Latest News

July 26, 2019 admin0

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded nearly $42 million in funding to 49 Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCNs). HCCNs work together to improve access to and quality of care, as well as leverage health information technology to cut costs and improve care coordination. The funding came through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as the HCCNs expand their usage of health information technology to empower patients and promote data sharing.

“Health centers play a crucial role in providing their communities with access to high quality, affordable healthcare,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in the news announcement. “Investing in more advanced health IT will help put patients at the center and unleash the power of data, helping us get better value from the care delivered by health centers and delivering on President Trump’s vision for healthcare.”

“Improvements in information technology will enhance the patient and provider experience as health centers continue to deliver high quality primary care in underserved communities across the nation,” said HRSA Administrator Dr. George Sigounas. “President Trump is determined to support and improve the ability of health centers to work together and deliver value-based care.”

July 26, 2019 Linda Ruschau0


I sat down with Charlie Greenberg, a respected healthcare industry veteran and an expert in point-of-care (POC) marketing, to discuss current trends in healthcare marketing. It’s a topic Charlie knows well, having worked for more than 30 years in the industry with giants like Saatchi & Saatchi, Wyeth, and Merck. Charlie currently serves as a media and marketing consultant, so he spends a great deal of time thinking about the ways brands can improve their reach and maximize their return on investment.

Q: How has healthcare marketing changed during your time in the industry?

A: Market research on patient population profiles and their attitudes toward treatment options has become increasingly more sophisticated. We no longer focus only on demographics and affinity interests, but now incorporate attitudes toward treatment options, healthcare status, and relevant multicultural distinctions within an overall target universe.

Paid media in the marketing mix has embraced this more sophisticated market research by employing greater targeted media tactics. This is not only a function of the evolution of digital media but greater opportunities within the point-of-care arena and the availability to refine how mass media can reach a target audience.

Q: What’s the biggest thing healthcare marketers aren’t doing that they should, or that they should be doing more of?

A: Good marketers set themselves apart from the pack when they are willing to make bold decisions and address the marketplace by shaping customer thinking. Adopting a mindset of “test and learn” around how marketing dollars are spent needs to be better embraced. Short-term thinking often leads to stagnation and missed opportunities.

Secondly, marketers should also be investing more in communication which has the goal of building health literacy. This will not only support the ability to shape consumer thinking, but health literacy campaigns have been shown to lift the efforts of branded commercial campaigns when the two messages are running together.

Q: What effect can point of care (POC) have on the overall media plan? What benefits can brand managers and media planners realize from adding this channel to their mix?

A: Adding POC to a plan will increase the ability to laser target reaching prospects and patients. This complements the efforts of other tactics within the plan. Secondly, POC offers a guaranteed ROI, which also enriches the promotional effectiveness of the overall marketing plan.

Q: Why is healthcare personal to you?

A: It is rewarding to be able to feel a sense of achievement from launching that new snack food item on shelf, introducing a new car model or driving purchases of yet another shade of red lipstick. However, healthcare marketing offers a benefit of knowing that you are helping people understand health conditions and offering treatment to increase their quality of life.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a New Yorker?

A:  New York City offers real mobility since it is one of few places in America where you have the option to walk to get to your destination rather than being tied to your car.

July 26, 2019 admin0

In early June, PhRMA released its first-ever television ad as part of its Let’s Talk About Cost campaign, which has previously released print, digital, and radio ads. The ad aims to “reaffirm our commitment and generate more conversation about solutions to the challenges patients face affording their medicines.”

With heightened discussion in recent times surrounding drug prices – including the US District Court’s ruling on price disclosure in DTC ads and pricing trends data from Rx Savings Solutions – PhRMA’s Let Talk About Cost campaign helps create transparency and encourages open “dialogue on how we can make medicines more affordable for patients,” stated their news release. According to the trade association, the campaign helps “put a spotlight on the role insurers and middlemen like pharmacy benefit managers play in determining what a patient pays out of pocket for their medicine.

“Research shows that on average, 40% of the list price of medicines is given as rebates or discounts to insurance companies, the government, pharmacy benefit managers and other entities in the supply chain. These rebates and discounts exceeded $166 billion in 2018 alone and are growing every year.”

The article’s author, Priscilla VanderVeer, Vice President, Public Affairs with PhRMA, stressed the importance of focusing on “changes, like reforming the rebate system in Medicare Part D, that can lower patients’ out-of-pocket costs, improve access to cutting-edge treatments and cures, and drive competition to help bring down costs.”

July 24, 2019 admin0

Earlier this month, US District Judge Amit Mehta ruled that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “lacked authority from the US Congress to compel drug manufacturers to disclose list prices,” as per reports. In mid-June, Merck & Co., Eli Lilly & Co, and Amgen, along with the Association of National Advertisers, filed a lawsuit on the grounds that requiring pricing information in ads would confuse consumers as that pricing would not accurately reflect actual out-of-pocket costs for consumers due to different insurance plans and coverage, as well as further discounts and rebates. Mehta’s 27-page ruling, which sided with this group, came out one day before the disclosure rule was to go into effect.

Mehta wrote in his decision: “The court finds that HHS lacks the statutory authority under the Social Security Act to adopt the WAC [wholesale acquisition cost] Disclosure Rule. Neither the Act’s text, structure, nor context evince an intent by Congress to empower HHS to issue a rule that compels drug manufacturers to disclose list prices. The Rule is therefore invalid. In view of this holding, the court does not reach Plaintiffs’ First Amendment challenge.

“To be clear, the court does not question HHS’s motives in adopting the WAC Disclosure Rule. Nor does it take any view on the wisdom of requiring drug companies to disclose prices. That policy very well could be an effective tool in halting the rising cost of prescription drugs. But no matter how vexing the problem of spiraling drug costs may be, HHS cannot do more than what Congress has authorized. The responsibility rests with Congress to act in the first instance. ”

Several outlets – including HHS, the White House, and AARP – released statements expressing their disappointment with the court’s ruling.