Mobile apps or mobile optimization – do we have to choose?

In a recent article on published on the Pharma Marketing Blog by John Mack the author, also known as @pharmaguy discussed the subject of health-related mobile applications and the mobile optimization of online content. To decide which one is more important to pharma is not the main task at hand. Our first and most important concern should not be whether one or the other could achieve a higher ROI. Simply because even if it turns out that online content optimal for mobile consumption brings higher ROI, pharma cannot deny the increasing popularity of health apps and the potential they provide. The same way mobile optimization cannot be ignored if health applications turn out to be the holy grail of patient engagement.

The article mentioned above refers to the Mobile Health 2012 survey published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project which showed that “half of smartphone owners use their devices to get health information and one-fifth of smartphone owners have health apps.” The study also pointed out that only around 9% of US adults have health applications on their phones. And @pharmaguy is right, this does not mean that these apps are used. How many times do we download an application and later find it impossible or even annoying to use?

Although the data about mobile health apps does not seem too promising, the percentage of smartphone owners who use their devices to access health-related information almost doubled. But does this tell us to focus exclusively on mobile optimization because that is what the current trend tells us? In my opinion this should be more of a wake up call or a warning sign that while online content has to be accessible on mobile devices, there is also a lot more to do to develop truly user-friendly health apps that users don’t just download but actually end up using as well. With only 19% of pharma websites being optimized for mobile platforms it is clear that there is a lot of unfulfilled potential in that area as well, but pharma companies are going to have to divide their efforts and make sure to achieve progress in both developing apps and optimizing online content.

Do you think pharma has the resources to conquer the challenges of the mobile era? Make sure to leave a comment below!

(Source: Pharma Marketing Blog)

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Infographic – Pharma marketing to physicians

The vast majority of physicians today are digitally active, accessing multiple devices and networks as part of their day-to-day activities. Physicians are increasingly interested in video and social media for personal and professional use. These trends have numerous implications about what pharma cannot miss in creating its marketing plans.

  • According to recent studies 72% of physicians use social media sites for personal and professional reasons. Based on current trends 81% of doctors will own a smartphone by the end of 2012.
  • 73% of physicians use their smartphones to search content online while 55% of them use mobile apps.
  • 35% of physicians said they think tablets are a useful tool for pharma reps. According to their answers they find presentations a lot more effective when carried out with the help of a tablet device.
  • Online videos are also more and more popular among physicians. 82% of them prefer video content on WebMD while 50-50% of them watch videos on pharma websites and YouTube as well.

 

(Source: publicishealthware.com)

Why Dive Into Developing Mobile Health Apps?

While digital marketing solutions and social media projects became the center of attention in pharmaceutical communication recently, it is also important to notice the growing popularity of everything mobile. Below is a list of reasons why pharma companies should invest considerable time and energy into developing effective, creative health-related mobile applications.

The mobile trend is here to stay: Based on a recent study by Comp TIA, half of all physicians use smartphones for professional purposes and the use of mobile applications is steadily growing as well. According to another study, mobile technologies can be utilized especially in healthcare. There are many factors that influence mobile adoption on different markets. These factors include “consumer adoption, clinical adoption, evidence of efficacy, costs of deployment, and regulatory climate.”

High demand for healthcare and drug-related information online: Patients are looking to find valuable information about different treatment options, drugs and medical conditions online. According to a recent survey looking for health-related info online is the third most common activity of internet users. Maybe the biggest issue when it comes to treatments is medication adherence, which can be managed with easy-to-use, always available mobile devices in a very cost-effective way.

Mobile devices during clinical trials: A recent article emphasized the role mobile apps could play in the entire process of clinical trials. “The recruitment of patients, transmission of clinical trial records, and the reporting of adverse events in a prompt and accurate manner” can be all managed with creatively developed mobile applications.

Mobile apps can help communicate with HCPs more effectively: Tight budgets, digital solutions and the demand for time-efficacy resulted in big number of layoffs in the pharma industry with decreasing number of sales reps conducting in-person visits with physicians. “The significant decline of sales force presence has created an educational void for prescribers.” The need for a more effective educational method and better understanding between pharma and healthcare professionals could be managed with mobile apps created specifically for medical education and delivering prescriber information.

Information to bigger groups and institutions: With mobile applications it is easier to deliver a big amount of data to a wider audience in a manageable way. This is especially important when it comes to communicating with hospitals, healthcare organizations, patient or physician communities. Pharma can utilize this when providing information about products, treatments and different conditions.

(Source: The Digital Health Corner)

Mobile Healthcare – An Infographic

We read a lot about how mobile technology is the future, we see fascinating numbers and statistics about how smartphones and tablets are becoming more popular than desktop computers and laptops. It is hard however to really put a finger on how these trends will change healthcare.

The infographic below – other than piling up evidence about the sheer force with which the mobile market is growing – shows how mobile solutions can influence healthcare in different ways. Here are the key findings in connection with mobile in healthcare:

  • Mobile health has the potential to change healthcare in a revolutionary way with making patients more engaged in their care and transforming the patient-provider relationship.
  • Main features of smartphones that could be used in healthcare: physician finder, applications to view claims, to fill our medical forms, and other apps to follow treatment plan and help adherence.
  • Revenues from remote patient monitoring services that use mobile networks will rise to 1.9 billion globally by 2014.
  • Users with wireless connections are more likely to monitor their health with the help of their cell phones.
  • People owning a smartphone are more likely to be an active content contributor related to healthcare, that means mobile technology boosts participation.
  • According to predictions by Juniper Research the number of downloaded health apps will reach 44 million by the end of the year, and by 2016 there will be 142 million downloaded health applications.

 

(Source: Healthworks Collective)

mHealth in Europe – Where Is The Disconnect?

There have been several reports on mobile playing a significant role in healthcare. New health-focused apps seem to appear out of thin air and winning over physicians who would like to prescribe these applications for patients. Virtually everything is possible to squeeze in an app – self-monitoring, calorie-counting, self-diagnosing, educational material for patients, database of drugs with interactions, and the list could go on and on.

A recent study published by GSMA research suggested that mobile health is so popular it is predicted to be worth 23 Billion dollars by 2017. Other staggering surveys showed the fast-paced growth of mobile use: there are 4 Billion mobile phones in use worldwide and 1.08 Billion of those are smartphones. These numbers show clearly the potential of the mobile and app market. Other predictions point out that by 2014 mobile internet use should take over desktop internet usage, which means more and more people are using their mobile phones as the primary tool for web browsing, social networking and getting information.

So given all the data mentioned above I was surprised to find the not-so-promising findings about mHealth apps in Europe. Based on the study Citizens and ICT for Health in 14 EU countries ICT consequences published the following data about internet users in Europe and their use of health, wellness apps:

  • 77% stated that they never use it;
  • 7% stated that they were not aware of it;
  • 6% stated that they use it less than once a month
  • 5% stated that they use it at least once a month (but not every week)
  • 4% stated that they use it at least once a week (but not every day)
  • 1% stated that they use it every day or almost every day

So where is the disconnect? What makes Europeans reluctant to use health-related applications? It is clear that this is not an issue of awareness. Other than the numerous articles published about mobile applications every day and the speedy growth of smartphone purchases the data above points out that only 7% of respondents were not familiar with health apps.

So if it is not awareness than what is causing the disconnect? A possible assumption could be the lack of user-friendly or user-centered applications. According to a study carried out by Consumer Health Information Corporation (CHIC), the top reasons why users quit an application are the release of better versions and lack of user-friendly features. But what does that mean “user-friendly”? According to the findings the key elements are: easy to navigate, informative and interactive. This means that the main goals while developing a mobile app should be to keep it as simple as possible while still being informative and use the advantages of interactive features. The fact that users like an app to be interactive can’t come as a surprise since social networking and playing games on mobile phones are in the top 5 favorite activities on a mobile device.

So we can conclude that just because an area of innovations is considered trendy, doesn’t mean it has reached its full potential of providing important features for users. The speed of growth of a market cannot be an excuse for the lack of user-friendly and useful, creative solutions.

(Source: ICTconsequences.net)

Physicians Using The Internet On Mobile Devices

On both the American and European market the role of smartphones in medical-professional information-seeking is becoming more and more important. According to the result of a study published by MD Marketing Research 64% of American doctors own a smartphone (the rate is 67% among family practitioners, and 61% among specialists). Every fifth physician owns a tablet (27% of both family doctors and specialists have a type of tablet device).

Among physicians who are more open to new technologies findings show even higher rates. According to a Manhattan Research study published in 2011, 81% of American „ePharma doctors” (physicians who use digital channels to keep in touch with pharmaceutical representatives) own a smartphone, 30% of them have an iPad, and 28% of physicians plan to purchase a tablet in the coming 6 months. The 5 biggest countries in Europe are falling a little behind with 69% of doctors using smartphones.

American ePharma physicians clearly prefer mobile devices when it comes to keeping in touch and communicating with pharmaceutical companies:

  • 45% of them would rather communicate with pharmaceutical representatives using a smartphone or iPad.
  • When it comes to getting the information about certain products they also clearly prefer online channels.

Physicians more frequently rely on the possibilities presented by mobile devices in Hungary as well. When it comes to using the internet desktops (82%) and notebooks (56%) are the most popular, while 15% of doctors use smartphones to go online, while the rate of tablets and PDAs is 5%.

Smartphone owners among physicians – Physicians going online using a mobile device in Hungary

Source: MM&M (August 2011), Szinapszis MedNetTrack 2011 (n=909 physicians)

 

Age is a significant factor when it comes to mobile devices: younger doctors go online on mobile devices more and more, 19% of them using smartphones and 3-5% using tablets or palmtop computers.

(Katalin Kiss)

Embracing The Era Of Mobile

The last couple of days presented several news pieces that prove: we are indeed rapidly approaching the era of mobile. The longest Blackberry outage so far made people religiously using Blackberry Messenger furious. On the other hand, faithful believers of Apple were more than happy to share their numerous versions of “I told you so.” The timing was horrible for Blackberry and never better for Apple: days before the release of the new iPhone 4s.

It is safe to say, that by now mobile technology overtook our day-to-day life. But how much influence does mobile have  when it comes to our habits? And what does that mean for marketers, especially in the field of healthcare? The infographic below helps to understand just how much are mobile devices part of our lifestyle.

Reading these numbers and data it is obvious, that the old model of TV and print focused marketing is outdated, therefore a lot of money spent with minimum reach and success. It is time to consider regrouping marketing expenses and paying close attention to mobile technologies and trends.

(Source: Visibli.com – shared by Gary Monk)

A Day In The Digital Life

These days we wake up and go to sleep surrounded by technology. And the time spent in between is not different in any way. Here are some disturbing and thought provoking stats. If the numbers don’t convince us that we are hooked on devices and are addicted to internet, just think about what you would do in case of a power outage. Read a book without the TV or laptop on? Strange idea, right?

According to the image below 35% of people update their application even before getting out of bed. We read or watch the news while eating, preferably on a screen and not in print. What is more dangerous, 3 of 4 young people can’t tear themselves apart from their cell phones while driving, 64% of them even texting on the road. We use our computers at work and at school, 51% of people doing research while working, and 70% of students taking notes with their laptops.

Using these devices is not always productive. The numbers show that while 2/3 of content opened by students in school is distractive, employees are not a lot better either. 25% of them watch news clips, 15% viral videos, 9 psort clips. 4% of them even have the time to watch full movies at work. We can’t even seperate from our electronic devices while in the bathroom 40% of people using their phonesin the restrooms. After getting home we don’t allow ourselves to be disconnected: 60% of us have the TV and computer on at the same time while a staggering 95% of people use electronic devices right before going to bed. And activity that doctors strongly object.

 

(Source: Social Media Today)

Mobile Medical App Regulations – Are They Necessary?

As I mentioned before, the FDA seemed to be moving faster with proposals to regulate medical applications than with the ever-dragging process of creating guidelines for social media in healthcare. Helthcare IT News surveyed 50 of its readers on what they thought of the sudden urgency the FDA addressed the issue of non-regulated mobile apps.

As you can see on the chart below, 46% of respondents thought that regulations are important for different safety reasons. But the rest of the readers, 54% said that too much regulation could be demotivating and problematic for developers. My question is: can one think both of these statements are right? I think you can agree that some sort of regulation is needed so an app doesn’t offer a band aid for a broken arm (excuse me for the simplified example), but it is also important that the developers can still be innovative and creative.

The article also mentions a concern that is not addressed in the survey. Mainly, that regulations are offered for doctors, so they don’t become too reliant on these applications. First of all, what do you call too reliant? Where do you draw the line? A recent study showed that in the United States every 2 in 5 doctors use mobile apps during a visit. Would you consider that too high? And second of all, isn’t it more of a concern that patients become too dependent on these tools? The doctor has a medical degree to help him/her decide what app to use and how. But what about the patient that follows any advice on a mobile device without seeing a doctor?

(Source: Healthcare It News)

Medicine In The Digital Era

With new devices constantly appearing on the market at a new speed, it is safe to say that the digital era has arrived. It also consumed the medical field with physicians enjoying the perks of having mobile access to the enormous amount of knowledge required while practicing medicine. While it was long obvious that mobile applications and devices influenced doctors in a major way, a recent infographic about U.S. hospitals and healthcare professionals included surprising numbers to prove just how much they became an integral part of practices.

According to the data below, more than 2 in 5 physicians go online during a patient’s visit mostly for drug references, new publications, disease associations or to look for a support group for patients. The most convincing fact was the high rate of doctors using consulting applications with 94% of them turning to these for information. The infographic also suggests that other mobile based technologies are welcomed as well. For example 86% of physicians are interested in accessing electronic health records, while 83% of them would like to use these devices as prescription tools.

The data also highlights the fact that more and more doctors go on social sites for professional reasons. At the 1188 hospitals observed Facebook seemed the most popular with 1018 pages created. These healthcare facilities shared overall 548 Youtube channels, 788 Twitter accounts and 458 LinkedIn profiles. One thing that stood out was the relatively low number of hospital blogs with only 137 listed for all 1188 hospitals. Despite the fewer blogs in these organizations, the infographic states that blogs are actually favored by doctors compared to private online physician communities.

The numbers once again show the significance of the “mobile movement” among healthcare professionals. Maybe this magnitude is why the FDA, while usually slow in similar cases, felt the urgency to address this phenomenon with its draft guidance for mobile medical applications.

 

(Source: Spinabifidainfo.com)