Thursday, June 08, 2006

Technology, Advertising, and Healthcare Stories from the Past Week

PhRMA heart and stroke campaign leverages Web as learning tool
A new PhRMA public service campaign about heart disease and stroke encourages consumers to go online to receive important health information. For example, a streaming video on the PhRMA site tells users to "Go online and learn, because knowledge is the best medicine of all." The PhRMA site links to, which features a streaming video of Paul Antony, MD, MPH, PhRMA's chief medical officer, discussing heart disease. There are also links to relevant Web sites such as the American Heart Association and the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. The national multimedia campaign will also be supported by newspaper and television ads. A print ad for the campaign encourages users to visit and The American Heart Association last week launched a new Web site to help people who have had a heart attack or want to prevent one become better informed.

WOMMA launches first site and blog for word-of-mouth research
A new site and blog sponsored by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) is designed to help marketers understand what consumers are talking about and how to effectively join the conversation. The site features new content designed to help introduce word-of-mouth research to a wider audience. In addition to the latest research reports, surveys, and data, the WOM Research blog also features original contributions from leading academics and market research experts. A companion e-mail newsletter delivers the latest data on measurement and metrics. Learn more on the new WOMMA Web site. adds feature for searching blogs and feeds is following Google and Yahoo! with a new Blog & Feed Search feature, it reports. Instead of using Web crawlers like other blog searches, says its feature uses subscription data from the feed reader Bloglines, as well as's algorithmic search technology.'s new blog search also features posts, feeds, and news within blogs. Another function allows sorting by relevance, date, and popularity, and subscribing to feeds and searches. The Blog & Feed Search launched in the United States, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Spain., a relaunched version of Ask Jeeves (ePharm5, 3/31/06), is the latest search engine to enter the blogosphere. In September, Google launched a beta version of its blog search.

Microsoft program displays keywords, ads based on e-mail content
Microsoft released Active Search last week, a program that scans e-mails for keywords and displays related search terms and paid search ads, reports Brandweek. Active Search will not only generate a list of possible keywords from the e-mail, but will display them in the upper right corner of the inbox, allowing users to click one of them to perform a search. Paid search ads will be displayed when users conduct searches. Also, contextually relevant ads will be displayed to the right of messages as users browse through e-mails. The new feature, which aims to let users search the Web quickly without having to go back and forth between e-mail and the Internet, is being beta tested and is part of Microsoft's new e-mail application Windows Live Mail Desktop.

AMA will ask its members to support government DTC moratorium
The American Medical Association (AMA) will reverse it prior decision and ask its members to back government restrictions on DTC advertising, reports the Chicago Tribune. Last year, the AMA did not back a moratorium on advertising new drugs and instead asked for more research. This year, however, the research is complete and suggests that AMA delegates should support a "time interval" between when a drug receives FDA approval and when consumer advertising can begin. The 17-page report says DTC ads for newly approved drugs should not begin until "physicians have been appropriately educated" about them and that the length of the moratorium will vary. Although PhRMA opposes a government moratorium, the group's new DTC guidelines call for companies to voluntarily hold off on DTC ads until doctors are educated.

New blog aims to facilitate research collaborations, discussion
A new blog is available to help the scientific and medical communities advance their understanding of diseases of human mutation and ultimately lead to research collaborations between participants. Scrivner's Online Metabolic and Molecular Basis of Inherited Disorders Blog, launched this week by McGraw-Hill Professional, is available free on the company's online reference of inherited diseases. Users can discuss inherited disorders, post news about recent discoveries, promote conferences, and stimulate research collaborations. The blog is open to the public via an RSS feed, and blog postings link to abstracts within the online reference of inherited disorders. McGraw-Hill recently added online clinical resources for Spanish-speaking physicians, medical students, and other healthcare professionals.

CNN study: Online video ads increase brand recall, awareness
A CNN Digital Research study shows that using online video ads with regular Internet billboards can double brand recall and awareness, reports iMediaConnection. The study showed that 99% of viewers watched all or most of the video ads shown before the news clip they requested on, instead of "bailing out" on the ad before it's finished, reports Using broadband video ads also enhances believability, message communication, product knowledge, and word of mouth buzz. For example, people who saw video and banner ads together were more likely to remember the product than people who only saw the banner ads. According to the latest data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Internet advertising revenues reached a record $3.9 billion during the first quarter of 2006.

American Heart Association launches heart attack prevention site
A new Web site from the American Heart Association (AHA) provides resources to help people who have had a heart attack or want to prevent one, it reports. The site, available through the AHA's main site, offers two pathways: Prevention and Life After Heart Attack. The Prevention area focuses on avoiding tobacco, being active, and eating well, and includes risk factors, healthy heart quizzes, and a heart attack risk assessment. The Life After Heart Attack channel offers information about recovery, as well as medical illustrations explaining diagnostic tests, procedures, surgeries, and medications. There are also links to support groups and other tools to help survivors reduce their risk of having another heart attack. An interactive discussion group provides a forum for patients and caregivers to ask questions, discuss treatments, and seek advice. Learn more on AHA's Web site.

Initiative will provide PHR to endocrinologist group, patients
A new initiative from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists will provide iHealth Services from Medem to its members and their patients, it reports. As part of the program, patients will receive an iHealthRecord, which is an interactive personal health record that allows patients to share their health information with physicians, family members, and other healthcare providers. Services will also include automated education programs that are specific to a patient's medical conditions and FDA medication warnings and recall alerts. Patients can access the service from their physician's practice Web site hosted on Medem's network, according to the company. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists has more than 5,300 members in the United States and 85 other countries.

Merck-funded study: Team approach needed for diabetes management
Tackling diabetes requires a team approach because patients and doctors aren't on the same page when it comes to diabetes management, according to the Merck-sponsored Diabetes Roundtable. A survey commissioned by the American Association of Diabetes Educators found that 69% of adults with type 2 diabetes say they are very knowledgeable or knowledgeable about their condition. However, doctors disagree: 81% of physicians say they are frustrated with the number of their patients who don't follow their treatment regimens exactly as prescribed. The Roundtable, which includes a multi-disciplinary panel of health experts, concluded that there should be a team-centered approach to managing diabetes that involves everyone from patients and primary care physicians to diabetes educators, behavioral scientists, and endocrinologists. Learn more about the Roundtable and the survey on the Web site.

European docs use Web, but lack e-marketing tools from pharma
Physicians in Europe have not adopted pharma e-marketing technology at the same pace as physicians in the United States, according to Manhattan Research. However, this is not due to a lack of interest from European physicians, but because of a lack of offerings and awareness, according to the company's latest study, Taking the Pulse Europe v5.0. According to the research, European physicians have embraced the Internet for professional uses and pharma marketers have an opportunity to be among the first to offer e-marketing tools to this market. For example, 96% of European physicians use the Internet for any purpose and 94% use it for professional purposes. Moreover, physicians said they value the Internet as a professional and educational resource, with 62% reporting that the Internet is essential to their practice. Go to Manhattan Research's Web site to learn more.

Study uses MP3 player to deliver asthma Rx adherence messages
An ongoing study is using MP3 players to improve asthma medication adherence among teens, according to the Chicago Tribune. In the study at Rush University Medical Center and Stroger Hospital in Chicago, low-income urban teens with asthma received MP3 players with music and videos interspersed with messages from rapper Ludacris reminding them to take their medicine. The Chicago Tribune also examined other ways technology is playing a role in keeping people healthy. For example, a study sent smoking cessation text messages to teen smokers. After six weeks, 28% of those who had received the messages had quit, compared to only 13% of those who didn't receive the messages. Read more in the Chicago Tribune.,1,6262717.story?coll=chi-technologyreviews-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

Program will reward cell phone users for watching ads
Virgin Mobile will reward people for watching ads with the launch of what it calls the first ad-supported cell phone service in the United States, reports The New York Times. The program will give free telephone minutes to people who watch 30-second commercials on a computer or by text message. Consumers have to answer questions about the ads to prove they were paying attention and can earn up to 75 minutes per month. The program, called SugarMama, is set to be available June 14 and has already signed up three advertisers: Pepsi, Xbox, and the youth anti-smoking campaign Truth. In other news, cell phone companies are increasingly reaching out to Hispanics with services and downloads available in Spanish. Hispanics are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States and cell phone marketers are eager to get a piece of this market, according to The New York Times.

MedSeek adds patient portal technology, Henry Ford goes live
E-health firm MedSeek has added ".net" technology in order to develop patient portals for its clients. MedSeek says its new .net platform provides better security and more robust technology for existing and future patient portals. The Henry Ford Health System is the first MedSeek client to go live on the portal, according to the company. The patient portal platform is linked into Henry Ford's existing EMR and lets patients update demographic information, obtain personalized medical information, renew or refill prescriptions, and receive personalized health news and updates. According to MedSeek, hospitals are looking for a more comprehensive approach to patient portal development that includes clinical information.

Web site acts as searchable portal to other health sites
A new health Web portal aims to offer an easier way to search through the labyrinth of online health information and Web sites. is a portal to other health Web sites, providing pre-searched information from other healthcare sites across the Internet. The site itself does not contain much actual information. However, users can use it to find outside sites that contain information about a certain topic. Drop-down menus help users navigate the site, listing hundreds of medical conditions, in-depth reviews of health Web sites, and special features such as health videos and drug guides. Selecting a topic links users to sites containing that information. For example, selecting "acne" from the drop down menu will provide links to and Mayo Clinic's Web site. The site does not currently have advertisers, but will look into advertising opportunities as traffic on the site builds, Health Site Guide spokesperson Carly Rose said.

One-third of Americans have diabetes or are on track to get it
One-third of Americans have diabetes or are on their way to having it in the future, and there is a disproportionate prevalence among minority groups, according to a study in the June issue of Diabetes Care. Diabetes is nearly twice as prevalent among African Americans and Mexican Americans as it is in Caucasians. The study showed that 9.3% of adults aged 20 and older had diabetes between 1999 and 2002. Another 26% had impaired fasting glucose, a form of pre-diabetes that often leads to diabetes within 10 years. According to researchers, diabetes advocates are not doing enough to convince people to make changes in their lives, because even though type 2 diabetes can be prevented in many cases, diabetes prevalence continues to grow.

Podcast firm offers tips for successful podcast advertising
Marketers have a major opportunity to leverage podcast advertising, according to Gregory Galant, CEO of podcast ad facilitating firm RadioTail. The key to podcast advertising is keeping it short, Galant wrote last week in iMedia Connection. A few 15-second spots are a better bet than one 60-second spot. Advertisers should also vary their ads as much as possible, perhaps addressing seasons, holidays, or current events. Also remember that the podcasting audience is very tech-savvy and sophisticated, so don't dumb down the message, wrote Galant. Ads should be placed between podcast segments, not before the content. Finally, avoid imitating radio broadcasts with podcast ads by trying to grab the listener's attention with loud or gimmicky copy. Downloadable podcasts of medical presentations are a feature on a new GlaxoSmithKline-sponsored CME Web site.



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