company, products, and competitors and adjust your search strategy accordingly. Beyond rankings, measure conversations, engagement, brand advocates, influence and links. Appearing at the top of organic search results is a bonus, but achieving the goal you set out to achieve in the first place is a more important measure. Your position in search results or the number of followers on Twitter is meaningless if your campaign isn’t producing intended results.

Together, search and web analytics are important precisely because they are consistently and quantitatively measurable. They should be a top priority not only because they can drive your online marketing success, but because they can be a topline indicator of how successful your offline efforts are as well.


Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Is Digital Marketing the Right Prescription for the Pharma Industry?

Mike Smith, Digital Strategist, Palio

If you had asked a marketer back in 1990 whether digital marketing is right for the pharma industry, the most affirmative answer you’d probably get was: “It depends.”

After all, the regulatory framework was almost non-existent, fewer people were consuming online marketing and those that did were generally just part of a top-down messaging adaptation that followed a traditional one-to-many, broadcast-centric, message-and-channel orthodoxy at the time.

Fast forward two decades to today: One variable hasn’t changed much – We’re still looking at an uncertain regulatory framework for digital marketing. But the question of whether pharma should be marketing online is largely settled, and the answer is a resounding “yes.”

Make that a decided “yes, but…” There’s success to be found, but it often means overcoming internal inertia or hesitancy.

“Yes, but everything’s social these days and we can’t trust the sales force with social media.” OK, so keep social media – which is really nothing more than engaging target audiences with an authentic voice via interactive channels – squarely in marketing. Certainly, some companies are taking that approach and it won’t likely be the kiss of death for your next blockbuster product. But increasingly, the companies that can respond quickest and most effectively via social channels are the ones where many voices – often, voices closest to the prospects – are involved.

“Yes, but measuring ROI on digital marketing is hard/challenging/scary/voodoo.” No, it isn’t. In fact, online advertising delivers the sort of targeting and measurable results old-school advertisers would have only dreamed of having. When people talk about the challenges of measuring ROI in online marketing, they usually mean one of two things: Either the innate conundrum of relevant ROI numbers from social media or the relatively low click-through rates in some online ads. The former usually stems from treating social media as a retail campaign when most of it is more akin to branding efforts. The latter? Well, there are lots of reasons, but increasingly the first thing to look at in a poorly performing online campaign is whether or not there was a parallel social strategy to help extend it.

“Yes, but our domain expertise is in the non-digital world – we lack the human capital to fully leverage online marketing.” Then hire someone – or lots of people to implement, execute and manage your program. That may sound like a flippant answer, but here’s a non-flippant number: In 2010, 79% of the world’s 100 largest companies used at least once social media channel for their marketing. And another: Twitter adds 300,000 new users a day. Against that kind of momentum, online is no longer about “domain expertise” – it’s an immediate, strategic business imperative.

It’s not 1990 anymore – the question isn’t whether pharma should be fully immersed in digital marketing, but rather: “Who will change the game with the next big breakthrough campaign?”

Will it be you?

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

The Question of Question Sites

Meleik Goodwill, Medical Director, Palio

One of the classic definitions of marketing is delivering value in order to capture value. So it would seem that when someone’s got a question about your product, service or organization, you answer it. Your answer delivers value, allowing you, hopefully, to capture anything from a new customer to incremental brand awareness.

So when your organization is asked a question, the correct response – every time – is to answer it, right? The answer, it turns out, is a definite “maybe.”

One of the many things muddying up the answer is the proliferation of question sites – platforms like Quora, Yahoo Answers and others where members can post questions, relying on the collective intelligence of other members for input.

In theory, these are a great example of how enabling technology can aggregate expertise and collectively boost the knowledge available to anyone with an internet connection. And, most of the time, that’s the end result.

But there’s a big difference between 50 (or 5,000) strangers chiming in with suggestions on how to best fry a chicken, versus that same enthusiastic, opinionated and sometimes ill-informed group suggesting the best cholesterol medication, or whether vaccines are, in fact, safe.

Getting back to that chestnut about delivering and capturing value, the marketer’s instinct on things like this is usually some variant of “dive in!” After all, there’s an aggregated audience of people seeking information about your product or service, right? But the answer isn’t that clear-cut.

There’s a lack of clarity from regulators on how pharma should handle social-media messaging, and the very nature of question sites is that their messages have a level of permanence, typically indexed in search engines for future reference in a way that last month’s Facebook update comment is not. Plus, like dinner parties the world over, there are some people who show up just to argue – and a public, search-engine indexed fight with someone who just wants to tear down your brand isn’t moving the marketing program forward.

Does that mean pharma marketers should ignore these sites entirely? Not at all. A solid regimen of monitoring and privately responding to questions (a feature that Quora offers but Yahoo Answers does not) allows marketers to keep an eye on things and offer authoritative information when warranted.

Answers to public questions are not off the table, but as with so much of the online world, context is king – answering with an official corporate response on the popular site Reddit, for example, risks derision no matter how accurate and complete the response is, simply because the community values individual rather than corporate presence.

Question sites are one of the hundreds of new channels marketers must navigate. But whether it’s answering a prospect’s question or making a sales presentation, the fundamental question marketers deal with never really changes: How, with this particular audience and this particular channel or platform, can I deliver value?

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten

Viva la Video!

Joe Arcuri, Director of Studio Services, Palio

Every minute, 24 hours of new video content is uploaded to YouTube – the second most popular search platform after Google. Last year we wrote about the growing influence of video on Pixels and Pills. At Palio, we’re creating more digital content than ever before – especially as iPad popularity continues to grow.

Online video is a great way to create engaging, exciting, informational, promotional and educational messages. With attention spans shorter and evolving expectations of patients, physicians and consumers, video is the way of the future.

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Social Media: Helping Patients Engage in their own Care

Andy Smith, EVP, General Manager, Director of Global Operations, Palio

Last year on Pixels & Pills, I wrote about the mainstreaming of social media, highlighting a report from Nielsen Co. that found Americans are devoting almost a quarter of their Internet time on social networking sites and blogs, a 43 percent increase compared to one year ago.

Now, a year later, social is still dominating, with the 2011 version of the Nielsen report finding:

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Guy Mastrion, Chief Global Creative Officer, Palio

This year, I had the pleasure of chairing the jury for the CLIO Healthcare digital work.

As always, I was mightily impressed by the level of work at the CLIO Awards and it reminded me of just how hard it is to achieve gold. And although CLIO Healthcare is only in its third year of existence, there was stellar work from outside the United States that gathered up most of the gold.

There is a freshness to this work; a freshness that, I believe, is not simply a result of these other countries having fewer regulations than we do in the US.

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Are all Calls Created Equal?

Rob Kempton, VP, Brand Planning Director, Palio

Anyone who has spent a day in pharmaceutical – or any other type – of sales, will tell you the answer is an unequivocal “no.”

There are cold calls to warm leads and warm calls on glacial leads. There are follow-up calls on established accounts and first-time calls to what may be your next strategic account. There are calls where you get the hand-off, the brush-off or even the flip off, as well as those where you close the deal, make the sale and bring home the cheddar.

Against that backdrop, why would you use the same digital tools for every sales call? The answer is: You wouldn’t.

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9 Golden Rules for Optimizing your Social Media Presence

Heather Stone, Interactive Producer, Palio

Online or offline, we’re perceived by our actions. Because social media has become just “part of how business gets done,” it is easy to forget to be mindful of how we interact with others. In many religions and cultures, there’s usually some variation of the golden rule – do unto others as you wish to have done to you. Applying this rule to your online communications can help optimize your social media presence and contribute to positive perception of your company and personal brand.

Treat others how you’d want to be treated – Good relationships are the cornerstone of a successful social media presence. That requires listening to the needs of your audience and communicating with them in a way that resonates. Want to increase customer loyalty? Remember it’s about them, not you.

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Forgoing Face Time? Get Tethered!

Todd LaRoche, EVP, Managing Director of Creative, Palio

There is no slow season in health care. Whether seeing patients in between personal and professional appointments or a spike in patient visits during cold and flu season, doctors are always busy. For sales reps, this results in a greater challenge getting face time with doctors.

Sales reps may not be used to communicating in a two-minute window, but doctors, nurses and office staff are conditioned to interact that way. Last year on Pixels and Pills, I wrote about being brief and getting to the point when communicating with doctors. That still holds true, but with more doctors tethered to their smartphones and iPads, we need to use technology to change how we communicate with doctors.

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© 2011