Digital health news update: Can Allergan cut the cord on DTC TV?

November 8, 2017

Author: Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst

 

  • Allergan CEO Brent Saunders said the company could curb DTC TV advertising in favor of digital marketing spend. “A big part of our DTC budget is national television advertising,” he said on a third-quarter earnings call, “and there are social media and other analytics techniques that are emerging, I think, that are going to allow us to do that a lot more efficiently.” Women’s health brands have been shifting spend from TV to social amidst a “backlash against the traditional ads on TV,” and TV advertising’s share of U.S. ad spending across all industries is projected to fall below 30% by 2021, curbed by growing numbers of younger-skewing “cord-cutters” and “cord-nevers,” expected to comprise upwards of 50 million viewers this year.  

 

 

 

  • Suicidality can be spotted in “a distinctive neural signature” detectable by an algorithm using brain imaging more than 90% of the time, according to the authors of a very small (and as-yet unreproduced) study.

 

  • An app that “provides personalized predictions of migraine episodes” for sufferers is being studied by Mayo Clinic and Allergan. It employs machine learning to build a “personal predictive model” through input from smartphone or fitness tracker sensors, including weather, activity, sleep and stress, and can predict migraines with 85% accuracy after 15 episodes.

 

 

  • Can VR be used to treat chronic pain? Dr. Brennan Spiegel, of MyGIHealth fame (and Ceders-Sinai), is experimenting with doing so, and has conducted clinical trials in which a set of goggles has reduced pain by 25%.

 

  • The VA has established a “healthcare improvement center” that USA Today describes as an “Uber-like control room for veteran health care,” allowing VA administrators to monitor metrics like mortality rates, incidences of avoidable complications and wait times in real time.

 

  • The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is investing $2 billion in building 3 “digitally-based specialty hospitals” in partnership with Microsoft. The hospitals, focusing on cancer, heart and transplant, and vision and rehabilitation, will have physical locations at several existing UPMC sites but will have no additional beds

 

  • We’ve puzzled over the persistence of the fax machine as a fixture of medical offices eight years after the Health IT Act put EHR systems in nearly every practice. Vox has the story, one of EHR systems and physician’s practices that still don’t talk to one another, and of unintended consequences of a policy that was meant to both digitize U.S. healthcare and give the economy a shot in the arm. 

 

 

  • The scandal over allegedly inflated waiting room reach figures from point of care health info firm Outcome Health has big clients like BMS and Omnicom canceling or suspending contracts with them.

 

 

  • By popular acclaim, “KOL” has earned its place in the alphabet soup of pharma industry acronyms. The MSL Society surveyed MSLs and med affairs professionals to determine what they call HCP influencers. “KOL” was used by 62% of respondents and was the preferred term of a 42% plurality, followed by “thought leader (14%)” and “medical expert (13%).”
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