#ASH17 starts tomorrow and we’ve already seen some 250 health care providers joining the conversation!

Overall, pre-conference engagement is up from last year, and especially vocal are the specialists in Internal Medicine and Hematology (←no surprises there!).  Myeloma is a highly anticipated topic this year with health care providers talking about developments in treatment and diagnostics.

Check out this visual breakdown of who’s talking and be sure to join us at the end of the conference for volume updates and the latest news from thought leaders of ASH 2017!

MDigitalLife

MDigitalLife

Get a deeper look into pre-ASH conversation with MDigitalLife’s interactive network map here: http://bit.ly/2kG6bgR

Over the past several days, we’ve been sharing bits and pieces of an extensive research project into all things “interventional” in preparation for the Cardiac Research Foundation’s Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (#TCTDenver) conference, which kicked off Sunday in Denver, CO. Steven Cutbirth’s prior posts are linked below:

While I’ll be making a full presentation tomorrow (November 1) at 1:05PM MDT (Room 501 at the Colorado Convention Center), I wanted to share some of the interesting things we’ve learned about the online behavior of interventional cardiologists and interventional radiologists.

For one thing, it’s not just for the kids – 72% of the online interventionists in our MDigitalLife Online Health Ecosystem database are over the age of 40. They post regularly and actively – more than half of US interventionists post at least weekly, and more than 2/3 of interventionists from outside the US do so.

They use the “open forum” of twitter to debate the topics most important in the field. One of the hot topics I’ll cover in my presentation involves the discussion & debate around TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement), a minimally invasive procedure that can, in some instances, alleviate the need for open heart surgery. The topic is hot enough that there are more than twice as many presentations on this year’s TCT agenda (>131%) as there were two years ago. But the increase in twitter posts over the past two years is even more pronounced: There have been 4.5x as many TAVR-related twitter posts than their were during the year leading up to TCT in 2015 (>441%).

It’s not just what the interventionalists talk about that’s interesting here; it’s also whom they’re engaging in the course of those conversations. One of the most telling signs of an influential online physician is is that she tends to mentioned regularly by her peers. Over the past year, there are literally thousands of interventionalists around the world who’ve connected in conversation – but these are the 10 interventionalists who have been mentioned most often by their peers:

The interventionalists who are responsible for this remarkable growth in meaningful conversation are also convincing their colleagues to join them online at a fast clip. Interventionalists have adopted twitter 14% faster than their brethren in oncology – who are known as active social media adopters among specialists. Two weeks ago, Amit K. Gupta, MD posted an article on TCT’s “Heart Beat” blog entitled Why All Interventionalists Should Be on Twitter. It looks as though his colleagues already agree!

To learn more about how the MDigitalLife Online Health Ecosystem database can reshape the way you interact with doctors, patients, the media & all the important stakeholders of your healthcare company, learn more here.

 

One of the steps required by the FDA of biotech, medical device and pharmaceutical companies before launching or “commercializing” a new drug/device is to test the drug/device with a certain number of patients. As you can imagine, finding and recruiting the right patients into these clinical trials can be difficult, especially when it comes to rare diseases or uncommon disorders. In the past, companies leveraged radio ads, billboards, ads at bus stops among other techniques but as the world becomes more digital, these tactics have become more expensive and less effective.

 

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with our partner and the founder/CEO of Seeker Health, Sandra Shpilberg, to discuss how companies like hers are leveraging digital marketing to recruit patients more effectively. During our half hour conversation, Sandra and I talk about:

  • The evolution of clinical trial recruitment (CTR)
  • How the web and social media have impacted CTR
  • The impetus for Sandra starting Seeker Health
  • The importance of being “clean and compliant” when recruiting
  • Who and what are inspiring her today

Thank you Sandra for taking the time to chat! I feel a little bit smarter and hopefully our listeners do too!

Note: during the interview, Sandra cites the book, Founders at Work, as one she is in the process of reading. Both of us referred to the author as “Jennifer Livingston.” The author’s correct name is “Jessica Livingston.” We both realized this after the interview but I chose to keep the section in because I liked her thought process about how the book was a quick and efficient way to learn about forty different startup founders.

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Yesterday, Greg Matthews managing director of MDigitalLife lead a spectacular webinar on understanding physician/patient conversation online. Throughout his webinar he discussed the evolution of online interactions between patients and Healthcare Providers (HCPs) and what healthcare companies need to know to stay ahead of the curve.

Key takeaways included:

  • How to identify and learn from online patients, HCPs and advocacy influencers
  • How to reach patients, HCPs, and advocacy influencers online – safely and effectively – to get your message in front of the right audiences
  • How to leverage social analytics to more effectively launch new products, create custom, targeted content and identify the right KOLs, spokespeople and advocacy partners

If you were not able to attend take a listen to the webinar below.

It is a busy time at W2O Group from acquisitions to presenting our research at ESOMAR Congress, a lot of exciting opportunities have happened for us this year. The great news is we still have so much coming down the pike the rest of 2016. We want to make sure you have the scoop on what we are up to and how you can follow along. Check out what we have coming up this week, we hope you join us!

The Economist’s War on Cancer | September 28, 2016 | 2:45pm EST

Empowerment through numbers – Social media and technology

What steps have big pharma companies taken to analyze social media data and better inform themselves of patient needs?

Managing Director of MDigitalLife, Greg Matthews will discuss this and more at The Economist’s War on Cancer this Wednesday. His fellow panelists include:

If you’re interested in following along the conversation follow @W2OGroup for live updates on #WarOnCancer!

Webinar Invitation: How Relevant is Your Brand |September 29, 2016  1:00-1:45pm CST

Is your brand leading (or at least on trend with) where the market is heading…or is it reacting and trying to catch up? Join W2O Principal Gary Grates and Corporate Insights Lead Rob Jekielek as they discuss the emergence of relevance as a core driver of growth. Register here.

The discussion will focus on: 

  • The evolution of corporate reputation
  • The emergence of relevance as a driver of growth
  • Capturing an organization’s narrative to sustain ongoing, agile engagement

If you are unable to attend but would like to receive a recording of the webinar please sign up here.

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With the cost of healthcare on the rise, it’s no surprise that players from across the health ecosystem are coming together to solve some of our biggest problems in terms of ensuring access to the right care at a reasonable price. That’s part of the work that Yousuf Zafar, MD has been focused on for the last several years.

It’s should also be no surprise that as leading thinkers like Dr. Zafar grapple with this thorny problem, that one of the tools fueling his research and spreading the results of his findings lies in YZafarsocial media.

Dr. Zafar is a GI Oncologist at DukeHealth and a health services researcher with a focus in improving care delivery for patients with advanced cancer. He has participated in multiple studies focusing on access to care, cost of care, and comparative effectiveness of care delivery between health systems. His primary area of interest is in the cost of cancer care with a special focus on its patient impact. His current work in this arena is focused on patient preferences regarding cost-related communication and decision-making.

Dr. Zafar was a very early adopter of twitter, having been active on the platform since 2007. “I use other platforms personally, but for professional purposes, twitter is definitely the best tool for me,” he told me in a brief interview yesterday. He’s been identified as one of the “Featured Voices” at the ASCO annual meeting in Chicago (#ASCO16), a good choice – the number of Dr. Zafar’s physician followers on twitter puts him in the 97th percentile of all US oncologists. He has been actively involved in the online backchannel of #ASCO16 this far. Below is a map of the physician-to-physician conversations on the first day of ASCO (June 3) – as you can see, Dr. Zafar’s twitter handle (@yzafar) is quite central to the conversation. [NOTE: Click up the number of nodes on the chart to see the full conversation; it’s even more dramatic when you “zoom out.”

That active involvement has resulted in additional visibility for Dr. Zafar and his work – and bringing increasing attention to the issues around healthcare costs is really important to him. “One of the things that has been great to see at ASCO is that we’ve not only been using social media to help connect physicians to the latest research, but also to help patients relate their own stories and experiences to that research,” says Dr. Zafar. In fact, Dr. Zafar tends to learn as much from patients and their experiences as they do from him. “It’s really tough for a clinician who typically only has a few minutes with a patient to truly understand all of the issues associated with their broader experience of care.” Social media has helped to fill that gap.

In one of Dr. Zafar’s abstracts, he summarizes the situation in a very powerful way:

“Long-term solutions must focus on policy changes to reduce unsustainable drug prices and promote innovative insurance models. In the mean time, patients continue to struggle with high out-of-pocket costs. For more immediate solutions, we should look to the oncologist and patient. Oncologists should focus on the value of care delivered, encourage patient engagement on the topic of costs, and be better educated on financial resources available to patients. For their part, patients need improved cost-related health literacy so they are aware of potential costs and resources, and research should focus on how patients define high-value care. With a growing list of financial side effects induced by cancer treatment, the time has come to intervene on the “financial toxicity” of cancer care.”

– S. Yousuf Zafar, MD (JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (2016) 108 (5): djv370
doi: 10.1093/jnci/djv370)

That shared responsibility for driving change is very consistent with what we’ve seen in the online health ecosystem – the convergence of health conversations among clinicians, patients, caregivers, policymakers, the media and the industry itself. Our thanks to Dr. Zafar for his great work & for taking the time to talk to us. Be sure to follow him on twitter (@yzafar) and in the media.

For more information about the MDigitalLife Online Health Ecosystem and to download the 2016 Social Oncology Project report, just click below.

TheSocialOncologyReport-Cover-HiRes

Click to Download the 2016 Social Oncology Project Report


Learn more about W2O Group:  About  Work  Contact

Over the last several years, we’ve had the opportunity to study several people in the online health ecosystem who play multiple stakeholder roles (e.g., Patient-Peschattnerhysician or Patient-Journalist). Today I’m featuring one of the rare people who actually plays 3 pivotal roles in the online health ecosystem – Elaine Schattner, MD.

When she was practicing, Elaine was highly respected for her clinical acumen. But she’s also a breast cancer survivor and a noted healthcare journalist (she’s a regular contributor at Forbes, among others). This has given her a truly unique perspective on the way that different populations perceive and interact with the healthcare system – and their own health.

The way that Elaine engages online reflects her multiple perspectives – and her broad interests. During calendar year 2015, she mentioned 1,327 unique twitter handles (including at least 171 doctors, 77 patients, 173 reporters and 134 media outlets). She also shared links to 570 different outlets (including sources as diverse as Medscape, Nature, the New England Journal of Medicine, StatNews.com, Brainpickings.com and PeterUbel.com.)

And her audience is equally diverse. Among her more-than 11,600 followers are at least 1,200 physicians (putting her in the 99th percentile of doctors most followed by her US peers) and remarkably over 1,100 patients, caregivers and patient advocacy groups – more than any other US Oncologist. And it’s not just Elaine’s following that’s particularly strong and diverse; she also engages that audience broadly with the content she shares. During 2015, she was mentioned (or her articles linked to) over 3,600 times by nearly 1,000 people and organizations in the MDigitalLife Online Health Ecosystem database. And those engagements reflect her audience’s diversity as well:

  • 42% from fellow physicians
  • 35% from patients, caregivers and patient advocacy groups
  • 10% from reporters and media outlets
  • 13% from people and organizations in the healthcare industry

It’s a rare individual, physician or not, that can reach an audience of that size, breadth and relevance to the healthcare system. What is it that’s makes Dr. Schattner so successful in building and engaging that audience?

“On social media, as in real life, many people – in their social groups, or among colleagues – tend to nod their heads, to reiterate or rephrase what’s popular, or what they think their employer or network will favor. On twitter, that ends up generating a lot of retweets within groups of like-minded followers. But that kind of chatter doesn’t broaden anyone’s knowledge base; it reinforces silos. It’s neither interesting, nor helpful to science, or health, or anything really. I like to add new ideas to a conversation. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

– Elaine Schattner, MD

SchattnerMostFollowersSnapshot-300x203Dr. Schattner has been particularly impactful in the online conversation about breast cancer. Among the tens of thousands of participants in that conversation from the MDigitalLife Online Health Ecosystem, Dr. Schattner is the 3rd most-followed, behind only USA Today healthcare reporter Liz Szabo (@LizSzabo) and #BCSM twitter chat co-moderator Deanna Attai, MD (@DrAttai) – and followed closely by #BCSM chat co-moderator and breast cancer survivor Alicia Staley (@stales). This is even more intriguing, because Dr. Schattner rarely participates directly in the #BCSM chat – a huge driver of conversation in the breast cancer community.

“I don’t often participate in twitter chats. They provide great value for many people, but don’t fit very well with my preferred mode of engagement. I tend to have more one-on-one or small-group conversations. When things move so quickly – as they do in twitter chats, it’s harder for me to be able to do really get to know people and to understand their perspectives.” – Elaine Schattner, MD

The rise of the social media has completely changed the way that the health ecosystem interacts. As health becomes an increasingly important topic in the 21st century, the ability to connect the stakeholders – all of them – is both valuable and necessary. Led by pioneering bridge-builders like Dr. Elaine Schattner, we can be confident that a shared understanding is both possible and on its way more quickly than we could have imagined.

“I’ve always been the kind of person who speaks her mind. I’m not afraid to say and write what I think, and as an independent journalist I am free to do so. I’m not afraid to challenge the opinions of powerful individuals, including physicians in positions of leadership, journalists and others. People know that about me, and maybe some respect me for doing so. Pretty much everything I say, or share on-line, reflects what I think matters for patients. Some may trust me for that reason, even when they disagree.”

– Elaine Schattner, MD

TheSocialOncologyReport-Cover-HiRes

Click to Download the 2016 Social Oncology Project Report


Learn more about W2O Group:  About  Work  Contact

Download The Social Oncology Project 2016 here.

Today, we’re releasing the fourth version of our annual report, The Social Oncology Project, a comprehensive review of conversations about oncology happening on publicly facing social media.

Before I note some of the lessons we learned from this year’s report, I wanted to flag how the lessons we’ve learned over the previous three years colored our approach. Our initial impulse in surveying the online landscape was to understand WHAT was being said about cancer. That helped us better understand the ebbs and flows of topics discussed online and impressed us with the pure volume of conversations.

But what we found was that trying to make sense of every last tweet about cancer could be misleading. We found a lot of tweets, but there was a lot of low-value conversation. It was difficult to draw firm conclusions about WHAT was being said without knowing WHO was talking.

So this year, we’ve boosted the signal-to-noise ratio by looking at four specific groups of online influencers who have demonstrated influence and high-quality discussions: doctors, advocates, patients and media. Though the lines between these groups are not always bright, categorizing online voices with more precision offers a more complete picture of what is truly happening in social oncology.

By looking at these four groups, across five different cancer types and two specific topics (immunotherapy and value in cancer care), we’ve gleaned four key truths about the state of the online oncology conversation:

  • Connections > Volume. For every cancer we assessed, we plotted a network graph, showing how every member of the community was connected to every other. What we found was that it wasn’t always the person posting the most that had the most influence: it was the individual whose network knit together the more diverse coalition.
  • Video is King. We also looked at thousands of links shared within hashtag communities. And despite the fact that oncology is not necessarily a visually-driven medium, we saw YouTube emerge time and time again as a site that was frequently shared, especially by patient and advocates. In a world in which we all have video cameras in our pocket, video will only play a larger role in communication around oncology.
  • News Doesn’t Drive Education. When hashtag communities look for new information, they tended to either go right to the source (peer-reviewed publications) or vetted medical information from the government or large cancer centers. News stories drive relative few conversations, suggesting that what’s new isn’t necessarily what is important, especially for clinicians and patients.
  • Doctors Serve as a Bridge to Information. Physicians in the network, across nearly every subject we analyzed, were unique in that they pushed peer-reviewed data out across the network, not watered-down summaries of research. Navigating the scientific literature can be hard—not because non-physicians can’t understand it, but because separating wheat from chaff is not always straightforward—and by directing attention to key papers, physicians play a vital role.

All of this may beg the question of what’s next. Our conversations with thought leaders—some of which are included in the report and some of which will appear on the blog in the days to come—suggest that the next big thing is smaller conversations. Though large, hashtag-driven discussions are not a part of the fabric of online conversations, we’re hearing more about the way that smaller communities can come together for information exchange in private messages, closed Facebook groups or crowdfunding platforms.

While network size will continue to be factor in making sure that the right people find each other, we look forward to exploring a future in which a kaleidoscope of small, interlocked groups drive social oncology to new places.

Download The Social Oncology Project 2016 here

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The learning continues at a fast pace at the Baylor, Scott & White Digital Summit.  In our technology innovations panel this afternoon, we were joined by Chris Raps, VP & Americas Sales Director at NASDAQ; Beth Meyer, Director Strategic Marketing, Greatbatch; Colin McCarthy, senior manager of business development, Witricity; and Jeroen Brouwer, Marketing, Sales and Business Development Director, Philips.  Here are the key insights I heard as moderator of the panel.

#1 – Security and important paperwork lead to online solutions – we can’t afford to leave board books out in the open or the results of a formulary meeting or any other sensitive topic.  We can share content, do surveys, hold Q&As and basically operate with full security if we work with new, leading-edge solutions like NASDAQ has created for boards of directors.  I have to say that I never realized NASDAQ did more than run their exchange…..now we know they are very aligned with the interests of healthcare leaders.

#2 – We can power devices in new ways – Witricity and Greatbatch explained to us the power of wireless energy transfer.  Imagine having a pacemaker and it can be charged wirelessly via a simple wireless energy transfer device. Yes, this technology can allow us to get rid of annoying cords for our computer devices, but it is the impact it can have on medical devices and machines that is of highest interest for the future.

#3 – The last mile is happening – Jeroen talked about how Philips is innovating in home care, telehealth, remote patient monitoring and other key areas that all move care closer to the patient.  This is all part of a move to connect patients to the health system when and where they need it.

#4 – The automated coach – it’s getting more real for us to get coached in an individualized way, based on information received from the devices we use.  How we use devices can help us learn about behavior, how we are doing vs. our goals, how we can learn to change an important process or we can just get a personalized message.

#5 – The biggest hurdles in healthcare – Beth said it is the time to market and the cost associated with it.  In particular, she focused on the importance of achieving adoption of technology, which is driven by innovative value and personal experience.  Chris echoed that user experience also matters and, in the case of NASDAQ, being HIPAA compliant as well.   Jeroen said it is adoption.  He said that if you have the right proposition that can prove outcomes, then the health system will adopt your product.

And I would like to end with a quick summary of key insights from emerging companies that presented today. Here are a few insights.

Bloom Technologies provides data to inform prenatal health decisions.  What I did not know is that we spend $26 billion per year in the U.S. taking care of pre-term babies.  There are 15 million pre-term births each year and it is the #1 killer of children under 5 years of age.  Bloom Technologies is exploring how to improve this situation.

The U.S. average wait time to see a dermatologist is 29 days, something that 3Derm Systems takes very seriously to decrease wait times for patients and costs for doctors. They believe telemedicine can become the new standard of care

SwipeSense imagines a day where we have “hand cleanliness accountability”. We know how important it is to keep our hands clean, particularly in medical situations.

Echo Pixel believes medical imaging is incomplete, so they are building a 3D solution for physicians to see clinical situations, like atrial fibrillation. More clarity, better outcomes is the idea.  They want professionals to interact with patient images in an open 3D space.

Quartet Health is focused on behavioral health conditions. They are matching patients to behavioral health networks and helping both stay on track of the healthcare plan. This can reduce expenses across the board.  Their goal is to build a collaborative behavioral and physician health ecosystem.

Eko Devices believes it is time to create a next generation, bluetooth enabled stethoscope that decreases/eliminates pathogens, includes telehealth applications and transfers data.

Tute Genomics is focused on whole genome sequencing. They believe every patient needs an answer and time makes a difference to know what to do and their goal is to bring genome analysis to the masses.

AliveCor develops mobile technology for heart health.

WiserTogether is delivering solutions in which clinicians and patients communicate together using the best available evidence when faced with the task of making a decision.

Senscio Systems combines sensor development with artificial intelligence technologies to built intelligent systems to transform data into knowledge for decision making.

Proteus has created a sensor-enabled pill, a small wearable patch, and applications that can be accessed via mobile devices and other computers by patients and healthcare providers. Called Proteus Discover, it directly measures medication-taking and physiologic metrics to support patient self-management and to help physicians and care teams optimize therapy

And Rimidi has a diabetes management platform to empower providers and engage individuals to more successfully manage this disease.


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