Cardiology, Women and Apps



by Meleik Goodwill, PhD, Medical Director, Palio

February is American Heart Month, but even 10 years after efforts to specifically increase awareness around women’s heart health began, many people still think of heart attacks as an old man’s condition. Heart disease, however, remains the No. 1 killer of women. Awareness is growing, but there is still much to be done.

Another type of awareness is growing among women: Women have been less likely to use apps than men, but that gap is decreasing too.

As you’ve seen on PharmApps, we here at Palio believe strongly in the power of apps to put great amounts of information, analysis and communication in the pocket of everyday people, and few topics can be more important than this.

So, in honor of all the hearts you’ll see today and this week of Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d point you in the direction of some apps that can help us all work together to improve women’s heart health. (And, in many cases, that of their male loved ones too.)

  1. Staying healthy - You can choose from among many apps on many platforms that can help you to track your food intakeweightBMI and athletic performance. Keep your heart healthy before you need to worry!
  2. Preventing a repeat occurrence - If you or a loved one has already had a heart attack or other health scare, regularly and easily record heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol level, and other vital signs and symptoms with an app like Healthy HeartHealthy Heart Numbers or My BloodWorks. Records like these can be invaluable to help a cardiologist predict risks, prescribe or adjust medication, or see whether a course of treatment or lifestyle changes are working.
  3. Saving a life - Keep a couple of apps on hand to help you through an emergency to get reminders how to perform CPR and first aid.
  4. Not just mobile - Even Facebook-only apps are getting into the game: The OhioHealth network of hospitals has devised the Facebook app Heartbeats for Health, which gives you points every time you track heart-healthy decisions that you’ve made. You know you’re checking Facebook anyway. Why not make it good for you?
Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten

Social Good: Connecting Charitable Activities and Your Social Network



by Mike Smith, Digital Strategist, Palio

Most people have heard the quip about “doing well by doing good.” There’s a reason for that – across a wide array of business and marketing situations, it happens to be true.

Call it Corporate Social Responsibility, a charitable giving program or just doing good, there’s no denying that engaging your customers with a demonstrated commitment to relevant causes makes sense. But how do you do it effectively in the age of social media? It’s a challenge for marketers of all stripes, but pharma faces the added burden of regulatory uncertainty, leaving many companies in the space unsure of the way forward.

Whether your company is taking a “market first, wait for regulatory clarity later” approach to social media or is testing the waters more conservatively, there are some solid principles for tying your company’s charitable activities to your social network:

Remember that it’s a conversation, not a press release. There’s a tendency for even socially savvy companies to revert to top-down messaging when it comes to their charitable activities and CSR. That’s not to say you should make decisions about giving a purely democratic exercise for your fans and customers, but it does mean talking about your decisions, and taking a regular, critical pulse online to find out what customers think of your efforts.

Be responsive. Activity matters in social media, but it’s particularly relevant when talking about your charitable activities. Why? Because the act of giving draws out strong opinions in others and you need to be ready to respond to both kudos and critiques. Responsiveness has also been shown to boost engagement, and engagement is the force multiplier that spreads your results far and wide.

So, what’s the definition of “responsive?” It comes down to process and resource allocation – the former means that everyone involved with the social media effort has a clear idea of how to respond to a range of inquiries and issues, and the latter means there are enough people manning the effort. Create a routine where you hit your social media accounts at least a few times each week, and set up a schedule that assures you push out new content out a few times during the week, send out a handful of tweets every day, and respond to Twitter @replies, blog comments, and Facebook messages within 24 hours.

Be authentic. Although this is already a carved-into-stone truth for all of social media, it simply can’t be emphasized enough for activities related to charitable giving and CSR. Activities such as these humanize and personalize the organization, offering a real chance to bond with customers’ values – but all of that flies out the window if we engage in carefully couched legal-ese in our social conversations.

Encourage sharing. That means consistently putting out quality content, and leading by example. The former is obvious — share lots of high-quality content with followers, and they’re more likely to spread it to their friends. The latter, though, is just as important. Customers, fans and friends of the organization will be more likely to share if they can simply follow your lead. If you want your friends to share what you put out, you should share out the relevant, quality content that they publish. In the end, the rules for promoting and expanding your charitable giving activities via social media turn out to be nearly identical to those for successfully navigating the social world in general. That makes sense, because charity is an inherently social act.

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.

Read more

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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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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Palio Tech Watch: 11/21/2011

Palio Tech Watch: The Hot 5
Jon Fisher, Technology Manager, Palio

01. 23andme

Home testing, genomic testing

What it is:

According to their site:

“23andMe is a retail DNA testing service providing information and tools for consumers to learn about and explore their DNA. We utilize the Illumina OmniExpress Plus Research Use Only Chip which has been customized for use in all of our products and services by 23andMe. All of the laboratory testing for 23andMe is done in a CLIA-certified laboratory.”

Why it Matters:

We are at the dawn of personalized medicine. Up until now, testing and diagnostics have been in the hands of physicians. This is starting to change. With a growing geriatric population and sky-rocketing health care costs, there will be a trend in taking ownership of one’s healthcare. That, along with the coming trend of aging in place, proactively taking responsibility for one’s healthcare will not only take hold, it will become the norm. Look for encouragement from healthcare policymakers to take proactive steps not only in preventative care, but for long term disease management. And, very soon, the dialog will shift from “sick care” to “health maintenance.” The long view will shift will be from “healthcare” to “health lifestyle.”
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How Can We Learn this Social Media Stuff?

Meleik Goodwill, Medical Director, Palio

Here’s something we get asked all the time: “How can we learn this social media stuff?”

This question comes everywhere – at family barbecues and school functions, hissed in work hallways and mumbled shamefacedly in the back of conferences.

What if you’re not 16? What if you’re not a nerd? What if you’re not growing up with this social media stuff in your blood? What if you don’t work with a bunch of tech geeks? What if you don’t even know where to begin?

What if you blew it off, thought it was a fad, but have seen the light and now honestly DO want to learn more about social media? Are you too late? Is there no hope for you?

Relax, question-askers of the world, and follow our quick and easy five-step plan to becoming a successful social media enthusiast.

  • Slideshare. This repository of Powerpoint presentations has more devoted to social media explanation than you can imagine. Go visit and search for “social media,” and you’ll be inundated with well-written, basic, informational presentations. I’m particularly fond of this one, salty langugage and all: “What the F*** Is Social Media?
  • Mashable. Arguably the preeminent social media blog, Mashable is a fire hose of social media news. It will be a good source for you to learn a lot, if you
    • A. Accept that it’s going to overwhelm you with news, and therefore
    • B. Do not try to read all of it, and
    • C. Do not get frustrated when you don’t understand every article.
  • Social Media Examiner. Another team blog on social media, it’s a bit higher-level and definitely lower-volume than Mashable.
  • Google. It sounds obvious, but it’s one that people forget quite often. Anytime you see a social media term that you don’t understand, let me reassure you: at least half a dozen people have written blog posts defining it. RSSFollow FridaySEOHashtag? Just ask.
  • Ask. Whoever you are in life, at this point in time a safe bet is that most every person who reads this post knows someone who is well versed in social media. They got that way by finding it interesting, and as such, are going to enjoy talking about it. Never be afraid to ask. (This is also a great way to sort out the people who actually do know a lot from the people who just like to use popular buzzwords.)
Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.
© 2011