Friday, November 02, 2012

How Big is BIG? [infographic]

Written by Fabio Gratton, Chief Experience Officer, Ignite Health

A few months ago analyst Chetan Sharma in his excellent “State of the Global MobileUnion 2012” presentation shared a piece of data related to mobile that really blew me away.  We all know that the rate of mobile adoption is staggering – outpacing almost every other technology that has come before.  But did you know that more people have mobile phones than electricity or drinking water?  When Chetan shared that piece of data it was like a slap in the face.  It reminded me of the time when someone described to me the size of Facebook in terms of a country’s population: It would be the third largest.   Wow, that’s really big.  

The only other time I remember having a total needle-scratching-off-the-record moment was when I read an article that quoted Google’s Eric Schmidt describing the amount of data that we create today.  He said: “There was 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003.  That much information is now created every 2 days, and the pace is increasing.”  That’s crazy big!   

Sometimes it’s really difficult to grasp the enormity of things, especially when those things are abstract (like data).  However, when people describe how big something is relative to something you know or understand it suddenly makes it real.   Anyway, Chetan’s slide about the enormity of mobile made me want to attempt to visualize some of the data I just described into a single visual in an effort to paint a collective “big” picture of these very big things.  I hope it works.

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Monday, October 01, 2012

The People Are The Network: Electrify Them

Written by Fabio Gratton, Chief Experience Officer (CXO) of Ignite Health.

Creating an unforgettable experience today requires both a big idea and the seamless delivery of that idea across numerous customer-chosen channels. These "channels" are, in many respects, the modern day "network" – much the way marketers used to look at television or radio as channels that had to carry a brand's message to the masses. But unlike those mass media vehicles, today's networks are at once both real and virtual, wired and wireless, people- and software-powered, fueled as much by the money spent to secure the "media" as by the dreams inspired by the ideas they carry.

This new landscape is both wonderful and frightening – requiring today's strategists to be able to perform, think, and mobilize like Lennon, Newton, and King all at once. If done well, brands can be set to buzz through these virtual wires -- wires built on the backbone of, and electrified by, the very people they are trying to engage. It's within this context that today's communications agency operates; therefore, to be successful it must be able to not only give birth to big ideas, but also know how to insert them at the right time on the right network – one that is supercharged with the right people capable of electrifying the brand, without electrocuting it.

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Monday, September 10, 2012


Walking competition taking place during Joslin's Diabetes Innovation 2012

BOSTON, MA, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012 – Healthrageous, Inc., a digital health management company, announced today that the company will host a walking competition during Joslin’s Diabetes Innovation 2012, September 23-25, which will also raise money to support the Joslin Diabetes Center High Hopes Fund. Healthrageous will provide each conference attendee with a wireless pedometer to wear during the event, and step counts will be wirelessly collected and displayed throughout the conference. Healthrageous will donate up to $10,000 to the Joslin High Hopes Fund, based on the total step count achieved by participants.

"People with diabetes can improve their quality of life by becoming more active. Helping people become educated and motivated about the role physical activity and exercise can play in managing diabetes is an important step forward in addressing this major health crisis," said Rick Lee, President and CEO, Healthrageous. "We are also delighted to support Joslin's High Hopes Fund, bringing hope and help to children and their families with diabetes."

Throughout the event Healthrageous will display the Top Ten leaders of the walking competition, as well as posters stressing the importance of exercise for people with diabetes. Participants will also receive wristbands to act as a reminder to get exercise. The top three steppers will receive gift cards of $500, $250 and $100.

According to Julie Brown, Director of Professional Education, Joslin Diabetes Center, “Diabetes Innovation 2012 is designed to widen the field of vision for all stakeholders to clearly examine all processes and relationships -- the food culture, food distribution and marketing, government policy, funding, clinical protocols, patient involvement, research, and beyond -- and examine where we can find improvements and partners to reverse the dual epidemic that is obesity and diabetes. We appreciate Healthrageous’ innovative approach to allow us to ‘walk the talk’ and thank them for their support and contributions to the event and to ‘High Hopes.’"

Physical activity can have an overall positive effect on an individual's health. For people with diabetes, exercise can help to manage blood glucose and blood pressure, improve cholesterol, improve the body's ability to use insulin and lower the risk for heart disease and stroke. The American Diabetes Association's updated guidelines (June 2012) suggest one of the first treatment strategies for newly diagnosed patients with Type 2 diabetes is to improve health habits, including diet and exercise, to lower blood sugar levels.

Diabetes Innovation 2012 features leaders and innovators from all sectors, and will include innovations in prevention, delivery and adherence as well as innovations in process and policy. Among over 100 faculty, and hundreds of audience members, from industry and the payer, provider, patient and purchaser community and academia, leaders from many of the most important government agencies (AHRQ, PCORI, NIH, CDC, FDA, CMS, CMMI) will be on hand to encourage open dialogue and collaboration to speed system improvements. The event is sponsored by Sanofi US, with support from Target. To sponsor, exhibit or register for Diabetes Innovation 2012, please visit

About Healthrageous
Healthrageous, Inc., is a digital health engagement and management company that supports individual journeys to prevent and self-manage chronic health conditions via the web and a mobile app. It achieves superior engagement through its proprietary platform that incorporates personalized goal setting, health journey maps with gaming dynamics, timely biometric feedback and interactive digital coaching. The digital coach leverages multiple tools such as inspirational messages, recognition and incentives, challenges, social networking, trackers and reminders, and interactive educational content. Healthrageous is headquartered in Boston, MA, and its investors include North Bridge Venture Partners (Boston, MA/San Mateo, CA), Egan Managed Capital (Boston, MA) and Long River Ventures (Amherst, MA). For more information, go to

About Joslin Diabetes Center
Joslin Diabetes Center, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is the world's largest diabetes research and clinical care organization. Joslin is dedicated to ensuring that people with diabetes live long, healthy lives and offers real hope and progress toward diabetes prevention and a cure. Joslin is an independent, nonprofit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Our mission is to prevent, treat and cure diabetes.  Our vision is a world free of diabetes and its complications. For more information , visit
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Federal Regulators Expected To Step Up Scrutiny Of Hospitals' Social Media Efforts

/PRNewswire/ -- As more hospitals use social media to connect with the public, they can expect closer scrutiny by federal regulators, writes LeClairRyan attorney Michael F. Ruggio in column posted on July 13. He warns of growing concern that hospital employees and other representatives will inadvertently violate regulations—particularly ones introduced as part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act—as they strive to interact with the broader community via the likes of Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
"One of the clearest examples of the stepped up regulatory interest concerns the pharmaceutical industry, which is also subject to stiff oversight," writes Ruggio, who leads the national law firm's Healthcare Industry Team. "At the end of last year, the FDA published its first draft guidance, ( on the topic of social media and off-label claims about regulated pharmaceuticals."
The 13-page draft was aimed at helping companies get a handle on the FDA's position, but it was narrowly focused and may have prompted more confusion, he notes. For example, the agency lists several examples of solicited and unsolicited, public and non-public, requests, along with its view of some of the appropriate responses, but neglects to address many other issues.
In the column ("Bowing to the inevitable: Regulators are bound to scrutinize hospital use of social media tools"), Ruggio notes that even though specific social media guidelines haven't been issued by the government, "hospitals can nonetheless work with counsel to make sure their approaches to social networking comply with the spirit and letter of applicable regulations to the greatest possible extent. This is a far-better approach than a head-in-the-sand approach that proclaims 'We don't have guidelines yet, so let's just ignore this and hope for the best.'"
Some institutions, like Massachusetts General Hospital, have already moved to meet this challenge by publishing detailed social media usage guidelines for both employees and the public as part of its overall compliance efforts. Ruggio advises that one important component of an effective strategy involves ensuring that social media policies are communicated to anyone with access to a company social media account, even if they only have the ability to send an email to a consumer regarding a healthcare-related question.
"The basic point is to be conservative, knowing that social media regulations are all but inevitable," Ruggio says. "If you would not say something in a four-color brochure, do not say it in any online forum or email, keeping in mind that even a 'private' email can be posted on Facebook or other public forums. Also, keep track of the government's enforcement actions and policy statements even if they pertain to other industries, because they might offer clues about the broader concept of social media regulation."
The rise of social media has created lots of new "friends" for the hospital sector, but unwelcome or even potentially litigious guests are also part of the social media scene, he warns. "Unfortunately, you can't 'unfriend' a class-action lawsuit or 'block' a federal agency's enforcement action with the click of a mouse," Ruggio says. "The time to speak with counsel, and to review and update your policies is now, before something unfortunate happens."
About LeClairRyan
As a trusted advisor, LeClairRyan provides business counsel and client representation in corporate law and litigation. In this role, the firm applies its knowledge, insight and skill to help clients achieve their business objectives while managing and minimizing their legal risks, difficulties and expenses.  With offices in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C., the firm has approximately 350 attorneys representing a wide variety of clients throughout the nation.  For more information about LeClairRyan, visit
SOURCE LeClairRyan

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why has it taken pharma so long to get digital?

source: EyeforPharma
Written by Caroline Criado-Perez 
Caroline discusses some of the positive digital innovations over the past few months and questions whether or not we've heard it all before...
Another week, the beginning of another beautiful health – digital relationship We’ve had Pfizer’s online clinical trial. We’ve had Vodafone and Exco InTouch. And now, drum-roll please, we have Boehringer Ingelheim’s collaboration with Healthrageous.
BI and Healthrageous have initiated a pilot study that will evaluate the potential that digital solutions offer for improving the health of patients with type 2 diabetes. What this collaboration offers patients is clear: they will in effect receive round-the-clock care, through the use of Healthrageous’ digital monitoring system. They will receive ‘digital coaching’ and ‘a wireless glucose meter transmitting data to clinical monitors. The internet-based tool will be able to follow the effects of all shifts in the patient’s behaviour, from drug adherence, to lifestyle changes.
In Boehringer Ingelheim’s press release about their new collaboration with Healthrageous, they speak of a ‘beyond pill’ approach to healthcare. Chicago’s The Legal Examiner uses ‘Beyond the Pill’ as their headline. Dominic Tyer on PMLive quotes the ‘beyond the pill’ tagline. Everywhere you turn, ‘beyond the pill’ is being bandied about like it’s the latest, exciting new idea.
Except it isn’t. Let’s take a little trip down the old Memory Lane, shall we?
First stop, March 2011. Jonathan Richman. A little talk called ‘Your Computer is the Next Wonder Drug’. Ringing any bells? That’s right, over a year ago, Richman was talking about the need for pharm to act less like a manufacturer and more like a services company. He cited the disparity between the $60 billion spent by pharma on R&D in 2010, and the 21 new drugs approved by the FDA in the same year.
And it’s not just about money-saving either. As is explicitly stated by BI in their press release, one of the aims, and expected outcomes, of their collaboration with Healthrageous is to improve patient adherence, patient lifestyle. In short, to improve patient health – which is surely what pharma’s all about isn’t it?
OK, now let’s delve a little further back into the mists of time. A video this time (aren’t we getting all 21st century on you). A video in which those in the know refuse to get too excited about the idea of pharma’s collaboration with digital technology, because they’ve heard it all before.
Particularly striking is Dr Leandro Herrero, CEO of The Chalfont Project, who speaks of the conversation as ‘deja vu’. He laments that the idea is ‘not one that we’ve invented tonight’. Far from it. He gives a particularly enlightening example of what he means: at a talk he gave not long before the dinner, he used some slides, which had the audience nodding along enthusiastically. He then revealed that the slides were the same as the ones he had used in 2002. The message was clear: no-one was taking the initiative and making the changes needed.
Kevin Dolgin was downbeat about pharma’s ability or even appetite to engage effectively with a ‘beyond the pill’ approach. ‘Maybe pharma aren’t the people to do it’, he says. In an even more doom-laden forecast, Dave Chase compares pharma’s attitude to ‘the short-term thinking of Wall Street’, suggesting that, unless pharma pulls its digital socks up, and gets down and dirty in the big digital arena, it will follow in the steps of certain newspapers: unable to adapt to the realities on the newly digitized world, they will fall behind and eventually collapse.
Now, I know it looks like I’m being critical of BI. But I’m not – well, OK I am, a little. But only because this kind of partnership, while welcome, has taken an unbelievably long time to come about, leaving voices like Richman’s to exist as lone Cassandras in the wilderness – the lack of FDA guidelines is no excuse for lagging at least a decade behind every other industry online. It is to BI’s credit that they are finally investing properly in the digital revolution and exploring the benefits that collaborations between pharma and digital can offer patients.
So, the gauntlet has been laid down pharma. Will you answer the siren-call of the digital world?
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Exploring 3 New Pharma Facebook Brand Pages

Written by Angel Xie, Engagement Planner, Ignite Health

We’ve seen a lot of buzz on the use of Facebook Brand Pages and Timeline in the Pharmaceutical world -- but up until recently there have been limited examples of companies that have taken advantage of the new format in a way to really engage the community.  For the most part, all the discussion to date has centered around how companies can effectively build relationships while operating within the ill-defined pharma regulations.  Though our industry's box might be significantly smaller, the sweet spot remains the same: establishing an emotional bond and providing useful information to the community.  Today, we wanted to take a look at a few recent examples of companies with the healthcare industry that are leveraging the facebook timeline platform to connect with their audiences.
  • PsoriasisSpeaks (Abbott)
  • Our Hemophila Community (Pfizer)
  • Medtronic Diabetes (Medtronic)

PsoriasisSpeaks seems to have established their social presence very recently. While still in the beginning of building their empire, the Facebook brand page is tightly linked to their core unbranded disease education Website With tabs featuring its signature "Patient Advocate Program" and clearly identifying the CTAs, it is hard to get lost in the space. 

The more interesting highlight of the page is its community management. The ground rule is set as “This page is for US audiences only. Mentions of specific doctors’ names, product names or potential side effects will be removed”.  People are encouraged to participate in the conversation under such rule, and the feedback from community managers has been quite timely and personalized. While the brand continues to experiment with its content strategy and fulfill its social ecosystem, it would be interesting to play with ideas like such:
  1. Leverage its Advocates program and extend the connection beyond phone and email into Social
  2. Respect the fact that people may be embarrassed to share with their social circles about such conditions – there is a need to allow privacy settings and emotional support or education.

Comparing to the prior, Abbott's Our Hemophilia Community is a much more tightly-managed space -- no comments are allowed at all. The platform is mainly used to broadcast contents from Pfizer’s product brand sites (BeneFix & Xyntha) and its affiliated Hemophilia Village, which we thought was quite interesting as it may give precedent to other brands for connecting unbranded social to branded.

The ISI (Important Safety Information) is listed as top priority on the tabs, as recommended by many healthcare best practices. We were quite disappointed to find the Community Connections and Resources pages to be out of order -- being the gateway to its comprehensive contents on Hemophilia Village. As we respect brand’s choice of restraining comments on social media, there is definitely room for improvements on streamlining the ecosystem journey via deeper integration of site contents on
brand pages:
  1. Feature story videos or resource links on timeline with thumbnails for higher engagement
  2. Experiment with consumer-centric approach of content strategy, instead of information on the higher priority list for business.

With a fully implemented ecosystem, the Medtronic Diabetes Facebook page exhibits a robust social presence. With content integration at the tabs level, one can easily navigate all contents without leaving the Facebook page. Content updates are updated frequently and personal. The brand has clearly established a strong persona with vivid characters through these real life stories on its timeline. 

The fan base is strongly united and regularly shouts out support to cheer the each other up. Community management is relatively open with rules clearly labeled on its top tabs. Similarly to PsoriasisSpeaks, feedback appears to be timely and personal. With such a good social etiquette, it's no surprise to see 36,771 "likes" and high engagement rates. While we love the content, our recommendations are related to the ecosystem structure and User Experience (UX): 
  1. Integrate its branded YouTube channel with its Facebook Page under the “Video” tab
  2. Provide more navigation guidance within the "Patient stories" section, especially for new

Social technologies can provide brands with tools to innovate their communication in all kinds of way; however, the real value today is to use these technologies to do something remarkably simple: enable natural human connections.   As healthcare agencies, we need to embrace these tools more than anyone else out there.   As long as we always put ourselves in the shoes of the patient, we will always have a compass that can help us understand what "good" looks like.   "True North" is always governed by the same principle regardless of the industry we operate in: Do The Right Thing.
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

WorldOne acquires Sermo -- Becomes the largest and most engaged U.S. physician network

Becomes the largest and most engaged U.S. physician network, eclipsing 350,000 opted in and verified U.S. doctors

New York, NY and Cambridge, MA (July 19, 2012) WorldOne (, the global leader in healthcare insights and intelligence, today announced that it has acquired Sermo (, the largest online community of U.S. physicians. In the six years since its launch, Sermo amassed a membership of 130,000 physicians and hundreds of clients, including eight of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the world. 

This past year WorldOne successfully launched a new division, WorldOne Interactive, focused on leveraging emerging technologies and progressive social applications to connect and engage healthcare professionals globally. With the acquisition of Sermo and its l­eading discussion and crowdsourcing platform for physicians, WorldOne considerably expands its interactive and digital engagement capabilities. WorldOne already boasts a global network of 1.7 million healthcare professionals, including over 1 million verified physicians across 80 countries; adding Sermo’s membership will further increase reach, allow for unprecedented client list match rates, expand research opportunities, and serve as a catalyst for increased physician discussion, insights and collaboration.

“Sermo fits in perfectly with our strategy to extend our digital footprint across healthcare market research and enhance our growing portfolio of innovative engagement solutions,” said Peter Kirk, CEO of WorldOne. “Sermo has proven that sustaining an active, engaged community can result in higher interest in and response to market research as well as new promotional opportunities. Combining Sermo’s technology and social media expertise with WorldOne’s global scale enables us to rapidly accelerate our growth while offering the most enriching, collaborative online environment for physicians anywhere in the world.”

“As Sermo grew the most vibrant online physician community in the U.S. and, more recently, provided clients more robust research and promotion opportunities, clients asked for global reach and more key specialists,” said Tim Davenport, CEO of Sermo. “WorldOne adds both of these overnight, while Sermo greatly augments WorldOne’s online and interactive business.” 

Through the Sermo acquisition, WorldOne assembles the largest global community of physicians online.

About WorldOne
WorldOne is the largest healthcare data collection company in the world serving the market research industry for over a decade. Headquartered in New York with 16 regional offices across North America, South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, WorldOne offers clients online and offline access to medical professionals in over 80 countries through a range of differentiated products and services. WorldOne’s global network includes over 1.7 million fully verified healthcare professionals, who in 2011 completed nearly half a million online surveys, answering over 20 million questions. 

About Sermo
Sermo is the largest online physician community in the United States, with more than 130,000 physicians spanning 68 specialties. All Sermo members are verified and credentialed physicians who collaborate on cases and exchange observations to improve patient care, discuss drugs and devices and share information on new therapies and innovations. Sermo also provides a way to target and engage physicians by providing access to its community for clients that need fast, actionable insights into treatments, medications and devices.

Jon Michaeli
VP, Marketing and Community
P: 617-497-1110
T: @W1_Interactive/@Sermo

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