Technology is redefining our relationship with our wellness, but what does this mean? This week we’re excited to welcome back, Jeremiah Owyang, Founding Partner and Industry Analyst of Kaleido Insights, to unpack this idea.

Jeremiah discusses the inevitable relationship between tech and wellness and his latest infographic, Modern Wellbeing. He also divulges how tech is reshaping wellbeing, forecasts the future of the industry, plus he shares his current favorite reads. Take a listen below.

Don’t miss an episode of What2Know, subscribe to our podcast on iTunesStitcher or Spotify!

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Healthcare page.

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Artificial intelligence has been described as revolutionary as electricity has been to the human race. It’s proper place in health care is still uncertain. Optimistic futurists – and some overheated marketing – have suggested that computers will one day replace doctors, starting with radiologists.

In his new book Deep Medicine, Dr. Eric Topol, the Executive Vice president at Scripps Research and a geneticist and cardiologist by training, argues that Artificial Intelligence tools will actual enhance the doctor/patient relationship by replacing many of the mundane and routine tasks doctors are currently saddled. With administrative burdens reduced, doctors will have more time to do what they love most – interacting with, diagnosing and hopefully healing patients.

During this week’s episode of What2Know, Dr. Topol, discusses harnessing AI to better healthcare, he proposes how the relationship of AI and healthcare should look, and he shares the one thing he would change in the world of healthcare tomorrow (hint: data ownership). Take a listen to the episode below.

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Designing a good product in healthcare ultimately can lead to a healthier world. According to this week’s guest, product management gives you a vantage point, it allows you to be the voice of the customer and truly understand what people want presently and in the future.

ck Andrade, PhD, Director of Product Management, Philips, joins the podcast to discuss the part she plays in creating a healthier world in her current role, she forecasts her vision for the future of healthcare, and she unpacks the importance of health parity. Plus, she shares what she does in her (very little) spare time. Take a listen below.

Don’t miss an episode of What2Know, subscribe to our podcast on iTunesStitcher or Spotify!

If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Healthcare page.

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South by Southwest (SXSW) is such a special time for W2O. Over the last 10 years, we’ve invested in meaningful thought leadership and networking activities at an event that has become synonymous with “innovation.” This year, we pared back the size of some of the events, but not the quality. And as I mentioned in my blog post leading up to SXSW, we were all about the healthcare angle this year.

Over the course of 2.5 days, we convened some of the smartest minds in the business to address critical issues in healthcare, like the impact of technology, the role data plays and why putting the patient (customer) at the center is the most important thing any of us could do. We did manage to incorporate some barbeque and good music into the mix as well. The outcome was a number of happy clients, some great content and some prescriptive steps on how we can continue to evolve and improve healthcare!

Keep scrolling to absorb everything, or jump to PreCommerce Summit, SXSW Partner Programming, or GeekACue pix.

What are top healthcare execs focused on?

PreCommerce Summit

Read recaps: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Our PreCommerce Summit agenda was incredible this year:

Let’s dive into each presentation.

Keynote: Built to Suck

Joseph Jaffe

Recap is in PreCommerce Summit Part 1.

Real Talk, Real Life and How the Federal Government Is Applying Data to Solve Real World Problems

Jennifer Gottlieb

Mona Siddiqui

We put together a “cheat sheet” of Gottlieb’s conversation with Siddiqui here.

Another recap is in PreCommerce Summit Part 1.

Being Patient-Focused in a Value-Driven World – Do We Understand Their Voice and Values?

Mary Michael

Chuck Hemann

Rita Glaze

Gender Parity as an Indicator of Relevance

Angela Gillespie

Meredith Owen

Feel free to click here to access the whitepaper discussed in this panel (The Healthcare Industry Gender Diversity & Corporate Relevance Report).

Recap is in PreCommerce Summit Part 1.

Keynote: AI to UhOh – What Matters in the Future of Media

Bob Pearson

Bob shares key insights from his keynote.

Will (Tech) History Repeat Itself? Avoiding Unanticipated Consequences in Digital Health

Heather Flannery

Rasu Shrestha

Mary Corcoran

Recap is in PreCommerce Summit Part 2.

Caregivers, Cancer and Catalysts for Change

Josh Kampel

Mark Reisenauer

Bill Rancic

Recap is in PreCommerce Summit Part 2.

What Does Hyper-Targeted Media Look Like in an Anonymous (Post-GDPR) World

Chris Neuner

George Gallate

Seth Duncan

Recap is in PreCommerce Summit Part 2.

Keynote: Your Secret Weapon for Surviving the Coming Recession: Activated Employees

Joelle Kaufman

Recap is in PreCommerce Summit Part 2.

The Importance of Thought Leadership in Healthcare

Julissa Viana

Ellen Gerstein

Bethany Hale

Gary Grates

Recap is in PreCommerce Summit Part 3.

Tips and Tricks on Hiring in a Tight Market

Deborah Hankin

Recap is in PreCommerce Summit Part 3.

Keynote: Data, What Is It Good For?

Paulo Simas

Recap is in PreCommerce Summit Part 3.

Gene Editing, Illness Prevention and the “Appification” of Healthcare

Jim Weiss

David Kirkpatrick

PreCommerce Summit Part 3

SXSW Partner Programming

How Big Brands are Improving America’s Health

Official SXSW listing

Dan Childs

Dawn Laguens

Heidemarie Schnell

Larry Dobrow

Read a recap.

Marketing in an Industry Where Change is the Norm

Official SXSW listing

Lynne Stockstad

David Kirkpatrick

Read a recap.

EQ in the ER: Building Empathy Through XR

Official SXSW listing

Anita Bose

Stephen Ibaraki

Rasu Shrestha

Read a recap.

Insights to Actions: Analytics-Powered Marketing

Official SXSW listing

Bethany Hale

Kevin Johnson

Mark Stouse

Julissa Viana

Read a recap.

Marketing in the Rise of Health Activism

Official SXSW listing

Alexis Denny

Mary Michael

Aaron Strout

Amber Tresca

Read a recap.


No SXSW is ever complete without good barbeque and music.

This year was no different as we took over the San Jac Saloon on Sixth Street. The barbecue was courtesy of Micklethwait Craft Meats and it was as amazing as we had hoped. The music was equally good with the featured band, Audley Freed and Friends, coming courtesy of our sponsor, Bayer (h/t Mark Bennett). The late night entertainment came courtesy of Bayli, who did play our after hours show last year. Both were amazing and left the crowd wanting more.

Pictures from our PreCommerce Summit, Partner Programming, and GeekACue are up on our Facebook.

As always, thank you to our incredible sponsors Bayer, PulsePoint, Proof Analytics and Dynamic Signal for being great partners. We couldn’t have done this without you!

Another year at South by Southwest (SXSW) has gone by, and so too has another year of rich content produced by the team at W2O. Having attended W2O’s first SXSW activities back in 2010, it is incredible to see the growth in interest for the events that we organize. On that score, for the second consecutive year W2O has been an official partner of SXSW and offered up content across a wide variety of topics for all attendees to experience. Last year’s sessions were innovative, inspiring and intellectually stimulating. This year delivered those three things and more.

When you have five different sessions it can be hard to identify a few common themes, but this year’s sessions delivered some broader takeaways. First, if it weren’t clear before SXSW, technology is fundamentally disrupting health care. It’s no longer possible to dismiss the Google’s, Facebook’s and Amazon’s anymore. They are fundamentally changing the health care landscape. Second, an undercurrent of both of our events this year was data. Whether it be the more proactive use, the collection of or the protection of data, it was on everyone’s minds. Lastly, there is almost universal belief that our health care system is fractured and in need of reform. There’s almost no doubt that this will be a huge topic of discussion in the 2020 Presidential election in the United States, but the debate is happening all over the country, including at SXSW.

With those macro takeaways in mind we wanted to share some specific takeaways from each of the sessions on Tuesday.

How Big Brands are Improving America’s Health


Dan Childs, Director of US External Communications, Bayer

Larry Dobrow, Senior Editor, Medical Marketing & Media

Heidemarie Schnell, Head of Marketing, Spotlyte

Dawn Laguens, Expert-In-Residence, IDEO

From the very first session of the day you could see that there was going to be significant discussion throughout the day on the intersection of technology and health care, and the need for change system-wide. Dan, Larry, Heidemarie and Dawn spent a significant amount of time talking about three key themes. First, how do large health care brands engage digitally in a way that is not going to be intrusive for patients? The panel universally felt that sometimes the industry over-indexes on trying to get stakeholders to speak like them, instead of organically engaging and letting the conversation go where it will. Second, the panel universally felt that every health care company needs to start thinking like a technology company. Whether it be leveraging consumer insights like a technology brand might, or hiring technologists to be on the team, the group thought that health care companies need to evolve to be more like some of the technology giants. Lastly, health care brands need to embrace a culture of testing, learning and activating with their marketing programs. The first session set the tone for a series of great content throughout the day.

Marketing in an Industry Where Change is the Norm


David Kirkpatrick, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Techonomy

Lynne Stockstad, Chief Marketing Officer, Optum

If you don’t know Lynne Stockstad, Chief Marketing Officer for Optum, you need to run, don’t walk, to learn more about her. After a long career at Microsoft (noticing the technology theme yet?), Lynne joined Optum about four years ago to continue driving its aspiration to improve experiences and outcomes for everyone they service, while reducing the total cost of care. The discussion between David and Lynne covered many topics, including advice for marketers, how the health care landscape is changing and where Optum was focusing over the coming months and years. There were a couple of very interesting things that I took away from this session. The first is the role of a Chief Marketing Officer within health care brands, and the relationships they have with the CTO/CIO. The role of CMO within health care brands is still relatively new, but with the consumerization/digitization of health, the role is becoming more popular. The addition of a CMO leads to the inevitable question of how that person interacts with other key communications and technology leaders across the company. Lynne talked about her partnership with her CTO/CIO, and how critical it is to scale things like the marketing technology stack and pushing technology into other parts of the business. Additionally, Lynne talked about the need to continually experiment and learn within the organization. She shared that Optum recently formed Optum Ventures, a $600m fund to service health care startups. The need to constantly iterate, try new things, and investing in technology that could become critical in the future is paramount.

EQ in the ER: Building Empathy Through XR


Anita Bose, Chief Development Officer, W2O

Rasu Shrestha MD MBA, Chief Strategy Officer & EVP, Atrium Health

Stephen Ibaraki, Chairman & General Partner, Redds Capital VC Fund

One of the things I love most about SXSW is that there’s always at least one panel that pushes the boundaries of what is possible today. This was that panel this year. Anita, Rasu, Stephen did an excellent job exploring the interplay between clinicians using technology to treat patients and the need for empathy. Technology, according to Dr. Shrestha, is a critical part of the treatment process, but he argued throughout the panel that the industry has been blindly embracing digital as opposed to using it to augment the truly humanistic aspects of care. It was his opinion that technology has actually created an even bigger barrier between health care professionals and patients.

On the flip side, Stephen Ibaraki shared several statistics that show we need to embrace technology even further, including:

  • Adoption of machine learning will reach 80% in the next three years
  • Adoption of wearable technology will reach 73% in the next three years
  • Adoption of blockchain and internet of things technology will reach 67% in that same time span
  • Adoption of biotechnology will reach 87% in the next three years.
  • XR, as defined by the combination of mixed reality, augmented reality and virtual reality is going to be a $210 billion industry in three years.

Stephen shared several other statistics throughout the session that were mind blowing. Suffice it to say, technology is here to stay, and we need to embrace it. 

Insights to Actions: Analytics-Powered Marketing 


Kevin Johnson, President, W2O marketeching

Julissa Viana, Senior Director of Global Social Media, Celgene

Mark Stouse, CEO, Proof Analytics

Bethany Hale, Head of Marketing, Cedar Inc. 

The penultimate panel of the day featured Kevin Johnson from W2O, Julissa Viana from Celgene, Mark Stouse from Proof and Bethany Hale from Cedar. Another fantastic benefit of SXSW is having the opportunity to hear from brands about how they are leveraging digital properties. All three of the panelists had really interesting takeaways, and so I figured I would share a few big nuggets from each person’s comments

Julissa’s comments:

  • It has never been more critical for us, as marketers, to utilize data. Social listening can be a critical data source, but we need to triangulate multiple data points as much as possible.
  • Social media can be an effective channel for all sorts of objectives, it’s about testing and learning.
  • Measurement is an important part of the job, but we need to be diligent about looking at the quantitative and qualitative performance of our campaigns.
  • We need to be open to experimentation. For example, it would be interesting to look at purchasing unusual data sets like those from Spotify and Pandora to truly understand our audiences’ interests.

Mark’s comments:

  • Mark echoed some of Julissa’s comments about triangulating data sources. It isn’t enough to rely only on one set of data when evaluating a business problem.
  • Our analytics work needs to be anchored in the needs of the business and the customers that we serve
  • Audience data of all sorts is untapped. We need to be looking at more audience data and not less.

Bethany’s comments:

  • One of my favorite comments of the entire day came during Bethany’s talk. She said it was important for brands to leverage internal data FIRST, before buying external data sets. It’s entirely possible that your organization will have what you need to address the business question at hand.
  • Bethany also shared the critical feedback that use cases are critical before launching into an analytics project. If you don’t know what you are trying to achieve, it’s hard to figure out a game plan to get there.
  • One of the questions the panelists received was centered around untapped data sets. The one that Bethany highlighted, which is one we at W2O agree with, is call center data. Call center data is an excellent repository of qualitative data.

Marketing’s Role in the Rise of Health Activism


Aaron Strout, Chief Marketing Officer, W2O

Mary Michael, VP Stakeholder Management & Patient Advocacy, Otsuka Pharmaceutical

Alexis Denny, Director of Public Affairs, PKD

Amber Tresca, Founder, About IBD 

The last session of the day was an excellent discussion on how we, as a health care industry, can do a better job of putting the patient more at the center of the experience. Each of the panelists came at this question from entirely different angles, which made it all the more compelling. A few of the more interesting takeaways included:

  • Mary Michael shared that pharmaceutical companies need a senior voice dedicated to patient advocacy. Without that senior voice, it’s hard for the organization to take this initiative seriously.
  • Alexis Denny, coming at this from the advocacy group angle, said that there is interest in working closely with pharmaceutical companies to improve the experience for patients, but trust is critical.
  • There was an undercurrent on this panel as well about the usage of data. As a patient, Amber Tresca noted that she is open to giving her data if she can see the outcomes from aggregating her data with those of other patients. Transparency is key.
  • One of my favorite quotes from the entire day came from Mary Michael. She said, “there is a big difference between listening and hearing. We do a lot of listening to patient conversations, but when we have an opportunity to interact directly with a patient, we need to make sure we hear them.”
  • Lastly, Mary shared that it’s selfish for organizations to hold onto their data and not proactively sharing it if asked. We can all be better by leveraging the collective intelligence that we have on the patient experience.

This was my tenth SXSW, and it gets better every year thanks in no small part due to the panelists who bring their smarts to the interactive community. This year’s trends centered around technology and how it was disrupting health care, the usage of data and the importance of continual experimentation. I suspect we’ll see similar trends at SXSW 2020, but half the fun is showing up and seeing what new experiences are brought to the table. See you next year, Austin!

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This post is the third and final post in my series of recaps for W2O’s PreCommerce Summit. Click the links to read what you missed: part 1 or part 2.

The Importance of Thought Leadership in Healthcare

Fitting that W2O Group’s Chief Communications Officer Gary Grates led a powerhouse panel on thought leadership in healthcare. He started by setting the context. Many discussions at PreCommerce and SXSW focused on how digital and technology are disrupting healthcare. That ongoing disruption affects how healthcare companies tell their story and how they communicate with key audiences. Gary argued that thought leadership was a key part of many companies’ combination strategies. He kicked off discussions by asking each of the panelists how they define thought leadership.

Julissa Viana (Senior Director, Global Social Media, Celgene) said her company thinks about what’s our point of view on a given topic. They also think about what kind of story they want to tell and most importantly, how to advance the conversation. Those topics tend to be driven by research categories and policy discussions her company is currently involved in.  Ellen Gerstein (Director, Digital Content, Pfizer) said her company started this year with a new CEO Dr. Albert Bourla. He’s unified the company behind one guiding principle: our mission is to focus on breakthroughs that impact patients’ lives. That guiding principle serves at the core to all Pfizer’s thought leadership efforts. Bethany Hale (Head of Marketing, Cedar) is six weeks into her marketing role at Cedar. She came from several years at IBM, most if that at IBM Health. While both are hugely different companies, she said the goals behind thought leadership efforts remained consistent: establish a clear point of view, to educate and to drive forward-looking conversations.

In terms of how analytics informs thought leadership efforts, Bethany said that Cedar’s starting by looking at traffic on their corporate website to get a sense for what’s resonating and augment that information with social listening. Ellen reiterated that W2O Group has been a strong partner to Pfizer helping them better understand their audiences and what content resonates with each of them. Helping customers understand the science has been a key bridge between Pfizer and its customers. That insight led to their Get Science initiative. Analytics made it clear that customers wanted to hear from everyday people in the company, not just the C-suite. Employee stories, stories about Pfizer’s commitment to diversity and inclusion like Pride Month stories and stories from Pfizer scientists are all examples of content that’s been welcomed by its customers. Julissa elaborated on how Celgene spends much of its analytics time on social listening, focusing on feedback from engagement. They examine comments and replies to examine word choice, signals of intent and sentiment with the goal of surfacing content that evokes emotion from customers. In terms of what to do when things aren’t working, Julissa offered this advice: stay true to your goals. Pay attention to your engagement and use it as an opportunity to build from.

Tips and Tricks on Hiring in a Tight Market

W2O Group’s Chief People Officer, Deborah Hankin took a few minutes in an interactive session to discuss details about hiring in a tight labor market.

  • Check the sofa cushions for the “shiny pennies” – Remember candidates who made an impact in the interview process, but they were either too senior or too junior for a role. Or maybe they weren’t specialized enough for a specific role but were otherwise solid candidates. Those are candidates are worth following up for.
  • Look for the big fish in a small pond who wants to be a big fish in a big pond – In roles for New York and San Francisco, W2O tends to hire candidates with great experience in those markets. However, we’ve hired lots of candidates looking for the next big thing from secondary markets like Houston, Phoenix, Miami, Minneapolis, etc.
  • And they told their friends and so on and so on… – Great people know great people. When we check references, we see them as “someday” potential candidates.
  • Treat your candidates like you treat your clients – Many times, star candidates have competing offers from other employers. If things are close, what makes a difference? Things like the interview experience matter.
  • Longer-term plays—Bottoms up and teach a man to fish strategies – Unfortunately, sometimes there’s not enough senior talent to fill roles available in our healthcare marketing space, particularly when it comes to creatives, strategists and analysts. In those cases, we take a bottoms-up approach by recruiting diverse junior talent aggressively. Then, we take steps to cultivate that talent of those employees to develop them into senior-level talent over time.
  • No magic bullets – Hiring talent effectively in a tight market may take a combination of the above steps. But remember, it’s a good thing to have to compete at the company level to hire and retain top talent. A tight hiring market usually translates into a really solid level of candidates competing for your open jobs.

Data, What Is It Good For?

W2O’s Chief Creative Officer Paulo Simas took the stage to explain how walk us through a presentation he had recently delivered to 200 CEOs and senior leaders in Medtech and healthcare. W2O works to blend data and analytics with creative work to inform projects we undertake on behalf of our clients. His goal today: Explain data in a way that discusses how those in healthcare can apply data, then to use it in a meaningful way.

Paulo has worked in the creative business for almost 30 years. While there’s been change over the course of that time, he argued that this current period is the time of biggest disruption and that data is at the core of that disruption. According to Paulo, creative executives who apply and use data effectively will create an unfair advantage in the market. That’s what he and W2O’s creative teams work to do on behalf of our clients.

We all know content continues to grow. Paulo reminded us that 400 hours of video uploaded every minute on YouTube. He also stressed that healthcare-related videos earned 200 million views every day on the platform. Almost 70 million people on Facebook today belong to a health-related group. And over 600,000 people follow the FDA on Facebook. Add it all up and it’s clear there are more healthcare-related opportunities for healthcare companies on social media platforms.  And when you look at Google searches, about 78% of customers here in the United States begin their healthcare journey that way. That translates into about 175 million healthcare-related searches on Google every single day.

So how are companies supposed to make sense of all that data? Paulo referenced the 4 Ps: People, Positioning, Planning and Performance. They represent the framework on how we use data.

  • People – Who are the audiences we’re trying to reach? And what do we know about them? Social media platforms give us insights into their conversations, language, behavior and more. The behavioral aspect is key. And understanding the affinities with the tribes or groups they engage with online also helps us understand audiences with much more depth. In healthcare, we use social data to map the patient or caregiver journey.
  • Positioning – For us, it starts with identifying the white space. But that’s just the first step—our clear focus is identifying the white space where our clients’ companies can shine. That often means changing an audience’s perception or to get them to take an action. Paulo shared some details around our work with TUDORZA to illustrate how W2O applies our approach on behalf of clients.
  • Planning – While social media combined with data and analytics set us up to understand audiences at completely new levels of depth, the idea still matters. Paulo stressed that’s exactly why the creative part of campaigns is so critical. It’s one thing to understand an audience and how they behave, but what you communicate must resonate with them. And many health-related campaigns, we have multiple audiences, it may be patients, caregivers, physicians or other HCPs. That means the planning piece is more complex than they’ve been in decades past.
  • Performance – All of us are on the hook for producing results. How are we able to prove that campaigns and associated content is meeting or exceeding our goals? Historically, that meant looking at performance in a siloed way, traffic to a company website, earned media, social and paid advertising. Today, W2O creates data warehouses to aggregate that siloed data. We then can take that aggregated data look at it holistically as it relates to the goals of the campaign. We can use that aggregated data to learn from what’s working and what’s not working, then adjust from there.


Gene Editing, Illness Prevention and the “Appification” of Healthcare

David Kirkpatrick, the founder and editor-in-chief of Techonomy sat down for the day’s last session with W2O’s Founder & CEO Jim Weiss to take a look at where the healthcare industry is heading.

David kicked off the discussion asking Jim why he started W2O Group nearly 20 years ago. Jim used his time at Genentech to explain. Back then, the company developed treatments for patients with cystic fibrosis. The nature of the genetic disorder meant that CF patients could not be near each other physically. Jim saw opportunity for CF patients and caregivers to engage with employees from Genentech directly online.

Several big events caused the healthcare industry to back away from the goal of having direct conversations. Jim cited the death of Jesse Gelsinger during a gene therapy trial as a clear example of this. Nearly 20 years later, even with the scrutiny that comes with the regulation of the healthcare industry, Jim’s starting to see an industry that’s getting closer to that goal.

Another aspect of the retreat came from tech companies. Jim reminded the audience that in the early 2000s, tech companies like Google, Intel and others established healthcare-related entities. Those companies quickly retreated from the space after realizing the healthcare part grew at a fraction of the pace of the tech side of their businesses.

Now, however many tech companies have re-entered the healthcare space as technologies like artificial intelligence, the huge proliferation of mobile devices, huge advances in fields like DNA screening, the explosion of wearable devices etc. are all converging to enable new possibilities in the space.

In terms of how all feeds into the future of healthcare, Jim expects that we’ll all be given the tools to manage our individual health overall. He referenced the Walgreens Boots Alliance and their partnerships with big tech players like Microsoft and Google’s Verily. The recent Aetna/ CVS merger is another example of this. Combining pharmacies with wellness options and other clinical offerings like blood tests and eventually advanced genetic screenings offers a glimpse into how much the healthcare space will change over the next several years. Amazon’s healthcare partnership with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway also stands to provide a big impact. Jim expects the patient-centric model to ultimately dictate how the industry evolves. And to that end, he’s trying out One Medical as an experiment.

As a person who tracks the tech industry closely, I came away this session and from the full day of discussions inspired.  Just thinking about the accelerated rate of change on the tech side, and the sheer number of individuals and companies committed to transforming healthcare, it’s clear what we’re used to today won’t even resemble what will be the standard 10 years from now.

That’s wrap for #W2OSXSW, we’ll see y’all next year!

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Note: This post is the second in a series of recaps of our PreCommerce Summit during SXSW. If you missed part 1, you can check it out here.  

Will (Tech) History Repeat Itself? Avoiding Unanticipated Consequences in Digital Health

Our own Mary Corcoran kicked off the next panel discussion by establishing context. Despite all the benefits that modern-day tech affords us, sometimes it leads to unintended consequences. Mary cited problems tech companies face, such as Facebook’s privacy woes, all-too-regular data breaches and more.

We all agree that the systems space stand to benefit greatly from advancements things like digital medicine, electronic health records, to a wave of consumer health applications designed to help us live healthier lives. But are there ways we can anticipate unintended consequences?

Rasu Sresthra (Chief Strategy Officer, Atrium Health) discussed not losing sight of humanistic aspect of health care in the midst of groundbreaking, disruptive technologies that already impact health services—from artificial intelligence to cloud services for storage and mobile applications that are bringing personal health to the forefront for consumers. As an example, he referenced a recent situation where a doctor delivered news that a patient was terminally ill via a remote video chat.  Rasu stressed that the importance of empathy as the health care industry decides when and how to implement technology. Rasu made it clear that humanize health care is the key to avoiding these unintended consequences.

Heather Flannery (Global Lead, ConsenSys Health) started off by explaining blockchain technology and how it relates to healthcare. With her focus on healthcare and life sciences, she works with the enterprise structural components of blockchain to implement health care projects. Many companies are experimenting in the space. While that’s a good thing, it can lead to data silos. That’s why data interoperability and security are both high priority focus areas for her. Another key focus area: she’s looking at identity broadly and deeply. Heather feels that blockchain technology can go a long way to alleviate patient matching problems the industry continues to live with. Identity is just one of the aspects she’s driving as the committee lead in the IEEE standards development working group for life sciences. Heather believes blockchain stands to make a much bigger impact on life sciences space than it has had in the financial services industry that many associate it with. Moving forward, she sees mitigating risks as key as we continue to use technologies like blockchain since lives are at stake.

Caregivers, Cancer and Catalysts for Change

Josh Kampel (CEO, Techonomy) set the stage for the next panel discussion by explaining that companies innovate through many options like internal research and development or investing or partnering with other companies or organizations. These models tend to engage an external ecosystem to bring innovation closer to the company.

The C3 Prize launched 4 years ago as a way to engage entrepreneurs in an effort to help them develop non-clinical solutions to cancer care.  According to Mark Reisenauer (SVP, Oncology, Astellas Pharma) it’s an important initiative for two reasons 1) Cancer affected his family personally and 2) Astallas’ mission within oncology division is to make every day better for cancer patients. During his time as a caregiver to his father diagnosed with neck cancer, he was struck that there were almost no resources to guide people through the cancer journey. In his experience, figuring out next steps was left up to him and his father as caregiver and patient. The primary role of C3 Prize is to address the biggest unmet need—the patient experience during their fight against cancer.

Patient advocate and entrepreneur Bill Rancic knows what it’s like to be affected by cancer. He was a caregiver to both his father dealing with kidney cancer and his wife Giuliana, now a 6-year survivor of breast cancer. Bill and Giuliana partner with Astellas promoting C3 Prize, and Bill serves as one of the judges to select the winner.  He loves the fact that C3 focuses on helping entrepreneurs take their non-treatment ideas to help patients and caregivers.

Last year, the C3 Prize saw about 200 submissions, which featured a spectrum of ideas, representing various maturity levels. Mark emphasized that Astellas goal is to do more for the best ideas, the ones that will have the most impact on patient experience. Beyond impact, Bill said ideas that help patients and caregivers make decisions from a place of knowledge instead of emotion are also part of this year’s criteria. Last year’s C3 Prize winner, Ebele Mbanugo produces stories and information designed to educate women about breast cancer treatment in Nigeria.

For 2019, they’ve doubled the prize money from $100,000 to $200,000. Bill’s passion and ambition were both on display as he shared his goal of getting thousands of submissions this year to scale their successful efforts from last year.

What Does Hyper-Targeted Media Look Like in an Anonymous (Post-GDPR) World?

As many of you are already well aware, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in May last year. If you’re a marketer, you’ve probably already changed how you reach your intended audiences because of it. W2O Group’s Seth Duncan, kicked off the panel discussion asking what it means to be a good health care CMO today in a post-GDPR world.

George Gallate (W2O Group Board Member and former CMO Merkle) responded saying the core of being a great CMO is still about the fundamentals: using data to reach your target audiences with information that’s useful to them.

Chris Neuner (Chief Revenue Officer, PulsePoint) agreed that GDPR establishes a new reality in regard to what data companies can collect and what they can use. Over the last two years, PulsePoint has worked to accumulate which data publishers have opt-in vs. who doesn’t. As expected, GDPR has already impacted the United States—Chris referenced the Washington Privacy Act passed that recently passed in Congress. California and Vermont have already enacted legislation, and it looks like Washington could be next in line.

Chris reiterated that good CMOs should be asking the following about data collection: what can we do? what should we do, and how should we do it? He also pointed out as health care marketers we have to consider what’s right in addition to getting the necessary opt-ins. As an example, HIPAA regulations govern data that comes from a person’s doctor. But what if a marketer starts to collect data based on the location of a doctor’s office? It’s possible to collect data in terms of who visits an endocrinologist’s office and make assumptions from there. It’s possible yes, but is it right to do?

George made the point that even if a CMO or marketer covers all bases and uses targeting data in a fully compliant way, they may not be transparent about it for two reasons 1) Effective targeting represents a competitive advantage and 2) The potential creepiness factor at the patient level. The way forward is to focus on connecting patient audiences with information that saves them time or that improves their outcome. George acknowledged the hard work involved but reiterated that getting the models right provide opportunity to create first-party opt-in databases. It simplifies things dramatically. He then reminded us that’s one of the biggest mistakes health care CMOs make—not knowing how much first-party data they own and not analyzing that data so it can be used to its full potential.

 Your Secret Weapon for Surviving the Coming Recession: Activated Employees 

Joelle Kaufman (Chief Marketing Officer, Dynamic Signal) talked about the importance of activated employees. How does that apply to the health care space? At 54%, physician burnout is currently at its highest rate and continues to rise. And it’s not just doctors… 35% of nurses surveyed are emotionally exhausted. For pharmaceutical and biotech companies those high burnout rates directly increase customer acquisition rates.

Activated employees are motivated intrinsically to go above and beyond. They are committed to the company they work for. They are passionate brand advocates. Lastly, activated employees support each other. According Signal’s research, companies with strong employee experience see 74% better employee retention rates, are 21% more profitable and their employees are 17% more productive.

Questions to ask to improve employee experience:

  • How many of your employees can you actually reach?
  • Of those you can reach, how many are actually consuming what you communicate
  • How are we getting structured feedback?
  • How do I measure that I’m reaching people in an impactful way?

There was so much goodness coming from our PreCommerce Summit that it couldn’t be contained in two posts, so that’s all for now. Stay tuned for part 3!

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W2O hosted the eighth annual edition of the PreCommerce Summit from our office in Austin, Texas. We always pack lots of great speakers into one event and this year was no exception. Like Aaron mentioned in his #W2OSXSW preview post, many of this year’s sessions focused on healthcare, featuring speakers from some of the world’s most innovative companies.

I’ll be doing a series of recaps from the summit, check out part 1 of my recap below.

Built to Suck

The ever-proactive Joseph Jaffe (Co-Founder, HMS Beagle) kicked things off by talking about the inspiration for his brand new book called Built to Suck: a chart in his daughter’s classroom that showed the rise and fall of global civilizations over 5,000 years. It made him wonder what happens if we look at corporations the same way as civilizations over time?

After studying several large companies, it became clear to Joseph that the very things that made corporations successful—size, economies of scale, efficiencies, cost-cutting, etc. eventually start working against it to impede growth. That’s why in his view that corporations are built to suck. Organic, customer-driven growth is key. If a company isn’t growing, it’s dying. As examples, he cited that 50% of Fortune 500 companies from 2000 no longer make the list; Also, 51% of the Fortune 500 companies have had declining revenues, on average over the last three years.

According to Joseph, here’s the 4 horsemen of the coming corpocalypse:

  1. Size – For all big corporations, budget cuts, restructures or reorgs are inherently part of the corporate cycle. He refers to this as death by 1,000 budget cuts.
  2. Age – After a certain point, age works against corporations. Current younger companies like Google or Amazon don’t suck, but some day they will.
  3. Being a public company – He calls this the kiss of death because of the focus it places on short-term financial performance.
  4. Culture – Marketers’ obsession with customer acquisition has made us focus on courting strangers rather than our fans, advocates and zealots.

He then gave us a preview of what corporations could do to avoid the inevitable fall. If you’re interested in learning more, then Built to Suck is for you.

Joseph’s one of my friends from the early days of corporate social media who I have a ton of respect for. When he says Built to Suck is the best he’s written, it’s well worth investing the time to read it.

Real Talk, Real Life and How the Federal Government Is Applying Data to Solve Real World Problems 

Our own Jennifer Gottlieb sat down with Dr. Mona Siddiqui, the Chief Data Officer for Health and Human Services for a fireside chat. Dr. Siddiqui is an internist, data scientist and self-proclaimed “recovering academic.”

How did she end up working for the federal government? Dr. Siddiqui knew she wanted to work in a place that was mission-driven, where she could have the biggest impact. She’s been able to build teams almost like a startup leading the White House Social and Behavioral Science Team and working with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

As chief data officer, she focuses on how data will be used to drive evidence-based policy. This work requires lots of collaboration and prioritization—Dr. Siddiqui mad the point that HHS itself is a collection of 29 different agencies, including FDA, CDC, NIH and others. Those agencies collect health data independently, which results in siloed data. Fixing that is a long-term process. She’s setting the vision for how data is used across HHS, demonstrating incremental value to help sustain continued momentum.

When she first started as the chief data officer, one of her challenges was to explain the value of data to agency leaders not trained in data science. That’s where her team partnered with data scientists from Google to attack the opioid crisis to create an HHS hackathon that brought together 250 coders using 70 unique data sets. It resulted in solutions that helped drive prevention, treatment and understanding usage. One example: plotting take-back programs to make it easier for patients to return unused pills. HHS and Google them worked with CVS, Walgreen’s and 7 states in to plot the take-back programs nationally on Google Maps.

Areas she expects the most innovation in health care over the next 10 years—home and community-based services. In her view, making progress will mean big step toward the goal of a patient-centric model. But it will require a massive re-architecting of health care delivery.

Being Patient-Focused in a Value-Driven World – Do We Understand Their Voice and Values?

W2O’s Chuck Hemann set the stage for the panel discussion by saying most companies across industries focus on producing value to their customers. In health care, though, it’s more complex: Patients tend to have a narrow definition of value. But there’s many other stakeholders in the mix. He kicked off the panel discussion asking how each define value.

Mary Michael, VP of Patient Advocacy at Stakeholder Management for Otsuka, responded by saying she doesn’t know what value is until I find out what the stakeholders want.  Mary’s approach: look at all as individuals first, making the point that we’re only patients when we’re visiting a doctor. Beyond the individual is stakeholders—maybe a son, a mother or father, friends who care about us, etc. That’s the ecosystem she and Otsuka are reaching out to when defining what value means. One of Mary’s key roles is to bring the ecosystem and community voices inside Otsuka. That allows her to educate the organizations and teams inside the company who building the initiatives and programs.

Rita Glaze W2O Group’s Practice Lead, U.S Market Access also agreed that listening to those audiences with intent a critical component. She attributes some of the friction to the disconnect between the health care industry and individuals: the industry tends to value as an equation: access + affordability, whereas for individuals and other stakeholders, that definition is very personal. The good news: many more on the industry side are focused on viewing from the lens of the individual.

For Mary and Otsuka, the key to putting the individual (patient in the center) starts with social listening. They spend a lot of time and effort understanding all the stakeholders in a patient advocacy organizations or external groups. In pediatrics, it’s simple: mom and dad are the key stakeholders. In other areas, like the mental health space, it’s not so simple: stakeholders may be a parent, a son or daughter, another loved one, family friends or even an employer. To Mary, the true value of social listening is the naturalistic element: it provides visibility into the lexicon, the attitude, the sentiment—all aspects you don’t get from the clinical side. Doing social listening well is key to understanding stakeholder needs. In many cases, effective social listening will surface new stakeholders that companies weren’t aware of.  An example: the banking industry is tied to Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. Why? Because when a person gets diagnosed with dementia, their personal wealth declines. That’s why banking institutions are hiring geriatricians.

Both Mary and Rita agreed that having celebrities speak up about health issues is a positive trend: Justin Bieber on struggles with depression and Selma Blair’s amazing efforts to shine a light on multiple sclerosis are two recent examples. Their speaking out raises awareness, and more importantly humanizes and removes the stigma connected to these conditions.

Gender Parity as an Indicator of Relevance

W2O Group’s Angelia Gillespie kicked off the next session with some positive recent trends that point to progress for gender parity: there’s a record number of women in Congress, General  Motors’ senior executive team now features a female CEO and CFO and female-focused  companies like Revlon recently appointed its first woman CEO in its nearly 100-year existence. But how is the health care industry doing when it comes to gender parity? That’s the question Angela and Meredith Owen set out to answer when they added gender parity and diversity to our W2O’s Corporate Relevance Index beginning last year. This research culminated in a whitepaper from W2O Analytics: The Role of Gender Disparity in Corporate Relevance.

Angela cited two STAT news stories to illustrate the gap. On the eve of JPM 2018, STAT published an article Men named Michael outnumber female CEOs presenting at #JPM18. In advance of #JPM2019, STAT published a follow-on story. This year, female CEOs presenting at the conference (33) outnumbered speakers named Michael (19). Still, 90 percent of the presenters were male.

So, why is this important? Angela pointed out that data shows that companies that invest in both gender parity and diversity benefit from increased revenue, decreased costs, maximized profits, improved retention and enhanced corporate image.

Before diving into the findings of the gender disparity whitepaper, Meredith Owen started out defining relevance. To W2O, relevance is the intersection between what companies need to say, want to say, are saying online and what stakeholders want and are saying about the company online.

When these two things align, powerful things happen. Meredith cited Sanofi’s reply to Rosanne Barr’s tweet as an example. Sanofi’s response received over 250K engagements from people, the large majority of which were hugely supportive of the company’s reaction. And that’s before you even consider the huge amount of earned media attention it gained.

Our research shows that health care companies have much progress to make as it relates to gender diversity. W2O looked at the 62 health care companies that make up the Fortune 500. Meredith and team started with Relevance Index benchmarks, factoring in the relative size of the conversation around health care diversity to score them. Unfortunately, only one health care company received an “On the Fence” ranking. All other 61 companies ranked either as “Weak” or “Susceptible.” This means health care ranks near the bottom compared to other industries in terms of diversity and gender parity.

That said, there are signs of progress. Compared to last year, gender and diversity scores for health care companies increased an average of almost nine percent year over year. According to Meredith, health care brands that deal directly with consumers tended to have higher gender diversity scores. Also, the overall conversation around diversity is increasing, up 126% in terms of total conversation from 2017 – 2018. It’s even more pronounced among physicians, growing 256% year over year.

More reason for optimism: there’s clear evidence that health care companies are paying attention to diversity and gender parity. 2017 – 2018 marks a 62% increase year over year in the number of posts related to diversity. Even better, there a 109% increase in terms of engagement with diversity-related content. It’s also worth noting that 100% of the health care companies that ranked in the Top 15 of our Relevance Index have Chief Diversity Officers on staff, and more companies are looking to hire for the role in the future.

For more insights, check out The Role of Gender Disparity in Corporate Relevance whitepaper.

There was so much goodness coming from our PreCommerce Summit that it couldn’t be contained in one post, so that’s all for now. Stay tuned for parts #2 and #3!

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It all comes full circle. A year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting one of the smartest people in the healthcare space at the party W2O hosts every year at SXSW. This woman’s name is Mona Siddiqui and she is the Chief Data Officer for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Fast forward to March of 2019, I had the amazing opportunity of sitting down with Mona to talk about her past, present and future. For those that weren’t fortunate enough to see our session, here is a “cheat sheet” from our engaging fireside chat.

Jennifer: Weve heard so much talk about data and AI, not only at SXSW, but specifically as it relates to healthcare. How do you see data and AI evolving?

Mona: Often times there are a lot of buzzwords and hand waving associated with data and AI, but to truly utilize and leverage these tools takes a lot of work. My job at HHS is to build the necessary foundation. Data can have a profound impact on patients that need our help. One practical use of artificial intelligence or AI is to help us process Petabytes of data so that we can inform projects and programs more effectively and ultimately impact people’s lives at scale.

Jennifer: The title of our fireside chat was Real Talk, Real Life and How the Federal Government is Applying Data to Solve Real World Problems. Can you expand on how the government is leveraging data to solve for current issues? 

Mona: Just a little over one year ago, HHS held the HHS Opioid Code-a-thon, a challenge competition to develop data-driven solutions to address the opioid overdose epidemic. Today, born from a winning solution at the Code-a-Thon, a new feature on Google Maps will make it easier to find drug disposal sites for unused prescription drugs.

Jennifer: As were exploring this idea of leveraging robust data, what is HHS approach to data sharing?

Mona: Part of the challenge that we’re facing internally is, how do we talk about using data internally that we’re not really using for public use or even public reporting, but that we need to use to understand the scope of a problem. The federal government has taken a specific approach to this challenge: individual privacy is paramount. In the broader industry, data is getting used in many different ways, where the individual has no control, no transparency, and really no recourse to be able to address how their information is going to be used.

Jennifer: Switching gears, Id like to talk about innovation. For some, innovation and the federal government dont go hand and hand. Youve been in government for quite some time, can you share some innovations that may surprise people?

Mona: All of the things that we do that are really, really innovative. The former team that I was a part of, the social and behavioral sciences team, we did some incredibly impactful large-scale testing within federal government programs. The innovation work at CMS, creating this new approach to data-driven policy, are all rich the pockets of innovation that happen throughout HHS.

Jennifer: Can you share a particular innovative initiative or project that has come from HHS?

Mona: The Kidney X project is a perfect case study. Our team noticed a failure in the market and knew we could utilize our resources to make a real difference. 1% of the federal budget, which is more than NASAs annual budget is allocated to dialysis. We can use the COMPETES Act to use prizes and challenges to enter into public and private collaborations that stimulate real innovation. In the future, as soon as two years from now, there will be other areas like this, which is incredibly exciting.

Jennifer: This has been a truly insightful conversation, I appreciate your time. Before I let you go, one fun question: what advice would you give your 12-year-old self?

Mona: Follow your own internal voice and dont be afraid to take many more risks. 

Thank you, Mona. It was a true pleasure sitting down with you. I wish you much success and thank you for helping to make America a healthier place!

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