Bookmark and Share

Mar 30

WebMD Health ExchangeWebMD is the most trusted online health brand, gets more traffic than any other health site, and they just launch WebMD Health Exchange. Every other startup online health community out there should be petrified. It’s like owning the town five and dime and having WalMart show up. It’s too early to tell the impact the WebMD communities will have, but they have smartly setup communities moderated by their experts (driving quality and more trust) but also allow anyone to create their own exchange which will allow for innovation and more traffic.

Big questions ahead…who will be the first big pharma to sponsor an official “exchange” in their therapeutic area? Should a big brand hospital setup their own communities, or grab some virtual land under the WebMD banner? Are Facebook fan pages still the way to go, or can you get higher quality health-targeted members on WebMD?

What do you think the impact of WebMD Health Exchange will have on health communications?


Mar 28

Previously I wrote about one panelist’s good answer to Jen McCabe’s question, “How come consumers aren’t rushing to adopt these personal health solutions?” But someone on the panel gave a really bad answer, too. He said:

“Consumer health apps and devices are taking off because people won’t pay for stuff.”

That answer got a second vote on the panel and most in the room nodded in agreement. That answer is wrong and while it might make us feel better because it implies it’s not our fault, it disempowers us as health marketers.

First let me acknowledge that it is hard to get people to pay for stuff. It’s why companies like Sermo, Patients Like Me, and others that don’t want to go out of business are rushing into the arms of Pharma. If you can’t make your money on ad revenue (and unless you’re a top 5 health site you can’t) and you can’t get consumers to pay (it’s hard) then you go to the people sitting on tons of money–pharma. Lot of people gnash their teeth at this fact but as a consumer I’d rather have a free solution with a pharma logo on it then to have no solution at all. But I digress…

So people won’t pay for stuff, huh? Seems to me that people love paying for stuff. They pay a lot for all kinds of stuff including beer, video games, stupid movies, porn, sports cars, designer handbags, ridiculously expensive watches and chia pets.

We just don’t make decisions rationally. We choose short term pleasure even if there is long-term pain. It’s easy to spend money on things that make us feel good now, even if there are consequences down the road.

It’s really hard to get off my damn couch and workout. After all, it freakin’ hurts. It’s really hard to take that pill that is going to make me nauseous now, when my disease doesn’t seem to be that bad this week. And if the health problem is something that I can’t see or feel, I just can’t relate. I know these cheese fries are going to make my cholesterol go up, but I can’t see it or feel it happening. And besides, I’ll eat salads next week to make up for it won’t I?

So back to selling your mobile health doodad, your patient community, monitoring device, whatever. Dig deep, and think about the immediate benefits. I wish it weren’t so, but that’s what you have to sell. You can do it subtly, you can do it with finesse, you can use a message ladder to adjust to your audience but that’s the secret.

Harley isn’t selling a motorcycle, they are selling the power of middle aged paunchy executives to be able to leather up, roar into town and scare the crap out of old ladies and kids.

We act–we change our behaviors–from an emotional response, not a logical one. I fought this truth for too many years in too many of my businesses but now this truth empowers me: We decide with emotion, we justify with logic.

A couple years ago at Kru we did an exhaustive research study of people with chronic insomnia. It’s a widespread problem, a serious health issue, and yet most people will never talk to their doctor about it or take any serious action to remedy it. There were of course different segments within this population, but by and large what we found was that people didn’t really care much about sleep, but they do want to be alert in the day.  They don’t really care about insomnia, but they do want to have the energy to play catch with their kids, make love to their spouses, and drive their daughters safely to their troop meetings. It’s a desire for energy (just think about all those “Five Hour Energy” power drink commercials).

Don’t get confused, this isn’t classic feature-benefit stuff. If you take that straightforward approach then you’ll think the benefit is “health” or “no headache” or “real time monitoring” and you’ve got it wrong. It’s the benefit you get after the benefit.

People do spend money on stuff. But it’s on the stuff they care about, not the stuff you care about.


Mar 28

“You need two things to get mass consumer uptake. Design and distribution.” That was the smartest thing I heard at the Everywhere Healthcare conference in Vegas last week. It was Zeo co-founder Ben Rubin’s answer to Jen McCabe’s simple question:

“How come consumers aren’t rushing to adopt these personal health solutions?”

Lord knows there are many other ingredients in the secret potion for consumer success, but I’d have to say that design and distribution are indeed at the top of the list. Design doesn’t just mean form or physical design-it’s the whole “experience design.” But what I want to focus on is the second “D” for distribution.

For consumers to adopt your health-widget, it needs to be readily available and promoted. The more places the better. The success of the iPod has as much to do with the iTunes music distribution channel as it does with a sleek but simple mp3 device.

Have much do you think about distribution? If you have a unique personal health device perhaps distribution channels could include Brookstone, gyms or fitness centers, running stores, weight loss centers, yoga schools, the  list could go on and on.

But even if your “product” isn’t a product, blow your mind and think about distribution. Just brainstorm for awhile. Promoting your health system or hospital? That’s local and (of course) you are offering authentic value through educational programs, right? But WHERE are you offering those? Only on your own website? Only through quarterly newsletter mailings? Again, think of all the other health channels in your area. Think of the people interested in your program-what else are they interested in? Maybe distribution is local fitness coaches, health food stores, senior centers, day care centers, etc.

Promoting a prescription starter kit or co-pay coupon for your product? It still works the same way. Think about who else reaches your target health consumer and see if you can partner in some way.

If you want to drive health consumer adoption of your product or service, think distribution.


Mar 18

e-patient connectionsWith all the great stuff from last year and more, e-Patient Connections is back at the Bellevue Hotel for its sophomore year!

Just like last year, we’re assembling an agenda sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. You’ll experience fast, innovative, and inspirational talks by world-class speakers, in-depth case studies, hands on sessions, and panel discussions with industry experts. Even our popular 20 slides in 20 seconds pecha kucha presentation session will be making a repeat performance, as will our well-appointed conference bag (this year everybody gets a Zeo, worth $249).

But that’s not the most exciting stuff – the most exciting stuff is what’s new. And that includes the Crossroads of e-Patient Connections – 4 specialty conferences that will take place on the afternoons of our conference days. We’re hosting Social Pharmer (led by Shwen Gwee and Jonathan Richman), Social MD/RN (led by Dr. Val Jones), Games for Health (led by Ben Sawyer) and Mobile Health.

We packed the house last year and 2010 will sell out again. Guarantee your seat and register now. See you in September.

-Kevin & The Kru Team

e-Patient Connections 2010

Mar 10

Thomas Goetz: Decision Tree: Smarter Patients, Better Choice
Uploaded by kruresearch. - Videos of the latest science discoveries and tech.

The Decision Tree, Thomas Goetz (19 minutes)

Wired magazine editor, Thomas Goetz, shows us how we can take care of our health in the age of personalized medicine.

  • Mindfulness is the most important health decision we can make
  • How personal health trackers can help us to pay attention to our health
  • How decision trees will lead to better outcomes

for Pharma & Health Communications

Each one-day boot camp is led by Kevin Kruse and is limited to only 15 participants to maximize individual attention. Sign-up now to get a 50% early bird discount.

  • Social Media for Pharma - 2 SEATS LEFT (March 31, 2010)
  • Ask about in-house workshops for e-patient strategy, social media compliance and metrics

e-Patient Connections 2010

Mar 05

We talk much, encourage and glorify “leaders” in any space. But the real power is in “fast followers.” It’s a business strategy concept well known to entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, but not a familiar concept to others.

This narrated video below of the shirtless dancing guy is well worth your 3 minutes.

And what does it have to do with e-patients and how to connect with them? Everything.

  • Pharma leaders in social media have done their work (Novo Nordisk on Twitter, McNeil on Facebook, J&J on YouTube) now is the time for the fast followers
  • Hospital leaders in social media have paved the way (about 500 of them), but now is the time for the other 5500 to join in
  • The CDC has shown massive leadership in best ways to connect with e-patients, public health is too important to be seen as laggards
  • Physician and nurse leaders have emerged, bringing back housecalls, doing consults via web video, and embracing PHR/EMR, but they still stand so alone

And when it comes to e-patients, I’ve never seen e-Patient Dave deBronkart dance, but I have seen him go from relative obscurity to Time magazine in 18 months.

Now is the time for all of us to get up and dance.

What do you think? Will you join us?

Mar 04

Dr. Jason Hwang: The Innovator's Prescription
Uploaded by kruresearch. - Technology reviews and science news videos.

The Innovator’s Prescription
Jason Hwang, MD, (20 minutes)

The co-author of The Innovator’s Prescription details how disruptive innovation may be the cure to our broken healthcare system.

  • How decentralization leads to accessibility
  • Futility of adding new technology to old business model
  • 3 universal business models and why hospitals don’t work

for Pharma & Health Communications

Each one-day boot camp is led by Kevin Kruse and is limited to only 15 participants to maximize individual attention. Sign-up now to get a 50% early bird discount.

  • Social Media for Pharma - 4 SEATS LEFT (March 31, 2010)
  • Ask about in-house workshops for e-patient strategy, social media compliance and metrics

e-Patient Connections 2010