Geisinger and AstraZeneca partner to improve asthma care
Serving over three million residents across 45 US counties, integrated health services provider Geisinger has partnered up with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to create a new suite of products to improve asthma care.
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease where the airways in the lungs become swollen or inflamed making it difficult to breath. Asthma symptoms can vary over time and worsening of asthma (an asthma attack) can be triggered by environmental exposure or allergies. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed. The number of asthma cases has risen with each passing year.
Ensuring that products integrate into electronic health records (EHRs), the companies will seek to engage patients and providers in co-managing the disease.
The new asthma app includes mobile app data which is connected to a real-time, web-based application called Provider Asthma Management Assistant. The assistant combines EHR and patient-reported data feeds to enable asthma educators and respiratory therapists to triage patients and bring in specialists when needed.
“Asthma symptoms can be unpredictable and breathing issues don’t always occur in the doctor’s office – a tool to help patients and physicians stay connected and share information in real-time is what connected health is all about,” said Tosh Butt, Vice President, Respiratory, AstraZeneca.
“AstraZeneca’s partnership with Geisinger is focused on how we can arm patients and physicians with digital tools with the intention of speeding diagnosis and treatment decisions.”
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The new app allows patients to view asthma-related weather forecasts, log symptoms and asthma triggers, establish medication reminders, track health status over time, and, crucially, communicate with their healthcare team.
“Patients sometimes do a lot worse with their asthma than we know based on a three-, six-, or nine-month periodic office visits,” said Paul Simonelli, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Geisinger. “This new suite of products could easily be adapted to any long-term chronic respiratory illness that needs monitoring, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).”
With the new app products, attacks and symptoms can be tracked and easily monitored in real-time by the full spectrum of the health care team.
Geisinger and AstraZeneca’s partnership in developing the asthma app suite uses scientific expertise from both companies in disease management, patient engagement, adherence, healthcare innovation, research, and technology to fundamentally redesign how asthma patients are diagnosed and treated.
Rebecca Stametz, Senior Director, Clinical Innovation at Geisinger, informed Fierce Pharma, “These products are not a substitute for clinical care and are not intended for rapid response systems, but rather to better understand the patient’s experience with asthma. The products can be viewed as a vehicle for more robust patient-clinician communication.”
In the UK, data analytics company Polymatica has recently announced its findings of a comprehensive analysis of government GP data. The company has revealed that the amount of asthma medication prescribed has increased by 17% in six years, whilst the amount of antibiotics prescribed dropped by 12% during the same period.
The amount of antibiotics prescribed stood at 28.7mn items in 2017, down from 32.8mn in 2011, with penicillin still the predominant antibiotic issued by GPs. The amount of asthma medication prescribed in 2017 hit 54.6mn items for the year, up from 46.5mn in 2011. These new tools could help support this growing health market.
How can the healthcare industry build trust with consumers?
One of the many ways the pandemic has impacted society is that it has firmly cast the healthcare industry in the public spotlight. From producing ventilators and PPE to developing life-saving vaccines, consumers have looked to pharmaceutical and healthcare companies to keep us safe and find a way out of the Covid-19 crisis.
As a result, healthcare companies have an opportunity to build upon this and utilise their marketing to drive greater engagement and trust with consumers. When it comes to effective marketing, it’s vital to remember the important role which visuals play. Consumers increasingly engage with brands through the visual communications and storytelling they absorb while online or browsing through media channels. These visual communications can have a huge impact not only on consumer purchasing decisions but also the relationship between brands and customers.
At Getty Images, we work with healthcare companies throughout Europe to advise them on their visual content. This study forms part of the research for our insight platform Visual GPS, which looks at the key factors affecting consumer decision making and how that impacts their visual choices.
In partnership with YouGov, we surveyed 10,000 consumers globally and have been tracking this consumer sentiment for the past two years. This latest deep-dive into the healthcare industry is part of our wider on-going research, and aims to better understand how consumers in different regions are interacting with the healthcare sector and what motivates their visual preferences.
Our research revealed that many companies are not using visuals as effectively as they could. In the UK, for instance, the vast majority of consumers do not feel represented by the visual communications which businesses are producing – only 7% of British respondents to our global Visual GPS survey say they felt represented. That is even lower than the global average of 14%.
This latest deep dive into the healthcare industry has uncovered some important insights that can help us better understand how consumers in different regions are interacting with the healthcare sector.
Mental health should be centre stage
A key finding shows that mental health remains a highly relevant issue for consumers. Over nine in ten British consumers think it is important to talk about mental health and put it on an equal footing with physical and emotional health. Not surprisingly, 55% of British consumers believe that more people are being diagnosed with depression due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is a growing awareness of the importance of mental health across Europe. Health and pharmaceutical companies should acknowledge this in their visual communications but do so in an empathetic and compassionate way. Only five years ago, visuals around mental health often depicted people alone, isolated and expressing feelings of shame, whereas now we are seeing a more empathetic and supportive approach to visualising mental health - with an increasing number of positive visuals showing support groups, or individuals proactively seeking and finding support.
Visual communications that show support for mental well-being in a meaningful way will resonate deeply with consumers.
A more holistic approach
Another key finding is that consumers want to focus more on holistic health. Our survey found that the majority of UK consumers place an almost equal importance on emotional, physical and mental health, and almost three quarters (73%) placed the health and well-being of family as a top priority.
It’s important that healthcare companies reflect this. Our research paired with ongoing image testing revealed that consumers want to see visuals that humanise healthcare, so companies should consider visualising inclusive care across intersecting factors such as age, ethnicity and gender. Brands can help establish trust with their customers by highlighting a collaborative relationship between medical professional and patient, as well as ensuring that their visual choices feel genuine.
Technology and innovation in healthcare are gaining traction
Thirdly, eHealth and purposeful innovation was another key finding. Consumers want innovation that will meaningfully support their care. Particularly in Europe, the older generation will pay more for brands that use technology to provide advice and recommendations, while Gen Z & Millennials are willing to pay for self-service capabilities. It’s important therefore for healthcare companies to incorporate purposeful innovation in their visual communication and demonstrate consumers at the centre of accessible eHealth.
Given these insights, what visual content do consumers expect to see from pharmaceutical brands? Our research highlighted three key themes.
- Consumers want to see how healthcare companies fit into people’s lives. Accessible health services are a key factor here. Decision makers should build trust by showing consumers at the centre of a holistic healthcare ecosystem.
- Consumers want to see the emotional rewards others get from using a healthcare company. This can be achieved by building brand loyalty through empathetic and inclusive visual storytelling.
- Finally, consumers want to see people who are similar to them and their lives. British consumers want to see people that look like them and reflect their lived experiences in advertising and brand communication. Decision-makers should ensure that their visual communication is inclusive and authentic and represents the diverse population of the market in which they’re operating.
Ultimately, the key to successful visual storytelling for pharma and healthcare businesses is to ensure that they understand what matters to their audience while establishing trust of care. An important element of this is authentically representing the full spectrum of the population. That means representing all ethnicities, ages, abilities, body shapes, sexuality, religion and genders, to ensure patients of all backgrounds feel included and represented.
Healthcare brands should bear in mind that, as a result of the pandemic’s impact on healthcare systems around the world, consumers may be feeling anxious about whether they will be able to access care if they need it. The healthcare industry has an opportunity to reassure customers and build greater engagement and trust by showing them that they matter through inclusive visuals that represents them authentically at the heart of brand storytelling.