Saying that the pharma industry’s infatuation with iPad presentations by sales reps to prescribers needs to get beyond the “toy factor,” InTouch Solutions CEO, Faruk Capan has announced a collaboration with MD Mindset (Whitehouse Station, NJ), which has been busy in recent months gathering data on physicians’ use of iPads and their preferences for communications and data presentation. Alongside this collaboration, InTouch is also rolling out a new app-development environment, Allora Health (www.AlloraHealth.com), which offers broad sharing of many types of content—and with any CRM system compatible with the iPad platform.
MD Mindset’s business has been to provide training to sales reps and pharma companies, based on data generated from surveys of physicians from a network that it has built. As the iPad storm took hold in pharma marketing, it began offering market intelligence to pharma clients on physician preferences in iPad use. “The unifying goal is to uncover what information physicians need to change their clinical behavior and prescribing practices,” says Jessica Labita, VP, customer services at MD Mindset. The company is now selling syndicated research reports on the market research it is uncovering.
Meanwhile, InTouch Solutions (Overland Park, KS) has carved out a position as one of the leading interactive agencies building apps for pharma marketers; it has already built more than 70, according to Capan, in addition to creative services and social media consulting. The partnership will enable InTouch to guide pharma clients in effective app development and communication practices, he says, getting beyond the common practice of “iPad-ifying” conventional sales presentations to communications that better meet healthcare providers’ needs.
And all this is preamble to a next step InTouch is taking: the cloud-based Allora service, which is a blend of an application-development environment and a networking tool. With Allora, developers will be able to write apps for iPad, Android and other mobile platforms, and share content not necessarily written in HTML5, the preferred language for app development. According to Capan, Allora will enable data to flow from and to CRM systems (for such purposes as documenting sales calls and providing necessary regulatory compliance information). “Allora Health will differentiate use from our competitors, sure,” he says, “but the real goal here is to create better communications and data-sharing between reps and healthcare providers, and ultimately between the pharma industry and health systems.”
Another InTouch service, now enhanced to rank individual biopharma Twitter accounts, is TweetPharm. The two-year-old service started for “fun” as a means of tracking the volume of pharma-related Twitter activity; now, using Twitter’s API, InTouch is gathering six variables: number of tweets, number of followers, number the handle is following, retweets received, number of listings, and number of retweets produced. These are weighted (InTouch is making the weightings transparent to users) to produce an overall ranking of Twitter handle popularity.
“We have seen tremendous traffic to TweetPharm since its inception,” says Capan. “TweetPharm’s ranking reflects and celebrates the fact that pharma is beginning to embrace social media as more than just a presence, but rather true, online engagement.”