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The Innovative Approach to Patient Activation

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Personalized Smart Recommendations in social networks

What if Amazon was in charge of patient activation? Personalized, data-driven healthcare solutions would up-end patient activation as we know it. Some biopharma marketers are already doing this today, leveraging social networks to anticipate and address patient needs proactively. Here’s the formula for how they are doing it.

First, think about what Amazon does right after you’ve put something in your cart — like, for instance, band-aids. You see this message: “Customers who bought this item also bought… Neosporin, Children’s Tylenol” etc.. We at MyHealthTeams do something similar in chronic health.

For example, when one of our MyMSTeam members posts about her frustration with memory loss and concentration problems, we automatically surface relevant information that has proven popular among other members facing similar challenges.

First, a member — “SuzanneM from San Jose” — posts about the fact that she’s having a hard time remembering things, finding the right words or concentrating.

We then automatically surface for her relevant information that other members facing similar cognitive challenges have found useful. We call this a “Smart Recommendation.”

Which makes it easy for her to quickly get to content that addresses her concern and is likely to inspire action. In this example, that content is from the “MS & Cognition” Resource Center we created in partnership with Biogen after research among MyMSTeam members revealed that cognitive dysfunction is a top symptom impacting quality of life and often starts early in the progression of the disease.

We introduced Smart Recommendations with select partners in our social networks earlier this year to personalize patient education and inspire action. They are “smart” in that they are served up contextually based on what a member shares in her post or profile. They are “recommendations” in that we are surfacing information (not medical advice) that others going through the same thing have found helpful. It’s the power of community at work. This is a new way to drive activation.

Fueled by natural language processing and machine learning, Smart Recommendations are possible because our members share information, resources and support every day — for 7 years now. With millions of members, 90% of whom are diagnosed patients, across our 32 growing social networks, we see both the challenges people living with a chronic condition face and the information that proves most useful to them — at a personal level and at scale.

This enables our pharma partners to approach Patient Activation differently and truly empower diagnosed patients with timely and useful information.

The click-through rates on Smart Recommendations are through the roof — north of 20%! This shows how hungry patients are for directly relevant, objective information to help them manage their condition. Today’s healthcare consumer is empowered and motivated to play an active role in managing her health. Pharma companies looking to activate patients don’t have to rely on just the doctor channel anymore — in fact, they can’t. By engaging patients where they are in social networks, these companies have started to deliver more of an Amazon-like consumer experience.

Eric Peacock
Cofounder and CEO at MyHealthTeams
Eric Peacock, cofounder and CEO of MyHealthTeams, is passionate about empowering people facing chronic health conditions and believes it should be easy for them to connect with and learn from others living with the same condition. Launched in 2012, MyHealthTeams now serves more than 1.8 million active members across 30 social networks that address 90% of the chronic condition population. Previously, Eric worked closely with patient communities in his role at Perlegen Sciences, focused on understanding the genetic underpinnings of chronic conditions. He’s also held executive positions with IAC and E*Trade and was a partner at Oliver Wyman/Mercer Management Consulting. He is a graduate of Stanford Business School and Harvard College. Eric is passionate about sharing insights into how health outcomes can be improved simply by including patient input at all stages of research, development and commercialization of new therapies. He works closely with more than two dozen biopharma companies focused on better understanding the real-world patient experience and addressing unmet needs.
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