Saturday, October 20, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
First Look At Reaching Healthcare Seniors
By Liz Boehm (Principal Analyst) Forrester Research
Let's face it, we're not getting any younger -- not individually and not
as a population. Healthcare has always had a penchant for the silver
set, but that focus is only going to get more laser-focused as baby
boomers reluctantly face their golden years. But with more and more talk
about the role of technology in healthcare -- for transferring
information, doing customer service, and even collecting all-the-time
biometrics -- are we headed for a disastrous collision? At Forrester we
wanted to know whether today's seniors and their boomer children are
able to adopt new healthcare technologies, now and as they age.
And since we're sitting on the largest longitudinal database of US
consumer information apart from the US census, we decided to take a stab
at answering that question. It turns out that seniors can use
technology. They just tend to adopt new technologies that let them build
on old behaviors. That said, there are some issues that come along with
aging -- like diminished eyesight and less cognitive agility -- that
mean that firms need to pay attention to design principles that make it
easy for seniors to embrace technology.
Boomers and seniors have different online health habits. Although
seniors are slightly less likely than their younger counterparts to
visit a health-focused Web site, their online health research is more
likely to focus on specific conditions and treatments than on general
interest topics. That makes us wonder if seniors -- and ultimately
boomers -- will be a driving force behind the still emerging
health-specific search engine market. These engines are geared toward
helping consumers sort through the torrents of health content available
online to find the most relevant answers to their questions. It's an
interesting proposition, but with only 7% of US online consumers ever
having used one, the jury's still out on their real value.
Seniors trust their insurers more but like their Web sites less.
Forty-three percent of seniors with supplemental Medicare coverage say
that they trust their health plan's guidance on what care and
medications are right for them -- versus only 30% of non-elderly
commercially insured consumers. But seniors aren't always clear about
the guidance they get from plans, especially online. Twenty-nine percent
of consumers with supplemental Medicare coverage who went to their
plans' Web sites to check claims status or resolve an issue said that
they still phoned the plan for reassurance.
Actually, health plan member portals could use a makeover for members of
all ages -- especially if plans hope to win the battle for consumer
loyalty with financial services firms that are getting a taste of the
healthcare opportunity through HSA administration.
Seniors still don't know about remote monitoring options. Companies like
Intel, Philips, and Honeywell are making significant investments in
solutions that help consumers age in place or manage chronic illness
without constant trips to the doctor's office. But consumers --
especially seniors -- remain woefully ignorant of these solutions.
Healthcare solution providers face a constant battle to try to convince
consumers who need health support to actually want the help enough to
make a purchase or change their lifestyle. This lack of awareness isn't
doing the many vendors in this space any favors. Disease and wellness
management vendors face similar challenges, and so they have to learn to
meet consumers on the channels that they prefer -- not the ones the
vendors want to invest in.
We'll continue to track the evolving landscape of healthcare and aging.
In the meantime, we welcome your input and questions in the form of
inquiries, briefings, and plain old gossip. Here's to your health!
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 1:50 PM
New York Times rolls out new Web site health offerings
Stephen McGuire <http://www.mmm-online.com/Stephen-McGuire/author/51/>
(Medical Marketing & Media)
The New York Times recently expanded its NYTimes.com Web site offering
to include a new section focused on consumer health and wellness issues.
NYTimes.com/Health officially rolled out at the beginning of this month
and features original reports on scientific research and comprehensive
licensed reference information, animations, videos, podcasts,
slide-shows, Web-columns and interactive tools geared towards enabling
readers make informed health decisions.
"We really tried to design a sight to help make patients smarter about
their health," Sarah Greene, product director, Health at NYTimes.com
told MM&M. "The goal was to have good information pulled together, so
you can get the big picture."
Topics on NYTimes.com/health range from health maintenance issues to
weight loss and exercise tips, to acute and chronic diseases, like
cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.
New sections also include a blog from Tara Parker-Pope, long-time Wall
Street Journal columnist who recently joined The Times to write a new
blog called "Well," which is focused on delivering practical advice on
improving readers' health.
So far the blog has been well-received by readers, with an Oct. 2
posting on how marital spats can affect your health as one of the most
e-mailed stories of the month.
The Times' new Web site has also been well-received by pharmaceutical
sponsors, launching with six advertisers on board -- Sanofi-Aventis
(Lantus), Boehringer Ingelheim (Mirapex), Merck (Zostavax and Januvia),
Pfizer (Corporate), Wyeth (Enbrel) and Astra Zeneca (Symbicort).
Advertising opportunities available to pharma marketers include large
ads, leader boards, half-page ads and sponsorship packages, The Times
As far as the future of the new Times health section is concerned, the
sky's the limit, Greene says.
"We are focused on the best content. That's what we are all about," she
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 12:18 PM
Monday, October 15, 2007
Pfizer to network with 30,000 US doctors with Sermo, online doctor
Pfizer has signed an innovative deal with Sermo, the USA's largest
online physician community, a move which means that the drugs giant may
improve its efficiency when it comes to getting access to doctors.
Sermo, launched in September 2006, is a social-networking site for
licensed physicians and it has 30,000 members (and growing by 2,000
doctors per week. On Sermo, physicians exchange knowledge with each
other and gain potentially life-saving insights directly from
colleagues, the group says, instead of waiting to read about them in
conventional media sources.
The attraction of the deal to Pfizer is pretty clear as it will be in
touch with this vital community in a way other than the traditional
route of sales reps. The company said that the collaboration is designed
to redefine the way physicians in the US and the healthcare industry
work together to improve patient care and the doctors will have access
to Pfizer's clinical content in tangible ways that allow for the
transparent and efficient exchange of knowledge.
Pfizer and Sermo said that the key objectives of the collaboration,
include looking at how best to transform the way medical information is
exchanged in the fast-moving social media environment and creating an
open and transparent discussion with physicians through the innovative
channel offered by online exchange. They also intend to work with the US
Food and Drug Administration to define guidelines for the use of social
media in communications with healthcare professionals.
Pfizer and Sermo, which is funded by financial institutions who can
access information on the site to get information on emerging trends and
market-changing events in healthcare did not reveal the financial
details of the collaboration. Whatever the cost, the New York-based
drugs giant will think it is money well-spent if it goes some way to
improving the relationship between big pharma and physicians, especially
at a time when Pfizer is laying off some 2,200 people from its US
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 9:32 AM
The Edusim is bringing the virtual world to the classroom smartboards as
well as shown in these videos:
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 9:24 AM
European consumers turn to corporate pharma sites for health, Rx info
The lack of DTC advertising or local product.com sites isn't stopping
European consumers from searching the Web for pharmaceutical
information, according to a new study from Manhattan Research. One-third
of online consumers in Europe research pharmaceuticals online, and
nearly 80% of these consumers take some sort of action as a result of
their searches. Instead of visiting product sites, consumers are
actually going to corporate pharma sites, with an estimated 21 million
consumers saying they've visited corporate sites in the past 12 months
across the 10 countries surveyed in the research. Pfizer, Bayer, and GSK
are the top three corporate sites visited by consumers for information.
The visitors say they access these sites specifically for health and
treatment information. Manhattan Research says that in light of this
trend, companies should provide patient-friendly disease education
content in the local language on the local portal for the company.
Click below to download the entire Cybercitizen Health Europe white
paper from Manhattan Research:
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 9:21 AM
Virtual-world makers aim to hook kids
By Stefanie Olsen <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Published: October 15, 2007 4:00 a.m. PDT
SAN JOSE, Calif.--There's about to be a boomlet in kids' virtual worlds.
-6212826.html> and children can expect a raft of new 3D environments
for play and socializing in the coming year, thanks to projects from
established players like Disney and Neopets <http://www.neopets.com> ,
as well as upstarts aiming to unseat them. Of course, momentum has been
building in this market all year, punctuated by Disney's $350 million
acquisition of kids' phenomenon Club Penguin
<http://www.clubpenguin.com> this summer. But more companies believe
that they can outdo the current crop and capitalize on kids' love of
One venture capitalist summed up why the market is so hot by saying that
kids' virtual worlds are the only ones that are successful so far. Club
Penguin, for example, expected $35 million in earnings before interest
and tax this year from subscriptions, according to Sharon Wienbar,
managing director of venture capitalist Scale Venture Partners. While
that's only an accounting figure and not necessarily a real indication
of profitability, it's certainly indicative of potential.
"In the children's market, that's where virtual worlds are really
mainstream," Wienbar said at an industry conference last week. She was
referring to sites like Webkinz <http://www.webkinz.com> and Club
Penguin, which have millions of active members, as opposed to adult
worlds like There.com and Second Life, which have anywhere between tens
of thousands and hundreds of thousands of active users.
Another reason the industry is booming
190622.html> is because more kids are flocking to imaginative,
character-driven environments. An expected 53 percent of children on the
Web will belong to a virtual world within four years, more than doubling
the current population of 8.2 million members, according to a recent
report from eMarketer.
"This is the way people will interact in the future," said Scott Raney,
a venture capitalist from Redpoint Ventures, which backs the virtual
world Gaia Online. Raney also was at the Virtual Worlds conference, held
here last week.
The market is still relatively young, too, giving upstarts a chance to
rival brands like Disney and Nickelodeon. Companies like Webkinz have
proven that it's possible. In 2005, the company started selling plush
toys in stores that let kids adopt a virtual character in its online
world. In May this year, it had 4.1 million visitors, up 1,300 percent
from the previous year.
For that reason, more newbies are piling in. Fashion doll-makers Barbie
and Bratz both opened new virtual worlds for girls in recent months, in
an attempt to catch up with market-unknown Stardoll.com
<http://www.stardoll.com> , a Sweden-based virtual paper-doll site. In
less than three years, Stardoll has attracted 6.4 million worldwide
members, according to the company. Aardman Animations
<http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9750050-7.html> , creator of the
cartoon Wallace and Gromit, also recently opened a kids game site.
Showing that more relative unknowns will be here soon, at least a dozen
people raised their hands when asked if they were developing a new
online world for teens or kids during a panel at the Virtual Worlds
Executives from well-established players like Nickelodeon, Neopets and
Stardoll on the panel also were bullish about their expansion plans to
cater to children aged 6 and older. For example, MTV Networks-owned
Neopets, a community of 45 million people worldwide who own fantasy
pets, plans to launch another virtual world for kids by the end of 2008.
Disney also plans to open up a new virtual world game site based on its
popular theme of "Pirates of the Caribbean" by the end of the year.
"It's a little scary to see all these people coming," said Mattias
Miksche, CEO of Stardoll.com. "It's a pretty cluttered market already.
You have to make a really kick-ass product."
Venture capitalists said that they like kids' virtual worlds for their
diverse revenue sources--advertising, subscriptions and sales of virtual
goods like pets or accessories.
"We're looking for zero friction and virtual worlds (that simplify)
customer adoption," Raney said, referring to companies that his venture
capital firm is most likely to invest in. He said that they're looking
for new companies that focus less on superior graphics, and more on
making it easy for kids to use.
Because of all the interest, major brands also are experimenting with
extending what they're doing.
Neopets is the one of the oldest virtual worlds on the Net, with about
11 million average monthly visitors. Acquired by MTV two years ago,
Neopets plans to extend its characters to books, in partnership with
HarperCollins, and to toys and TV broadcasts through its parent company.
Neopets and Stardoll also separately plan to start selling prepaid cards
at retail store Target next week. Those prepaid cards will allow kids to
buy virtual goods like digital pets and furnishings on the sites.
Nickelodeon's virtual world Nicktropolis <http://www.Nicktropolis.com>
launched in January, and now the virtual world has about 5.5 million
registered users who on average spend 55 minutes on the site per visit,
according to Jason Root, senior vice president of digital at Nick.com.
Building on its business, the company soon plans to introduce
advertising into the virtual world for kids, Root said.
Many executives in the packed audience were eager for pearls of wisdom
from the well-established players on the panel. "To anyone developing in
the space, it's not as simple (as you might think). It comes down to the
unique combination of gaming and personal expression," Root said.
"You can't underestimate the need to keep it fresh for kids and (get)
that playground chatter," Root said. "We can't get complacent--we can't
go a week without launching something new."
Send insights or tips on this topic to email@example.com
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 9:16 AM