27 Feb Health 2.0: Communications Reactor Panel – Introducing Brendan Gallagher
Interactive (ĭn‘tər-ăk‘tĭv) adj.
- Acting or capable of acting on each other.
- Of or relating to a program that responds to user activity.
- Of, relating to, or being a form of media entertainment in which user and the medium engage in bilateral actions that influence the other.
As part of my preparation for the upcoming Health 2.0 Conference, I wanted to introduce my reactor panelist to the audience. Health 2.0 is all about changing relationships within healthcare – patients, physicians, payers, and other health providers. Many of the new tools and related technologies enable traditional players to interact in wholly new, dynamic, and iterative ways. This panel is an attempt to highlight a few of the recent innovations, and how a new partnership model of personalized health care is emerging in the ongoing communication and management of health. First up is Brendan Gallagher from Digitas Health:
Vice President, User Experience
As vice president of user experience at Digitas Health, Brendan oversees all website and application user research, information architecture, content strategy, interaction design, and usability work for major pharmaceutical, healthcare, and biotech clients. Brendan has spent years researching user goals and syncing them to business objectives. His work with clients ranges from consumer research and opportunity identification, through concepting and interaction design, to testing and measurement. Before joining the company in 2005, Brendan worked at the Digitas agency in New York, where he served as interaction design lead for American Express’ MyLifeMyCard.com.
“Build experiences that service real needs, at very precise moments of meaning, during what might be the most important point in a person’s life “
Cool. So what does Digitas Health “really” do?
We are an interactive marketing agency specializing in healthcare and working primarily with the world’s leading pharmaceutical, bioscience, and medical device companies. Digitas Health is a next-generation agency that helps build healthcare brands that patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals feel confident turning to and recommending when they are sick, in need, or helping others. We are working with these large multinational organizations to help them become sensitized and fully embrace the shift in power from the corporation to the consumer. We are helping these firms to not only face, but embrace, these fundamental changes.
Can you provide a representative example of your work in any recently launched campaigns?
Well, one great recent example is a social website we created for a client with a cancer treatment product that lets people create “celebrations” for survivors of cancer. Once the celebration – which is essentially an avatar of that survivor, animated – is created, people can send it to the survivor as well as to other friends and family. A donation is tied to a cancer charity for each celebration that is made. This is a new way of marketing for our clients. Not acquisition or conversion, but servicing a community.
How to you describe Health 2.0?
When I try to help people understand what Health 2.0 is all about I describe the explosion of service oriented companies that are filling real consumer needs. Essentially, all these nimble companies are using latest generation technology to provide niche services that enable the consumers to engage health providers in new ways. It is a grassroots, from the ground up, outside-in type of change that is swirling around the traditional healthcare kingmakers.
Has Health 2.0 risen to any level of awareness within the large companies you work with?
Yes and no. Because we’re known as a digital agency, even clients who come to us for print or broadcast work are aware of the success we’ve brought our clients who adopt digital marketing with us, and are more likely than perhaps other marketers out there to be excited about taking advantage of new technologies. We have been successful in helping many executives understand that there is a fundamental separation occurring between healthcare content and the traditional delivery platforms. However, many of the regulatory, privacy, and legal challenges with unregulated content creates both a protective layer ensuring a slow transition and a false sense of market security as more nimble companies make in-roads with the consumers. As we begin to showcase the powerful impact of aggregating specific types of users (such as DiabetesMine, Sermo, Organized Wisdom, etc.), and the potential to interact with these communities, they typically begin to see the possibilities. When clients express hesitation, we attempt to channel that into more productive conversations around ways to embrace and extend upon the inevitable.
Are there any commonalities of the executives that “get it?”
I think that the executives who “get it” are those that think systemically. That it’s not about one-off campaigns, or a single new TV spot, but about the entire brand experience. After all, a good brand experience in healthcare usually requires multiple touchpoints over time. The great executives are the ones that recognize every possible touchpoint in the continuum, and task us with building a consistent experience across them. They also understand that there is a fundamentally different way of “selling” product these days, and it involves partnering with the entire healthcare community. These same executives care not only about their audience in 2008, but this same audience in 2018.
What is the engagement model for Digitas Health?
Digitas Health really isn’t just an interactive shop. We’re a Lead Agency for our clients. It doesn’t end at the product or campaign website. We’re building support programs for our clients that engage and connect. We’re enabling conversations that weren’t happening before. We’re empowering patients to take control of their own health. We’re guiding healthcare professionals out of the systemic mire. We’re helping pharmaceutical companies build tools that actually matter to people. We’re pushing our clients to market Direct FOR Consumers and not Direct TO Consumers. We’re marketing as a service.
What do you want to get out of next week?
I am looking forward to making more connections within our corporate network. We want to introduce Digitas Health as the lead healthcare agency within this new space. We are hoping to learn more about how to sell these concepts into our client base more effectively and how our clients can interact with these innovative companies more efficiently. We believe there are a lot of potential startups, partners, and related opportunities that will emerge for us as we engage the broader Health 2.0 community.
Who are you most interested to meet at the Conference?
Well I am very interested to meet with you and the other thought Health 2.0 thought leaders. I have your Canonical Health 2.0 drawing on my wall in my office. I am also really looking forward to meeting Amy Tenderich of DiabetesMine. I love her biting writing style and can really see the impact she is having within her community but also within the pharma and device industry as well. Another person of interest would be Jay Parkinson, MD, both because of what he is doing but also because I used to live in the same neighborhood where he currently practices. Finally, there are a lot of communities that we would like to engage with including Sermo, Phreesia, Daily Strength, and OrganizedWisdom, to name a few.
Looking forward to meeting you all at Health 2.0!