Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Planning the Extended Total Office Call

A few years ago, the idea of the Total Office Call was in vogue in pharma marketing. A comment I heard at a recent conference, however, gave me an idea about how to morph this concept into a new way of thinking about an age-old issue—the doctor/patient relationship.

Firstly, let’s briefly revisit the idea of the Total Office Call.

The goal of the Total Office Call is to build a deeper relationship during the office visit by providing services and support to the complete healthcare provider staff, including:
  • the physician
  • nurses
  • billing department

The point is to help all of them better deliver healthcare. Planning strategies and tactics typically include:
  • providing information for nurses on how to manage specific patient types
  • formulary status, insurance coverage, and patient support options

A comment by Dr. Frank Spinelli at the Pharma Summit Conference in May got me thinking about amplifying this concept into the Extended Total Office Call. Dr. Spinelli challenged the audience of pharmaceutical marketers to extend the doctor/patient interaction prior to and following the actual office visit by helping merge the online and off-line experiences.

The need for extending the doctor/patient connection—before and after the office visit—has never been more acute. Three reasons drive this demand:
  1. The Affordable Care Act is coming into play in 2014.
  2. Physician payments are going to be increasingly linked to the quality of care they provide.
  3. Healthcare providers will be compensated based on the outcomes they achieve.
The pharmaceutical companies that help healthcare providers meet these new challenges will be more welcomed in doctors’ offices.

How can you plan for the Extended Total Office Call in 2013?

Well, start by using the Extended Total Office Call as an organizing principle, both in how you go about planning and in the tactics you consider. First, think about having your teams start off as one integrated unit with the mission to:
  • help prepare both the physician and patient to have a productive office visit
  • enable the patient to easily obtain any required medicine
  • support and monitor the patient afterwards
Traditionally, the three customer teams (and possibly a separate digital team) start the planning cycle by going off separately to optimize their promotional mix, based on their particular customer needs. Then, towards the end of the planning cycle, they meet to check for synergies and disconnects. This results in siloed thinking, which is the antithesis of the Extended Total Office Call.

Next, think about some new tactics. One execution of an Extended Total Office Call tactic could be an app that collects important data about critical patient habits or one that helps the patient develop new, more productive habits. The solid data provided by an easy-to-use tracker app could potentially eliminate a lot of wasted time and patient frustration. An app, of course, is an obvious solution.

To dig a little deeper, I’d suggest gathering an integrated group to consider the following questions at the beginning of the planning season:
  • What are the critical activities and information exchanges that must take place during the office visit? 
  • What can the physician uniquely contribute to the visit? Is it knowledge? Providing a sense of caring or peace of mind? Providing a solution?
  • Would any activities or information exchanges before the appointment help improve the quality or efficiency of the experience?
  • What are the barriers for different patient types to actually paying for and obtaining the prescribed medicine?
  • What follow-up or activities would help ensure the physician treatment plan is monitored and adhered to?
  • Are there any other healthcare stakeholders—such as nurses, pharma reps, support groups, or associations—who could play a role before, during, or after the office visit?
  • Is there a different sort of in-the-field support people that could be provided? For example, clinical nurse educators or lay health workers?

It is hard to meet the continual planning challenges of thinking-outside-of-the-box and doing-more-with-less, when we try to answer the same questions year after year. Considering the Extended Total Office Call provides a new set of questions.

Give it a try and let us know how it works for you.

Thanks for letting us share.

Next Wednesday’s post is about business lessons we can learn from the Dead—the Grateful Dead, that is.

To read about the 2013 Planning Thought Starters for Reimagining the Website, click here

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Introducing Help with 2013 Planning

While summer is the vacation season for most people, for healthcare marketers around the world it means the start of planning season.

So while friends and family may be:
                         • carrying a paperback beach novel, you’re lugging PowerPoint
                           presentations in your overflowing beach bag
                         • heading to pool parties, you're diving into decks of data and
                           financial forecasts
                         • thinking about where to splurge on a summer weekend escapeyou're
                           wondering about new creative ways to do more with less

Extrovertic can lighten your load.

This summer, we’re devoting these Wednesday posts to sharing crisp, juicy ways to give you food for thought about your business. We’ll be serving up different perspectives gathered from our Extro-Analog process, which is where we:
                         • explore non-pharma solutions and strategically apply them to the realities
                           of pharma marketing
                         • strip down the problem to its bare essentials
                         • search outside of healthcare for companies or brands that've faced similar

And we never know where inspiration can strike.

For example, we came up with a new way for a client to help patients by studying addiction counseling. We even developed an idea for a new video series based on the Heidi Klum Summer Run. We’ve found that the further out you go, the better the ideas.

So this summer we’ll offer up refreshing pitchers of ideas that’re focused on:
                         • strategies
                         • tactics
                         • measurements

These will include short- and long-term thought starters for your consideration.

Sometimes there are ideas that can be directly applied, while other times these out-of-industry examples provide the root of a new idea that can be harvested or further cultivated. We’ll also point out particularly interesting examples from around our industry.

So, starting tomorrow (June 20th), check out our Intro to Extro blog. Then, every Wednesday for the next 14 weeks, you’ll see some bright, sunny ways to approach your 2013 marketing plan. We hope you find them useful and thought provoking. Either way, we’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for letting us share.

Tomorrow’s blog can help you answer the question, “What are we doing with our website next year?”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Giving Back to Our 4-legged extroverts

Inspired by our work with Pfizer Animal Health, extrovertic made the decision last year to get involved with Take Your Dog to Work Day 2011.

Following the success of that event, we continue to invite dogs to our agency on a regular basis. We find their smiling (and sometimes drooling) faces are a very welcome presence in the office.

Most recently, Sally, one of our frequent furry visitors, was named the poster dog for Take Your Dog to Work Day 2012!

The benefits of having Man’s Best Friend visit the workplace have been well documented. We notice extrovertic pooches promote a positive atmosphere at the agency. Clients agree, telling us during meetings which Sally has attended that it’s “such a nice idea!”

Recent reporting has specifically covered how we at extrovertic have expanded our dogs-in-the-workplace program:

Extrovertic is expecting a strong media presence at this year’s Take Your Dog to Work Day, and will again be supporting Bideawee with our efforts. If you wish to help us help this outstanding organization, please reach out to: 
Kelley Vos Burgh

As a rescue dog herself, Sally is grateful for any support you can lend to animals in need of a home.

- Jared

Monday, June 4, 2012

The more cars I restore, the better Creative I become.

At extrovertic, we embrace an analog method of developing new ideas. We look outside the old tool box of the traditional, expected pharma world for business communication solutions and tactics from any industry, and it seems that my car hobby is a nicely tuned analog.

Taking a rickety heap from an idea to a coveted cruiser involves 3 things:
• a perspective on the collector-car market
• a vision of completion
• a plan and method for getting the job done

Huh. Those sound a lot like:
• research
• strategy
• concepting and execution

And those are a lot like what I do in my day job.

There is also a shared goal to both restoration and communication: to create an emotional connection. When there’s an emotional connection, you know you’ve motivated somebody. This motivation might be creating an interest to buy the car or, in pharma, it might be getting a person to ask their doctor about a certain treatment.

Another common component is function. A beautiful car that does not function is just paint on steel, and a beautiful printed piece that does not motivate is just ink on paper or code online. See? I knew there was a reason that both automobiles  and communication materials are referred to as vehicles.

So, moving forward, I’ll continue to hop up vis aids and refine roadsters knowing that one process very often benefits the other.