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Meeting patients where they are, through actionable and personalized healthcare experiences, is essential for both them and their caregivers.

This week’s What2Know guest, Carina Edwards, CEO of Quil Health, dives into this, the power of tech within health, and her secret life as an introvert on today’s episode. Take a listen below.


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

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*A Swiss Chat

As the ‘first W2O employee on the ground’ in our Zurich office, it is my pleasure to bring you up to speed with recent developments here.

The workplace opened this year, so it was important that we made our mark on the city.

To this end, in September 2019, we held our inaugural W2O EMEA Marketing Science Summit, which successfully brought together 40 of the brightest minds across science, marketing, and communications to discuss using data to market products and ideas.

My Journey to Zurich

But first, let me tell you about the route that brought me back to my country of origin. I was born in Geneva and educated in different European countries. An internship with the World Health Organization (WHO) nurtured my interest in healthcare. I started at W2O in New York then did a short-term rotation in London. Both were stepping stones to my return to Switzerland and specifically the amazing city of fondue and Toblerone – ZURICH!

With Switzerland as the global hub for many international pharma/biotech companies, it was important to establish a base close to our clients. The recruitment of Fenna Gloggner, a Senior Group Director in the Insights and Analytics practice, whose experience lies in Swiss pharma, will strengthen W2O’s links.

My Chat with Fenna Gloggner

What is your background?

Fenna: My academic background is in politics and economics, but my career has taken me firmly into the pharmaceutical world. I moved from my native Germany to the UK to attend university and became a trainee market researcher at GfK Health in London. After a few years learning the ropes, I made another move across the continent to Switzerland into a client-side role at Novartis in Basel.

At Novartis, I worked in various roles in global commercial insights, including primary market research, business analytics, forecasting, and competitive intelligence. A lot of my work was in cardiology and cardiovascular health, and I am still fascinated by the miracle that is the human heart.

After 10 great years at Novartis, I felt like a change of pace, so I moved to one of my former partner agencies, HRW, into a business development role. HRW is a pharmaceutical market research agency with some very innovative solutions in qualitative research and behavioural science, so the move also gave me an opportunity to refresh my primary market research skills. I also developed a passion for behavioural science and how it can enhance product or communication strategies.

It was about a year ago that I first heard about W2O when I got chatting to Laura Mucha (W2O Managing Director Analytics) after a conference. We stayed in touch, and with every conversation there seemed to be more points of connection, so I am excited to be joining the company now.

What are you hoping to bring to W2O and in particular the Swiss office?

Fenna: I’ve been very impressed by what I learned about W2O’s digital analytics offering – a lot of things that I wish I had had access to when I was working industry-side! I think there will be a real opportunity to complement this with my experience in primary insights. My work in the past has always been at a global level, so hopefully that will be a good fit, especially for the EMEA team.

Another thing I will be able to bring to W2O is my industry experience. In addition to working client-side for the majority of my career, I recently completed an MBA in Pharma Business Administration. Studying part-time alongside a full-time agency job was an intense but very rewarding experience. I learned a lot and was able to connect a lot of dots – the programme covered everything from strategic management, finance, and pharma law to development, marketing and markets access and pharmacovigilance. A lot of things that were always a bit vague to me in terms of how the various pharma functions connect – especially outside of the commercial setting – are a lot clearer to me now. I look forward to sharing what I know and learned with anyone who doesn’t yet feel fully up to speed with what is going on inside pharma.

Finally, it will be great to have a real presence on the ground for our Swiss clients: With the office in Zurich and me working from Basel for part of the week, we will be able to have a lot of meetings face to face instead of remotely, which obviously helps with building strong relationships. For most of the local Basel clients, I can be at their offices in under 30 minutes – something that they (and I) have certainly made use of in the past…

Nina: What is your connection to Switzerland?

Fenna: A very personal one: My husband and children are Swiss, and I am a proud naturalised Swiss citizen. I have a large and wonderful Swiss extended family and we like to spend time out in nature: hiking in summer; skiing in winter. Switzerland is a beautiful country and offers a great quality of life – I still feel privileged to be able live here and hope many of our colleagues will come to Zurich to work with us and experience Switzerland for themselves.

We’re looking forward to developing our Swiss office and continuing to host the annual summit in Switzerland.

Merci vilmal (thanks a lot) for reading my blog!

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As electronic health record (EHR) systems became widespread, leading integrated delivery networks (IDNs) and hospitals began using the systems not just for internal records, but also to facilitate patient engagement. And so began the creation of created portals that allowed patients to make appointments, access after-visit summaries, view test results and pay bills. These portals were the first big step into digital patient engagement. But it’s time to move beyond them.

So where will hospitals and IDNs need to go next to  engage in an era where  consumers will push to have personalized services anywhere, anytime, in many areas of life? Here are five things to consider:

  1. Mobile Convenience: With two-thirds of people willing to use a mobile app to manage health-related issues, the question for IDNs is no longer whether to go mobile; it’s how. Will they send mobile reminders to do at-home physical therapy, schedule a screening or begin a pre-op routine? Will patients want to leverage connected devices to monitor symptoms, vital signs or behaviors? Will it be sending a detailed request around episodes of care that they have experienced? What about letting people video chat with a nurse on demand?

2. Personalization: For mobile experiences to be effective, they must be personalized – and the first step toward personalization is having the right data. IDNs need data to understand what kind of engagement a person needs and will respond to and what channel is most effective for them. And to go beyond personalized medicine into personalized health care, they also will need data from beyond clinic or hospital walls. This might include patient-reported or -generated data, consumer data, data from other providers or demographic data. Collecting all these inputs – which requires collaboration and system interoperability – creates a more complete picture of a person’s health to help IDNs map an effective, personalized journey.

3. Care Continuity: IDNs with multiple facilities, specialties and services must create platforms to ensure seamless engagement, discharge planning, at-home progress and continuity of care, especially for patients with chronic diseases. One way to do this is to put the patient at the center of the experience and ask, “what will this patient need next?” All instructions and records are “owned” by the patient and travel with them, rather than each area having its own record that must be shared or sent to others across the network. This seismic shift in perspective requires significant technical work, but the payoff is a unified, digital patient experience.

4. Ongoing Engagement: As IDNs work to engage people holistically, not just for a finite, specific treatment, the digital tactics change. What used to be a month’s worth of weekly post-op reminder emails might become a week’s worth of daily text messages with post-op advice tailored to the patient based on any comorbidities, a telehealth or video follow up by a NP/PA to check on recovery, followed by weekly encouragement messages and then monthly videos related to long-term recovery from the procedure and periodic wellness calls.

5. Public Social Sharing: In our public sharing culture, IDNs have the opportunity to monitor the digital spaces where their patients share health experiences without infringing on HIPAA or privacy regulations. When people share about an experience with an IDN clinic or provider, the IDN can respond publicly or privately and can use the information to improve services or engagement in the future. With a patient’s permission, IDNs could also take the use of public social sharing to the next level, using online activity to trigger an engagement point. For example, if a patient has invited their care team to follow a CaringBridge page, a post about the patient feeling unusually lethargic one day might trigger a nurse to call the patient rather than waiting for the patient to make contact.

We have advanced technologies today that can help us expand patient engagement from a passive information exchange to a dynamic, personalized, always-on experience. Organizations will need to change processes, structures – and mindsets – to realize the potential in these opportunities.


Interested in learning more about W2O? Check out our About or Healthcare pages.

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Next week we’re kicking off W2O Days at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (#UW2O)! Modeled after the success of our Syracuse University Social Commerce Days, this inaugural two-day event is focused on educating students about healthcare marketing and communications by connecting them with industry leaders. One of those leaders includes Amy Atwood, Head of Vaccine Communications at Takeda.

In the Q&A below, she unpacks her passion for healthcare communications, offers up career advice, and gives us a a preview of her keynote address for #UW2O. Check out her interview.

What fuels your passion around being a communications leader in the healthcare space?

Amy: Communicators are core in every field, but when you work in healthcare you can directly impact people’s lives. I’ve been a cancer patient and a caregiver so I’ve personally seen the importance of timely, clear, accurate information for all stakeholders. Through your relevant, truthful communications, you can help people take ownership of their own health. That’s what drives me – I feel like I am actually helping people.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the field of communications over the last 20+ years?

Amy: Oh so many changes! Most are due to the rapid changes in technology: we can bring our laptops home, we no longer carry beepers, we don’t have to read 10 newspapers every morning, cut out the relevant articles and paste them together to make a book of daily media coverage – and then fax it to the various offices! We also have our smart phones that place the world at our fingertips – and that leads us to possibly the biggest change over the last 20+ years: social media. It simply didn’t exist when I started in Corporate Communications! No Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat… The news cycle is now 24/7, instantaneous and every person has a voice. It’s much harder to own and shape your story.

You generously agreed to come and speak to some of the students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Tell us a little bit about your keynote?

Amy: I love to hear other people’s stories and learn from them, so I will share my career journey in hopes it will spark some ideas and provide inspiration for their future. My career has been filled with many ups, downs and zig zags along the way, but what has remained consistent is always doing what I love and looking for the silver lining, even when there doesn’t appear to be one.

What inspired you to want to spend time with these amazing students?

Amy: When I was in school, I had barely heard about Corporate Communications. I want to bring it to life for them, share the realities and give them encouragement as they embark on their careers. They are our future colleagues!

What piece of advice would you give your 20-something self?

Amy: All your hard work will pay off. Keep working as hard as you can, being guided by your values and instincts, and don’t be afraid to speak up, especially to advocate for what you know is right.

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Ready or not, here it comes. The transformative potential of data and marketing science has reached the healthcare industry and – according to what we learnt at our EMEA Marketing Science Summit in Zurich last Wednesday – we’d better shape up.

“Digital integration is the number one priority in healthcare,” came the resounding pronouncement from our keynote speaker, Dr Jamil El-Imad, Chief Scientist at NeuroPro.ch. It’s a sentiment that we certainly believe in.

So, in that light, what can take away from our 2019 Summit? Here are five key learnings.

  1. Connecting the Data Dots

Yes, data sources in the healthcare industry are siloed even within organizations, but that shouldn’t limit what you can achieve. Take these two innovative examples discussed at the event:

The trailblazing Swiss Brain Data Bank (SBDB) is accelerating scientific progress by enabling researchers to collaborate across digital databanks to improve diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders.

VirtaMed is transforming medical education with ‘flight simulators’ for surgeons. These simulators allow surgeons to train in a controlled, virtual environment and receive data-evidenced performance feedback. 

  1. Measure Selectively and Manage Expectations

With so much data, it’s tempting to ‘measure everything’. But this can be hugely counterproductive: it’s best to focus on actions and outcomes. Take these learnings from sport, for instance. Mo Wootten, a Sport Intelligence Analyst at UK Sports, discussed what they found from collecting sleep data. Not only was it not always useful to athletes, who already know if they don’t sleep as well before a major competition, but for some people it can be detrimental and a source of anxiety.

Jörg Corsten, Digital Medical Engagement Principal at Roche, warned against exaggerated expectations of AI and machine learning, reminding us that “we don’t have a general AI –nowhere we can just put in all the data and out comes the right answer.” Put another way, AI today resembles Siri – good at solving task-based problems – rather than HAL, the sentient AI from 2001: Space Odyssey.

  1. Acknowledge Your Bias

Our experiences and beliefs create unconscious biases, which, in turn, shape the way we see the world. We need to remain alert to potential bias in our datasets: metrics, tools and algorithms are created by people, so are vulnerable to the same foibles and biases that affect us.

Mo Wootten shared an example from the US criminal justice system, which integrates data models to predict the likelihood of re-offending. Tellingly, the algorithms used were shown to be racially biased.

The (big) data we have access to today can help us mitigate both problems: by triangulating from different data sources and perspectives – and consciously acknowledging our own cognitive biases – we can arrive at powerful insights.

  1. Blend Data and Storytelling – but Keep it Simple

Data-driven storytelling has the power to cut through information overload. Underpinning our stories with the right data creates relevance, but it is no easy feat. As Sam Knowles, Founder and Managing Director of Insight Agents, put it: “meaningfully bringing together the fire-and-ice worlds of storytelling, data and science is an art form.”

During the summit, Knowles shared his rules for compelling, data-driven storytelling as outlined in his book Narrative by Numbers. He highlighted that it is the combination of narrative skill and intelligent interrogation of data sources that creates real impact and, ultimately, influence.

So how do we do this? By keeping our story simple, being selective with our data and tapping into emotion.

  1. Get Ready for What’s Next

Digital data is increasingly fundamental to healthcare decision-making. In medical training, for instance, some European countries already embed digital performance data generated by virtual practical tests into certification and continuous education.

But not everyone is ready to embrace our data-rich environment. For some, the integration of real-world data helps to optimise healthcare (e.g. in disease registries) but others perceive it as challenging ‘clean’ (and controllable) clinical trial data.

Data privacy is not going to go away. Leaders in our field will be those who see the upside, rather than the challenge. There is an opportunity cost of doing nothing and falling behind.

Thinking this way, we may then find there are digital solutions already doing things that seem at first impossible, like reading facial expressions without compromising anonymity and data protection. This kind of solution already exists: it is used by the SBDB to conform with data privacy legislation while enabling ground-breaking, collaborative research at scale.

The 2019 Zurich Summit illustrated that it will take creativity and courage to make the most of our data-rich environment. It is when human brains and digital data connect to tell meaningful stories that strategy-changing insights can be unlocked. As one speaker noted, “data is a servant to decision-making, it should never be the master”.

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Establishing health citizenship is critical for better health outcomes. So what how do we move forward to achieve this?

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, Author, Health Economist & Advisor of THINK-Health joins the show to discuss key trends in health consumerism, health economics, and her latest book. 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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Advancing women’s equality will add $12 trillion to global growth by 2025, according to McKinsey & Company. Yet, despite the overwhelming data showing that women have begun entering the workforce in large numbers in many countries, women’s progress in leadership is still stunted.

Gender parity is not only the right thing to do, it ultimately affects the bottom line: diversity in the field will improve employee retention, revenue growth and corporate reputation. So, how can healthcare companies increase gender parity and the enhanced corporate performance that comes with it?

Join us for a webinar on Thursday, September 12th at 2:00pm ET where Angela Gillespie, President of W2Owcg, and I will discuss what it takes to change the current state of gender parity in healthcare.

Can’t make the live webinar? Register today and we’ll send you an on-demand recording after the event.

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Can you believe it’s already time to start thinking about SXSW? It feels like just yesterday we were wrapping up SXSW 2019.

At the beginning of the month, public voting opened up for 2020 panel selection. Unsurprisingly, the Health & Medtech track has a plethora of fascinating panels up for consideration (317 to be exact).

Our internal SXSW team combed through them all and pulled out the five that have our eye and our vote. Take a look at our list below and stay tuned for #W2OSXSW 2020 updates.

* These panels include clients of W2O.


Interested in learning more about W2O? Check out our About or Healthcare pages.

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There are moments in our lives where we can’t help but step back and say, “wow.” This week’s guest on What2Know, Katie Couric, induced such a moment for me.

Over my 12 years of podcasting, I’ve had the luxury of interviewing amazing guests – CEOs, game-changing physicians, thought leaders, political savants, famous musicians and many more. But when I found out that Katie was willing to join the show, I was over the moon excited.

As many of you know, Katie is in a league of her own. This is a woman who shaped the way many of us think about politics and the world through her work as a national news correspondent. She is also smart, witty and compassionate, and not afraid of glass ceilings as evidenced by being named the first woman anchor of a nightly news broadcast when she joined CBS in 2006. In 2008, she was unafraid to truly evaluate and challenge vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s credentials after John McCain selected her as his running mate. I strongly recommend you listen to Katie recount the events surrounding the 2008 elections on the podcast (part 1 | part 2).

Katie also has done tremendous work in furthering cancer research and helping fight this horrible disease, which both her husband and sister died from. She co-founded Stand Up To Cancer, which has raised more than $600 million to date, and helped establish the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance. Additionally, she is the spokesperson for Merck’s “With Love, Me” campaign, which showcases a series of heartfelt letters on WithLoveMe.com written by caregivers and cancer survivors to their former selves touching upon what they wished they had known – or needed to hear – when they were first coping with a cancer diagnosis.

Currently, Katie is running her own company, Katie Couric Media, which includes her podcast, her Wake-Up Call newsletter (I highly recommend that you subscribe), and a number of documentaries done in partnership with purpose-driven companies that share her vision for a better world. If that wasn’t enough, Katie is also a New York Times best-selling author.

During this week’s episode with Katie, we cover an array of topics – from her company, to her passion for supporting cancer caregivers, and even discussing the evolution of news. Take a listen below.

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