Transformation in Trials

Exploring the Intersection of Healthcare, Marketing, and the Power of Programmatic Advertising

October 25, 2023 Sam Parnell & Ivanna Rosendal Season 4 Episode 8
Transformation in Trials
Exploring the Intersection of Healthcare, Marketing, and the Power of Programmatic Advertising
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered how the healthcare industry can leverage the power of marketing? Join us as we unravel the mysteries of programmatic marketing with the CEO and founder of Doceree, HJ. He takes us through the innovative platform that reshapes how messages are targeted to healthcare professionals. From reaching physicians, nurses, and pharmacists with personalized messages to rolling out patient savings programs, the benefits are limitless. All while staying compliant with data privacy and security guidelines. Buckle up for a deep dive into the world of automated marketing as HJ shares how their multi-tenant model disrupts the traditional process of segmentation.

But that's not all. Shifting landscapes, we get a taste of global pharmaceutical markets with HJ, a physician turned advertising expert. Navigating the choppy waters of language barriers and siloed data, HJ emphasizes the importance of market understanding before making that leap. He delivers a raw, unfiltered view of his journey in the advertising space and the critical role of market feedback in propelling growth.  Here's your chance to gain a fresh perspective on the intersection of healthcare, marketing, and technology.

Guest:

Harshit Jain 


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Reach out to Sam Parnell and Ivanna Rosendal

Join the conversation on our LinkedIn page

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Transformation in Trials. This is a podcast exploring all things transformational in clinical trials. Everything is off limits on the show and we will have guests from the whole spectrum of the clinical trials community, and we're your hosts, ivana and Sam. Welcome to another episode of Transformation in Trials. Today in the studio, I'm joined by HJ, who is the CEO and founder of Doc Erie Hi, hj Hi.

Speaker 2:

Ivana, thanks for inviting me.

Speaker 1:

I'm happy to be here with you today and discuss programmatic marketing. And before we really get into the conversation, could you just set the stage for our listeners what is a platform for programmatic marketing and how does it work?

Speaker 2:

Thank you for that question. See, I think, as the name says, programmatic marketing, which is a program that delivers marketing programmatically, so an automated way to deliver a program. So we have created a platform exclusively for the healthcare industry so that healthcare marketers can start targeting messages to their audiences in an automated manner, away from the traditional offline exchange of emails etc. Which is able to run it efficiently. So it's an established way of the consumer advertising also progressed in last 15 years. We're trying to work with pharmaceutical marketers to help them.

Speaker 1:

That's really interesting and change is definitely needed in this area. I am curious to know more about what kind of audience one could target through this platform.

Speaker 2:

See our platform, doc Erie. We are only focused on healthcare professionals, and when I say healthcare professionals, it includes physicians, pharmacists, nurses professionals, the physician assistants and all the other allied healthcare professionals.

Speaker 1:

I see. What kind of marketing could one expect to be delivered through this platform?

Speaker 2:

It's interesting that we created this proprietary technology and now that we have the ability to deliver a message to a healthcare professional when they are thinking of a patient or when they are delivering care, it can solve so many used cases of different teams. For example, a marketing team may want to reach out to this physician with an unbranded message or a branded message. We could help there. A market access team may want to communicate to this physician to talk about a patient savings program. We could do that. Or a clinical research team wants to talk to this physician when the right eligible patient is sitting in front of the physician. So it's a unique proprietary technology that we created and we're looking to solve problems for multiple team members on the Life Sciences team.

Speaker 1:

So if we were on the Life Sciences side of things, what kind of benefits would you get from all these different functions using the same platform to reach out to basically the same physicians?

Speaker 2:

So I think the first and the biggest is we help you reach your target audience in the most efficient manner at the right place at the right moment, which is currently not possible, so we are kind of first player in the space there. Right, that's the first and the biggest. The second one is you are able to do that transparently as well, because all the messaging is delivered through programmatic technology and you see everything live on your dashboard. And C is, you retain the power to continue to optimize the outcomes of your campaign, because now you have access to data.

Speaker 1:

I see, and there must be many benefits to having that dashboard and being able to all look at the same level of interactions. But what about? Typically in a pharmaceutical company we would have firewalls between the clinical side of things, the medical side of things and the commercial side of things. How would that work with this?

Speaker 2:

platform. That's a great question. So the platform is designed because it's for pharma right, when data privacy, data security, is a big thing. So the platform is designed to comply with all those guidelines and we have a multi-tenant model so that the instance deployed for one partner is different from the instance deployed with the other partner right. All the databases are separate and we have separate team and user control models where we are able to restrict the access of various features and privileges to different user types.

Speaker 1:

I see Another question. It sounds like you're upending the traditional process where, typically, we would buy data from a data provider, we would use that data to segment our HEPs and then we would use, well frankly, a number of different platforms to reach out to these HEPs and, if we're lucky, we aggregate how that goes in a third platform. How much of that does your platform replace?

Speaker 2:

So actually, it's interesting that we're not looking to replace anyone. We are looking to create pipes with everyone so that we are able to bring all the data together onto a singular platform and take this messaging forward towards measurement, so that we can measure. See, currently, as you said, the data is brought together on a third platform. The third platform is an Excel sheet which is done in an offline manner and then, if we need to establish a linkage with the ROI, it's commissioned as a separate consulting project with one of the research companies. It works in a very, very inefficient manner, which is what our platform is trying to address.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and what kind of addition do you then add, replacing the current process of segmentation? So what extra would we? Is it the delivery of the messaging that we're focused on here?

Speaker 2:

Yes. So if you're working with your data partner to create the right segment, you can come upload that segment on our platform and then create messaging campaigns on various targeted channels. If you don't have those segments, you could create those segments on our platform as well, so you can enter at any point of time, either to create the audience or to create the campaign, or to access the dashboard or to create a measurement study.

Speaker 1:

So I want to dive further into this bit about being programmatically delivered Because, again, in my experience, the way that we deliver messaging to our HEPs now is through. Well, again, if we're an advanced, we're a company. We would create these pipelines in a tool like Salesforce Marketing Cloud or something similar, where we would design basically all the steps on our own. How would you do that programmatically?

Speaker 2:

It's very interesting and I like, as you're using the word programmatic right. See the word programmatic. People infer different meanings with this word. So if I talk to someone on the consumer side of the world, for them programmatic is the remnant inventory which you get at a low cost. For us, you are only getting super premium inventory. For us, programmatic is a technology through which we are simplifying the delivery of the message, not reducing, not compromising on the quality or the location of the inventory or the mindset, because every message that we deliver is target to the person at the right place at the right moment. So it can never be a remnant.

Speaker 1:

I would be curious to learn more about how do you identify that right moment to deliver a message.

Speaker 2:

See, we are. So the exclusive supply that we created through our DoKer supply side platform is our exclusive integrations inside electronic health records and the electronic prescribing platforms. So through those KIPA compliant, privacy safe integrations that we have, we are able to access the activity data of the physician. For example, a physician just made a diagnosis of diabetes. We would not know the name of the person or anything personal, identifiable information of the person. We only know that this physician has just clicked on this ICD code of diabetes. That becomes a trigger for delivering a message for us, and we have historical data of what this physician does when he diagnoses someone with diabetes. So we're trying to understand physicians behavior as well, and that's how we are able to contextually target the message to the physician at the right moment.

Speaker 1:

That is close integration indeed, and I see how you would be able to deliver real information based on that. What kind of markets are you currently in?

Speaker 2:

We're currently present in about 21 markets, primarily in Americas, in Europe, Middle East and about eight markets in Southeast Asia.

Speaker 1:

I would be curious to learn are the HCPs the recipients of this communication? How do they feel about this product?

Speaker 2:

We have done a lot of research with HCPs and we continue to do, and a lot of them don't even think this is advertising Because the kind of message they see is very useful for their practice. So they don't even consider this as advertising and has been very widely received. We provide the option to physician to opt out at any point of time from the messaging but we haven't got even 0.1% opt out still.

Speaker 1:

What about the collaboration with the electronic health records providers? If you integrate that closely, I assume that means that you need to collaborate with them to close the data loop.

Speaker 2:

So we have close partnerships with the EHR platforms, health providers, health systems, telehealth platforms, electronic prescribing platforms, and we have a very simple onboarding model with them. Typically, it takes from four to 48 hours to complete the process.

Speaker 1:

That is quick.

Speaker 2:

So very light integration. That's another one of our uniquenesses. Why the providers or the platforms like us? Because they have seen very complicated integrations which take weeks to months to make it happen and then testing, and then the process is delayed by at least half a year.

Speaker 1:

Do you use this method to advertise for clinical trials also?

Speaker 2:

We are just on the verge of starting that. We have been doing a lot of pilot campaigns in this direction and we feel we're kind of perfectly placed to help solve the problems of a clinical research team as well.

Speaker 1:

I would tend to agree. There's a potential to cause that market gap between finding the right patients and the right sites and what is needed for the clinical trial. We have yet to find something that works well in this space. I would be curious to learn more about if you have any success stories to share, any examples where a pharmaceutical company got their message out, or some HEPs who got what they needed.

Speaker 2:

For a clinical trial or for any other For any other. So multiple examples, one example I'll share. So there was a drug which was close to expiry of patent and that was getting substituted at the pharmacist. So physicians were writing the prescription, writing the script, but pharmacists were substituting it with a generic. So those prescriptions, so we created a targeted messaging campaign for the physicians to use one of the features that they have access to, called DAW, which is Dispense has Written and with that brand, gained tremendously. In the first year the ROI was 1 is 230. And this was one of the first programs that the company started and it has been in existence. It's been three years now and becoming strong. The budgets have increased 10x.

Speaker 1:

That is indeed impressive. I want to kind of apply a societal angle to this. If you're able to pursue the prescribers to prescribe a specific drug, what about you can say the societal, economic model of always trying to get the cheapest drug to the patients and the potential cost to the healthcare system. How do you feel your role is in all of that?

Speaker 2:

It's interesting and I see a lot of countries trying to move towards generics and physicians have their own concerns about quality etc. So see my personal kind of point of view. There is, I think, for certain things it is easy to replace with generics where you are confident about the quality, but there are a lot of indications where you can't depend on those generic drugs. You have to depend on those specialty drugs only. So I think giving this power to the physician to decide because the physician is always thinking in the best interest of the patient really helps and that's why you see in most EHRs there is this feature called a checkbox, called DAW.

Speaker 1:

I want to switch gears a little bit and talk more about you and what your journey was towards this space, and how did you come up with the idea for this company?

Speaker 2:

So my journey. It's a long story. You might have less time to it. So I'm a physician by training. First I practiced was internal medicine back in 2006 at Northwestern. Then I quit medicine without knowing what will I do, but I did. Then I was part of two startups, first in the health tech and big data space for North American market. Second in the healthcare communication space in Asian market. Did well, got decent exsets, made some money. Then I decided to move to advertising, so worked with McCann Health for about seven years in global leadership roles across multiple continents. Started as the MD for India, then MD for Asia Pacific. Then decided to relocate to London to lead growth for the European business. Then another relocation back to New York to lead the digital data and innovations business for McCann Health. Quite an eventful journey worked with majority of big pharma, learned a lot, did some amazing work, which were all possible awards that exist in advertising. And when the Monorah awards left, I decided to quit to solve one of the unsolved problem of pharmaceutical marketing, which is how to engage with physicians on digital in a measurable and a transparent manner.

Speaker 1:

That is an interesting journey indeed. I would be curious to learn you have experienced the pharmaceutical industry from basically all the geographies. What are some of the differences or commonalities that you have discovered?

Speaker 2:

I think when I had limited exposure of markets, I used to think that how each market is very different, how it works so differently. But I think after having worked across all continents and a lot of markets, I realized they're all the same. I think it is just the life stage at which they are in. They're trying to solve different problems. So the life stage or the kind of volumes they're dealing with, they're all trying to solve very similar problems at any point of time. So any learnings cross learnings from any other market are very helpful from a business challenge point of view.

Speaker 1:

Okay, that is an interesting observation, because that is often what I meet. Is that this expectation that it's drastically different across markets? We often speak about that Europe is different.

Speaker 2:

I had heard that it's very different from Singapore, and UK market is completely different than Europe because of GDPR you can't do anything and US is a large beast. So that's very different. You need to understand the complicated healthcare to get it Like. I've heard, like so many of these things, and it kind of scares anyone. But I try to find simplicity in whatever I do and my kind of judgment was they're all same, trying to say the same thing. They may use different vocabularies, different choice of words, but ultimately it's the same thing.

Speaker 1:

I sometimes would not agree with me on this. But I sometimes wonder if this narrative that we have about the different markets is more to protect the specific industries within those markets and to try to avoid the illusion of, you can say, the segmented world that we have created, more than in these actual differences.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's kind of self-created boundaries and sometimes I feel this is applied especially to the pharmaceutical or the life sciences companies is learnings are not shared and, like in a consumer world, you hear about any campaign that goes live, why it did well, why it didn't do well, you understand brand challenges and stuff like that, while from a pharmaceutical brand you don't get to hear anything and, along with the district edit boundaries. People would assume Europe is very different because they would read the news independently about GDPR and try to make their own stories without connecting the two together in a real life format.

Speaker 1:

That is very interesting. There's also a general lack of the feedback loop when we market as pharmaceutical companies is also shocking to me. In other industries, we have become very good at getting that feedback from the market improving and because pharmaceuticals are indeed a global industry either you're global or you're nowhere it's very important that we learn from different geographies.

Speaker 2:

Right and the market sizes are so different, like the US is like 60% of global for most Right, so I have seen global teams always have limited influence on the US business because the US business teams, they are close to the business and they're able to kind of control and manage.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and that's an understandable phenomenon. But there's also a risk of losing out on learning if you only focus on the US right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but because it's contributing to the majority. Right and I call it Sasha mentality, right you always think short term. Yes, you're thinking short term, not thinking about next three to five years, because everyone wants to deliver this year. That's your focus.

Speaker 1:

From your perspective? If we look at the industry as a whole, how is it evolving? Which markets are going to take more attention from the financial industry in the coming years?

Speaker 2:

Attention is directly proportional to revenue contribution and in revenue contribution, is the US, followed by Japan, followed by Europe. These are three markets. I don't see any, I think, any fourth which can replace the third. The differences are huge. So I think these three markets slash regions will continue to dominate in terms of pharmaceutical revenues and hence the attention.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and it's also interesting that these are also markets that are divided by language barriers. They're divided by advertising tradition and it may be difficult to learn across from the different markets.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, although we would hear in most organizations that emerging markets, right, like the brick nations, are one of those emerging markets, etc. And there is, there is money that is being spent there as well, but still I think their revenue contribution is very limited in the overall global scheme of things.

Speaker 1:

I would also be interested to hear your perspective on being a physician in the advertising space. How has that helped you? How has that been a challenge?

Speaker 2:

Oh, it has helped me immensely. I take a lot of undue advantage of that. So if I say something with confidence, people better listen.

Speaker 1:

And you never have to perfect your handwriting because people expect nothing other.

Speaker 2:

And the funny part is, even I cannot understand my handwriting.

Speaker 1:

I have the same issue and I do not have an excuse. Well, as we start rounding off, we always ask our guests the same question towards the end, and that is if I gave you a magic wand and you could change one thing in our industry, what would you wish for?

Speaker 2:

Yes, I used to love magic. I have seen less and less of that but, yeah, considering if I have a magic wand, I think one thing I would like to happen would be the all silos in data to go away, because I believe those silos go away and the data starts talking to each other. There is so much more that would be possible across all fields.

Speaker 1:

I love that wish. I wish it would come true. If our listeners have follow up questions or want to learn more about you, where can they reach out to?

Speaker 2:

I think the best way to reach out to me would be via LinkedIn, and they can reach out to me via LinkedIn profile and I'm very responsive and active on that platform.

Speaker 1:

That sounds awesome. It will include the link in the show notes. Well, aj, this was an absolute pleasure speaking to you today, and I think our listeners will enjoy this conversation as much as I did.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, Ivana. Thank you again for inviting me to the show and really nice meeting.

Speaker 1:

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