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Consumers want convenient, online doctor-finding tools

New survey data from Press Ganey suggests that pharma may be able to get an edge by integrating
The post Consumers want convenient, online doctor-finding…



New survey data from Press Ganey suggests that pharma may be able to get an edge by integrating physician directories into brand websites.

When it comes to pharma marketing, historically companies have had to either market direct to consumers — and trust them to find a doctor and bring up the company’s product with them — or to send sales reps to doctors — and hope they had the right mix of potential customers among their patients.

But in 2022, with digital communication ubiquitous, pharma companies are finding another option: market to consumers, then help them select a physician. And, in the process, learn more about their consumers than they knew before.

How? By embedding a provider directory in the company’s website or brand websites. And a new survey of 1,126 Americans shows that at least in the states this strategy has a lot of legs.

“I think it’s kind of a win-win for everyone,” Andrei Zimiles, SVP of consumerism solutions at Press Ganey, told pharmaphorum. “It reduces friction for the consumer to complete that journey and get care in fewer steps, and it’s a win for brands in that there’s less chance that person never sees a doctor or asks for the wrong brand.”

The survey was commissioned by Press Ganey and conducted by an independent market research agency. It follows a 2019 survey conducted by before it became part of Press Ganey in 2020.

It’s worth noting that though the survey was conducted independently, Press Ganey provides a service to life sciences companies to help them do this very thing — so its worth it to take the survey results with a grain of salt.

What the data says about American healthcare consumers

According to the survey, more than half of respondents (52.8%) say that finding the right treatment option is a major challenge. That number is up 17% from 2019. And 44.2% say finding the right doctor is a challenge.

While consumers are struggling with their care options, they’re also more plugged in than ever, thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic’s acceleration of telehealth. Seventy-two percent of respondents would rather book a doctor’s visit online than with a phone call. And 54.4% said they’d be more likely to schedule an appointment with a doctor who offered virtual visits. Relevant to pharma, 65% said they would likely use telemedicine to manage their prescriptions.

“If there’s anything we’ve learned with the pandemic and with everybody increasingly going online is attention spans have never been shorter and people want instant gratification like never before,” Zimiles said. “I remember when two-day shipping from Amazon was innovative. Now there are several different companies that can deliver groceries to me in 20 minutes or less. People want to get what they want right away and they’re willing to be fully digital to make that happen.”

This increasing tech-savviness crosses generational boundaries. Nearly 70% of respondents over 60 have gone online to research a prescription or medical device in the last year.

“Seeing the adoption from this older demographic of these digital tools is interesting because that’s obviously a key demographic when you look at who’s getting prescriptions,” Zimiles said. “So if there are new digital pathways to reach the baby boomer and even older demographics of consumers, I think there’s a lot of reason to explore that.”

Pharma companies need to respond to this trend by making sure their websites are accessible and easy to use, Zimiles added.

“What’s interesting, too, is you’d think that older audience would already have their portfolio of physicians established,” he said. “But one of the findings from the survey is from specifically that demographic, 41.3% said that finding the right doctor was the biggest challenge they had when trying to find treatment or prescription for a medical condition. So that tells me that even these older consumers are sometimes struggling to find a relevant specialist who can help them get a therapy that they need.”

A newfound trust in pharma

The survey found that pharma brand sites were the number two most relied on resource for learning about medications and medical devices, after the primary care physician: 46.5% of respondents said they used pharma websites for that purpose, more than used news articles (32.3%), specialists (31.3%), friends and family (31.2%), or insurance companies (18.7%). Advertisements came in dead last at just 10.9%.

Zimiles thinks that the pandemic has increased trust in pharma generally.

“Pre-COVID, often when pharma was in the news for the lay-consumer it was some kind of scandal. You had the Martin Shkreli stuff, the opioid crisis,” he said. “Now it’s vaccines for COVID, innovation, lives being saved, sort of this Herculean effort to combat the pandemic. So I think we’re seeing that increased positive consumer sentiment and trust manifesting in the average patient who’s out there exploring their options feeling more comfortable trusting recommendations from a pharmaceutical brand.”

All this points to an opportunity with physician directories, and the survey data also directly supports the notion. Ninety percent of respondents said they wanted physician directories available on pharmaceutical websites. Eighty-three percent said they would be more likely to use or recommend a website with a directory. And 50.9% said that a doctor directory on a pharma brand site would increase their loyalty to the brand.

Consumers also supported physician ratings on these sites, with 88.6% saying they would find them to be a helpful feature.

Benefits of doctor directories on pharma sites

The problem with the status quo in consumer marketing, Zimiles said, is that the call to action was simply “ask your doctor about this brand”. But if the consumer didn’t have a doctor to ask, they’d have a long road ahead before they could take that action.

“If they’re not providing that extra step, they’ve done all the hard work of getting someone educated and enthusiastic about inquiring if that therapy is appropriate, but then they go out into the wild and start from zero to find a doctor. And if they go to one of these general doctor directories, it’s very possible they get exposed to competitive media there. So they could have done all the work of educating someone that they need an asthma drug, and then they could see an ad for an asthma drug from a different company and at the moment they’re seeing a doctor, that’s the latest thing in their head.”

Pharma gets more consistent message controls and healthcare consumers get a convenient process for getting to a doctor — a win-win, Zimiles said. But by controlling the directory, pharma companies can also collect de-identified data about who’s looking for doctors and where. He shared a story of one Press Ganey client who discovered a large concentration of patients seeking doctors in Houston, Texas – a market where they had invested almost no resources in marketing to patients or to doctors.

Physician directories on pharma sites may be one way to capitalise on trends of digital engagement, high trust in pharma, and patient needs. But it’s just one example of how pharma can change its marketing game by meeting the consumer where they are — online.

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The Coming Of The Police State In America

The Coming Of The Police State In America

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

The National Guard and the State Police are now…



The Coming Of The Police State In America

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

The National Guard and the State Police are now patrolling the New York City subway system in an attempt to do something about the explosion of crime. As part of this, there are bag checks and new surveillance of all passengers. No legislation, no debate, just an edict from the mayor.

Many citizens who rely on this system for transportation might welcome this. It’s a city of strict gun control, and no one knows for sure if they have the right to defend themselves. Merchants have been harassed and even arrested for trying to stop looting and pillaging in their own shops.

The message has been sent: Only the police can do this job. Whether they do it or not is another matter.

Things on the subway system have gotten crazy. If you know it well, you can manage to travel safely, but visitors to the city who take the wrong train at the wrong time are taking grave risks.

In actual fact, it’s guaranteed that this will only end in confiscating knives and other things that people carry in order to protect themselves while leaving the actual criminals even more free to prey on citizens.

The law-abiding will suffer and the criminals will grow more numerous. It will not end well.

When you step back from the details, what we have is the dawning of a genuine police state in the United States. It only starts in New York City. Where is the Guard going to be deployed next? Anywhere is possible.

If the crime is bad enough, citizens will welcome it. It must have been this way in most times and places that when the police state arrives, the people cheer.

We will all have our own stories of how this came to be. Some might begin with the passage of the Patriot Act and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security in 2001. Some will focus on gun control and the taking away of citizens’ rights to defend themselves.

My own version of events is closer in time. It began four years ago this month with lockdowns. That’s what shattered the capacity of civil society to function in the United States. Everything that has happened since follows like one domino tumbling after another.

It goes like this:

1) lockdown,

2) loss of moral compass and spreading of loneliness and nihilism,

3) rioting resulting from citizen frustration, 4) police absent because of ideological hectoring,

5) a rise in uncontrolled immigration/refugees,

6) an epidemic of ill health from substance abuse and otherwise,

7) businesses flee the city

8) cities fall into decay, and that results in

9) more surveillance and police state.

The 10th stage is the sacking of liberty and civilization itself.

It doesn’t fall out this way at every point in history, but this seems like a solid outline of what happened in this case. Four years is a very short period of time to see all of this unfold. But it is a fact that New York City was more-or-less civilized only four years ago. No one could have predicted that it would come to this so quickly.

But once the lockdowns happened, all bets were off. Here we had a policy that most directly trampled on all freedoms that we had taken for granted. Schools, businesses, and churches were slammed shut, with various levels of enforcement. The entire workforce was divided between essential and nonessential, and there was widespread confusion about who precisely was in charge of designating and enforcing this.

It felt like martial law at the time, as if all normal civilian law had been displaced by something else. That something had to do with public health, but there was clearly more going on, because suddenly our social media posts were censored and we were being asked to do things that made no sense, such as mask up for a virus that evaded mask protection and walk in only one direction in grocery aisles.

Vast amounts of the white-collar workforce stayed home—and their kids, too—until it became too much to bear. The city became a ghost town. Most U.S. cities were the same.

As the months of disaster rolled on, the captives were let out of their houses for the summer in order to protest racism but no other reason. As a way of excusing this, the same public health authorities said that racism was a virus as bad as COVID-19, so therefore it was permitted.

The protests had turned to riots in many cities, and the police were being defunded and discouraged to do anything about the problem. Citizens watched in horror as downtowns burned and drug-crazed freaks took over whole sections of cities. It was like every standard of decency had been zapped out of an entire swath of the population.

Meanwhile, large checks were arriving in people’s bank accounts, defying every normal economic expectation. How could people not be working and get their bank accounts more flush with cash than ever? There was a new law that didn’t even require that people pay rent. How weird was that? Even student loans didn’t need to be paid.

By the fall, recess from lockdown was over and everyone was told to go home again. But this time they had a job to do: They were supposed to vote. Not at the polling places, because going there would only spread germs, or so the media said. When the voting results finally came in, it was the absentee ballots that swung the election in favor of the opposition party that actually wanted more lockdowns and eventually pushed vaccine mandates on the whole population.

The new party in control took note of the large population movements out of cities and states that they controlled. This would have a large effect on voting patterns in the future. But they had a plan. They would open the borders to millions of people in the guise of caring for refugees. These new warm bodies would become voters in time and certainly count on the census when it came time to reapportion political power.

Meanwhile, the native population had begun to swim in ill health from substance abuse, widespread depression, and demoralization, plus vaccine injury. This increased dependency on the very institutions that had caused the problem in the first place: the medical/scientific establishment.

The rise of crime drove the small businesses out of the city. They had barely survived the lockdowns, but they certainly could not survive the crime epidemic. This undermined the tax base of the city and allowed the criminals to take further control.

The same cities became sanctuaries for the waves of migrants sacking the country, and partisan mayors actually used tax dollars to house these invaders in high-end hotels in the name of having compassion for the stranger. Citizens were pushed out to make way for rampaging migrant hordes, as incredible as this seems.

But with that, of course, crime rose ever further, inciting citizen anger and providing a pretext to bring in the police state in the form of the National Guard, now tasked with cracking down on crime in the transportation system.

What’s the next step? It’s probably already here: mass surveillance and censorship, plus ever-expanding police power. This will be accompanied by further population movements, as those with the means to do so flee the city and even the country and leave it for everyone else to suffer.

As I tell the story, all of this seems inevitable. It is not. It could have been stopped at any point. A wise and prudent political leadership could have admitted the error from the beginning and called on the country to rediscover freedom, decency, and the difference between right and wrong. But ego and pride stopped that from happening, and we are left with the consequences.

The government grows ever bigger and civil society ever less capable of managing itself in large urban centers. Disaster is unfolding in real time, mitigated only by a rising stock market and a financial system that has yet to fall apart completely.

Are we at the middle stages of total collapse, or at the point where the population and people in leadership positions wise up and decide to put an end to the downward slide? It’s hard to know. But this much we do know: There is a growing pocket of resistance out there that is fed up and refuses to sit by and watch this great country be sacked and taken over by everything it was set up to prevent.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 16:20

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Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Authored by Amie Dahnke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

People with inadequate…



Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Authored by Amie Dahnke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

People with inadequate iron levels in their blood due to a COVID-19 infection could be at greater risk of long COVID.


A new study indicates that problems with iron levels in the bloodstream likely trigger chronic inflammation and other conditions associated with the post-COVID phenomenon. The findings, published on March 1 in Nature Immunology, could offer new ways to treat or prevent the condition.

Long COVID Patients Have Low Iron Levels

Researchers at the University of Cambridge pinpointed low iron as a potential link to long-COVID symptoms thanks to a study they initiated shortly after the start of the pandemic. They recruited people who tested positive for the virus to provide blood samples for analysis over a year, which allowed the researchers to look for post-infection changes in the blood. The researchers looked at 214 samples and found that 45 percent of patients reported symptoms of long COVID that lasted between three and 10 months.

In analyzing the blood samples, the research team noticed that people experiencing long COVID had low iron levels, contributing to anemia and low red blood cell production, just two weeks after they were diagnosed with COVID-19. This was true for patients regardless of age, sex, or the initial severity of their infection.

According to one of the study co-authors, the removal of iron from the bloodstream is a natural process and defense mechanism of the body.

But it can jeopardize a person’s recovery.

When the body has an infection, it responds by removing iron from the bloodstream. This protects us from potentially lethal bacteria that capture the iron in the bloodstream and grow rapidly. It’s an evolutionary response that redistributes iron in the body, and the blood plasma becomes an iron desert,” University of Oxford professor Hal Drakesmith said in a press release. “However, if this goes on for a long time, there is less iron for red blood cells, so oxygen is transported less efficiently affecting metabolism and energy production, and for white blood cells, which need iron to work properly. The protective mechanism ends up becoming a problem.”

The research team believes that consistently low iron levels could explain why individuals with long COVID continue to experience fatigue and difficulty exercising. As such, the researchers suggested iron supplementation to help regulate and prevent the often debilitating symptoms associated with long COVID.

It isn’t necessarily the case that individuals don’t have enough iron in their body, it’s just that it’s trapped in the wrong place,” Aimee Hanson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge who worked on the study, said in the press release. “What we need is a way to remobilize the iron and pull it back into the bloodstream, where it becomes more useful to the red blood cells.”

The research team pointed out that iron supplementation isn’t always straightforward. Achieving the right level of iron varies from person to person. Too much iron can cause stomach issues, ranging from constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain to gastritis and gastric lesions.

1 in 5 Still Affected by Long COVID

COVID-19 has affected nearly 40 percent of Americans, with one in five of those still suffering from symptoms of long COVID, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Long COVID is marked by health issues that continue at least four weeks after an individual was initially diagnosed with COVID-19. Symptoms can last for days, weeks, months, or years and may include fatigue, cough or chest pain, headache, brain fog, depression or anxiety, digestive issues, and joint or muscle pain.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 12:50

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February Employment Situation

By Paul Gomme and Peter Rupert The establishment data from the BLS showed a 275,000 increase in payroll employment for February, outpacing the 230,000…



By Paul Gomme and Peter Rupert

The establishment data from the BLS showed a 275,000 increase in payroll employment for February, outpacing the 230,000 average over the previous 12 months. The payroll data for January and December were revised down by a total of 167,000. The private sector added 223,000 new jobs, the largest gain since May of last year.

Temporary help services employment continues a steep decline after a sharp post-pandemic rise.

Average hours of work increased from 34.2 to 34.3. The increase, along with the 223,000 private employment increase led to a hefty increase in total hours of 5.6% at an annualized rate, also the largest increase since May of last year.

The establishment report, once again, beat “expectations;” the WSJ survey of economists was 198,000. Other than the downward revisions, mentioned above, another bit of negative news was a smallish increase in wage growth, from $34.52 to $34.57.

The household survey shows that the labor force increased 150,000, a drop in employment of 184,000 and an increase in the number of unemployed persons of 334,000. The labor force participation rate held steady at 62.5, the employment to population ratio decreased from 60.2 to 60.1 and the unemployment rate increased from 3.66 to 3.86. Remember that the unemployment rate is the number of unemployed relative to the labor force (the number employed plus the number unemployed). Consequently, the unemployment rate can go up if the number of unemployed rises holding fixed the labor force, or if the labor force shrinks holding the number unemployed unchanged. An increase in the unemployment rate is not necessarily a bad thing: it may reflect a strong labor market drawing “marginally attached” individuals from outside the labor force. Indeed, there was a 96,000 decline in those workers.

Earlier in the week, the BLS announced JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) data for January. There isn’t much to report here as the job openings changed little at 8.9 million, the number of hires and total separations were little changed at 5.7 million and 5.3 million, respectively.

As has been the case for the last couple of years, the number of job openings remains higher than the number of unemployed persons.

Also earlier in the week the BLS announced that productivity increased 3.2% in the 4th quarter with output rising 3.5% and hours of work rising 0.3%.

The bottom line is that the labor market continues its surprisingly (to some) strong performance, once again proving stronger than many had expected. This strength makes it difficult to justify any interest rate cuts soon, particularly given the recent inflation spike.

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