Social Media

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Robin Robinson

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Social Media trends, regs, and apps

By Robin Robinson

Mobile health apps get more mileage with in-car connectivity

Trend Watch: Carmakers and healthcare companies collaborate for better disease management.

SDI, WellDoc, and Medtronic partner with Ford to synch apps with car dashboard controls Ford Motor Co. and several healthcare companies are collaborating to bring disease management apps to drivers’ dashboards, allowing them to take health information and tools they need on the road. As the number of people who use smartphones while driving rises, so does the concern about road safety. By bringing mobile apps to driver-friendly, voice-activated dashboard controls, the theory is drivers will be safer than trying to access apps on their smartphones. Ford was the first carmaker to produce the Sync System, which has been installed in 3 million cars. A second version has just been launched. Ford is working with SDI, Medtronic, and WellDoc to determine what opportunities are available for synching apps with dashboards. SDI has developed an iPhone allergy alert app for Ford’s dashboard Sync in-car connectivity system. The Allergy Alert smartphone app, developed by SDI as a supplement to its website, is available on iPhone and iPads and has racked up more than 1 million users. The Allergy Alert app gives drivers voice-controlled access to location-based forecasts for four different conditions: allergy (pollen), asthma, cold and cough, and ultraviolet sensitivity. In-car access to this type of information can help asthma and allergy sufferers plan healthier route choices and prepare for areas with high-symptom triggers that might lead to an attack. “SDI’s Allergy Alert is an example of on-demand information that can be accessed safely by consumers with specific conditions and who can use the information immediately to help plan their day and their family’s day, all while simply using their voice to command the application,” says Jody Fisher, VP of Marketing of SDI. “Applications such as Allergy Alert fulfill the demand for information in the moment and hold the potential to even save lives.” SDI expects production of the product to begin later this year. Ford has also partnered with Medtronic to explore ways to help make chronic diseases more manageable through advanced mobile healthcare technology. The app in development would connect to glucose monitoring devices, diabetes management services, asthma management tools, and Web-based allergen alert solutions. “Developing what we call ‘connectivity solutions,’ technologies that help people with diabetes and their loved ones more conveniently manage diabetes, is a priority at Medtronic,” says Karrie Hawbaker, public relations manager, Medtronic, Diabetes. “We have an entire team of people focused on bringing these tools to market. The in-car health and wellness solution that Ford and Medtronic are discussing is an early-stage concept and just one of many connectivity solutions we’re exploring.” WellDoc, a healthcare company that develops technology solutions to improve chronic disease management outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, has entered into a research partnership with Ford that will provide patients with tools to maintain their daily routines even while on the road. People with diabetes can enter their data such as medications, exercise, and diet information through speech-to-text interaction while in their Ford vehicle. The WellDoc software-based system will also allow healthcare providers to access their WellDoc clinical decision support records while they’re in the office, on their mobile device, or in the car. The integration will allow patients to use the DiabetesManager System to help treat high and low blood sugars, as well as make positive, behavioral-based choices in real time. Advanced features, still in development, include leveraging Ford Sync’s location-based services to help drivers not only identify and find restaurants, but also assist them in making proper food choices at the restaurant. “To cope with competitive pressure, demand for increased quality, and healthcare’s decentralization, big pharma must go beyond the pill to provide greater value,” says Chris Bergstrom, chief strategy and commercial officer at WellDoc. “Mobile health services can complement pills and medical devices when they are clinically validated and deployed effectively. The car is just one great example because your health doesn’t stay at home when you drive, and in fact, it often becomes more important to manage while on the road.” According to Ms. Fisher at SDI, these first forays into the healthcare app space are only the beginning. “There is an ongoing race between telecommunications platforms to gain a foothold for a share of consumers’ minds while in the car,” Ms. Fisher says. “With more than 17,000 healthcare applications on iTunes alone, there will be a great opportunity to marry appropriate healthcare information with those car manufacturers that have the foresight to recognize the power that information can bring to consumers while they are driving.” Just as there are already applications that measure gas prices, weather, and geographic points of interest, quality healthcare information could be brought to consumers to help them find an appropriate healthcare provider, a pharmacy, or even potentially receive lifesaving healthcare reminders on-demand, she says. { For more information, download videos TECH CHECK APPS / TWEETS / VIDEOS Apps… Pharmacist-designed app helps manage prescriptions PharMed Solutions, a technology-focused medication management company, has developed a MedAssist QuickList app for the iPhone that allows patients to manage their prescription medications by creating a digital medication list that can be shared and viewed. Patients add their medications and the reason they are taking the drug. In addition, the app supplies exclusive savings on prescription drugs and free drug reviews through an additional FinancialRx service. { For more information, download this video or visit Pill Identifier Lite App Ranks No. 1 in June In June, the Pill Identifier Lite App for iPhone from came in first in the paid medical app rankings in the iTunes App Store. This app, based on the Pill Identifier Wizard website, helps users identify pills by color, shape, and imprint from the convenience of the iPhone or iPad, all for just 99 cents. The app’s database includes more than 10,000 prescription and OTC medications and more than 7,000 images and connects to for additional information where available. { For more information, visit Facebook, blogs, and Twitter… Siren Earns Digital and PRM ­Certification Siren Interactive, a relationship marketing agency focused on rare disorder therapies, is the nation’s first and only marketing agency to certify its entire staff in regulatory compliance for Internet promotion/social media. What this means is that the entire staff has been trained and tested in government regulatory requirements and voluntary codes necessary for digital media, and they understand the rules. Siren is also certified in patient relationship marketing (PRM), earning the recognition as the only company in the nation to receive dual certification in regulatory compliance. New York-based Center for Communication Compliance (CCC) courses reflect current federal and state laws, regulations, and policies, and voluntary industry codes and how they apply to commonly used tactics. For the digital curriculum, this includes the use of marketing tools such as Facebook Share, search engine optimization, and unbranded websites. The course also addresses issues awaiting FDA guidance, from the use of links and answering unsolicited requests, to promoting within space limitations and correcting online misinformation. { For more information, visit Study: Social media used for sharing, not health research According to a recent survey conducted by Makovsky + Company, user-generated-contribution websites such as Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs are not the first places health consumers go to find health information. News sites, WebMD, and health magazine websites ranked much higher in trust value than user-generated content. “Patients are creating online communities to share their experiences, but they’re still returning to reputable news sites and professionals for facts and information they can trust,” says Timothy Kane, executive VP of the digital marketing practice at Makovsky. Other results of the survey include: » 26% of respondents cite Facebook sites created by peers as the least trusted health resource » 7% of respondents visited patient communities’ websites » 6% cite Facebook sites by patient groups or communities as least trusted » 3% of respondents visit Twitter feeds for healthcare information { For more information, visit Merck uses Facebook to spread awareness of home-building ­campaign Merck’s Build Smart, Breathe Easier Facebook page showcases its national asthma education program designed to show how allergy triggers in a home can have an impact on individuals with asthma. Merck has partnered with Habitat for Humanity, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and carpenter and HGTV personality Carter Oosterhouse to build four homes with asthma-healthy features in partnership with low-income families affected by the disease. The page has a section dedicated to telling the stories of the four families in the program, as well as a video by Mr. Oosterhouse who explains the program. Another page provides information to help patients better understand asthma and tips for living with asthma and creating a home free of asthma triggers. The first wall post was on May 24 and the page had garnered 210 “likes” by mid-June. In typical pharma practice, the user comments capability is disabled on the page. { For more information, visit:!/buildsmartbreatheeasier LillyPad blog honors 30 years of AIDS treatment LillyPad blog author Greg Kueterman used Twitter and the company’s blog to alert readers to the 30-year anniversary of AIDS. Citing a larger article published in the New York Times, Mr. Kueterman included his own outlook on the continued need for medical innovation in the treatment of AIDS and other diseases. Mr. Kueterman also got in an unobtrusive plug for his CEO and his company. “The HIV/AIDS battle is just one of many we face,” he says. “We’ve made unbelievable strides in the treatment of cancer, diabetes, depression, and heart disease over the last few decades. In fact, over the course of the 20th century, our average life expectancy doubled. Yet, as our CEO, John Lechleiter, is inclined to ask: “Who among us believes we have enough medical innovation?” { For more information, visit

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