eyeforpharma Philadelphia Awards

May 2, 2016 - May 2, 2016, Philadelphia

The search for the most valuable and innovative patient-centric initiatives

Designing to Deliver Value

3 success factors behind 2016’s eyeforpharma Philadelphia Awards finalists in the Most Valuable HCP or Healthcare Initiative category.



With increasing leadership appetite for service models and a plethora of exciting new digital tech, it is easy to get carried away when blueprinting ideas for supportive services. But macro factors, such as shortages in the pool of available digital talent, and the increase of digital noise to cut through, mean it is more important than ever to take a step back and ask if your new service is the best way to actually add value. We’ve distilled three lessons from this year’s ‘Most Valuable HCP or Healthcare Initiative’ nominees to help:

1. Investing in a rigorous needs assessment will pay dividends

Many of the new service models that we’ve been seeing recently seem to be launched with an app component, regardless of whether it offers obvious value or not; it is definitely worth reminding ourselves that not everything requires a technological solution.

AstraZeneca’s Device Education to Empower Physicians (DEEP) initiative is a great example of this. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients are often given respiratory devices to aid breathing, with proper use dramatically boosting patient outcomes. But many family physicians are not familiar with the proper technique to use these devices, and it seems that this gap in understanding is impacting patients; in fact, 59% of COPD patients admitted to hospital in a recent study were misusing their inhaler devices. 

AstraZeneca’s research uncovered why this known issue wasn’t driving more doctors to self-educate; they believed that device instruction was covered by pharmacists and nurses. However, subsequent research with this group revealed that knowledge of device technique was also poor.  

Rushing to market with a solution designed to solve a patient education issue would have missed this bigger gap in the system. By simply checking assumptions and revealing the unmet need, AstraZeneca was able to motivate physicians to actively participate in device education.


Celgene also submitted a physician education initiative, with their project MDS Clear Path. With the first treatments for myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) being relatively new, most community hematologists were unaware of best practices to manage the condition. The MDS Clear Path initiative pulled together 60 leading hematologists to create materials to fill this gap. With web materials since accessed in over 80 countries and 50,000 page views across 3,000 sessions, they’ve definitely added value to the global hematologist community.

2. Don’t fear the robots

If you’ve followed recent Artificial Intelligence press, you’ll know that the robots are coming for all of our jobs. But this dialogue shouldn’t overshadow the huge benefits that cognitive computing could bring to pharma. When launching a new product, one huge challenge is to make sure that you can affordably deliver all the services that patients will need, and labor is a huge driver of these costs.

Teva Pharmaceuticals and Next IT Healthcare created an intriguing solution with their Intelligent Virtual Health Assistant, “ASK Claire”, that engages Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients on the web and in an app.

By using voice, text and graphics, Claire is able to converse with patients and respond to disease-related queries. With support from an analyst who reads interaction logs and adjusts responses, Claire is able to develop by mimicking a ‘machine learning’ process, improving the relevance and logic behind responses. Proving that we aren’t all scared of the robots after all, 90% of users report a high satisfaction rating for using the tool to help manage their condition.

Teva had a double-entry to this category with their HCP education tool EHR Channel. In a space where most pharma messaging in EHR is highly fragmented, across departments and even within brands, Teva took steps to create unified messaging. They brought together market access teams, brand teams, launch teams, and sales forces to understand HCP needs and create a relevant content strategy.

3. Maximize impact by recognizing your strengths and weakness

The final entry for this year’s HCP category is an interesting project to support the ever-burdened study coordinator in trial management.

SAGE Therapeutics has developed ‘The STATUS Trial’, to help authorized users track patient progress through the clinical trial. The App uses push notifications to make sure that coordinators do not miss key events, and allows them to manage upcoming time-bound tasks.

In a testament to the efficacy of sticking to your discipline, through a CRO and tech developer partnership they managed to launch the app from scratch in just 12 weeks. They’re receiving rave reviews from study coordinators so far who are praising the app’s simplicity and ease of use.


Feeling inspired? Check out the other industry innovators battling it out for recognition at this year’s eyeforpharma Philadelphia Awards.


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eyeforpharma Philadelphia Awards

May 2, 2016 - May 2, 2016, Philadelphia

The search for the most valuable and innovative patient-centric initiatives

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