Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

Why my toes are blue with stars March 1, 2013

Colorectal Cancer advocacy

Ready for Colorectal Cancer Awareness month and One Million Strong website kick off

March is colorectal cancer awareness month

Blue is the designated color and stars are the symbol for hope.

Many years ago, the National Colorectal Cancer Round Table (NCCRT) began using the blue star as a unifying emblem for Colorectal Cancer advocacy. Dozens of organizations and thousands of individuals show their support by wearing blue stars in the month of March. As you see events in your communities, I encourage you to participate to raise awareness and get screened. This is the most easily preventable cancer and it is also becoming more survivable even when diagnosed at late stages.

In the US, over 1 million people are survivors of colorectal cancer.

To kick off 2013 festivities, I am in Times Square to support the launch of One Million Strong #1MilStrong a campaign created by Fight Colorectal Cancer. The goal of the campaign is to increase awareness for prevention, screening, treating and beating colorectal cancer. All day we will be spreading the excitement from these activities:

  • Free yoga sessions by Lululemon
  • Dance class/party with James Darling and music by DJ Jay McElfresh
  • Cancer survivor group photo
  • A strong arm pose-off with a visit from WBO Middleweight Champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin
  • And don’t miss Prevent Cancer‘s Super Colon, an interactive exhibit that offers a close-up look at a healthy (and unhealthy) colon with tips about screening and early prevention

When on the One Million Strong website you can:

  • Make a pledge to be strong, talk to your doctor about screening, be an advocate, urge family and friends to take action
  • Learn more about colorectal cancer advocacy
  • Discover how supporting colorectal cancer organizations improves healthcare for everyone

Fight Colorectal Cancer is one of the leading advocacy groups for this preventable, treatable and beatable cancer. I am proud to be on the team representing:

  • The Colon Club which uses out-of-the-box ways to promote prevention and screening especially for men and women under 50 years old that are symptomatic and/or at risk for developing colorectal cancer. The Colossal Colon and Colondar models will be on tour throughout the year raising awareness in a community near you.
  • Third Eye Colonoscopy which developed the Third Eye Retroscope device to help physicians see behind the folds and flexures in the colon where adenomas (pre-cancerous polyps) like to hide. This breakthrough technology allows physicians to see more of the colon which leads to increased detection of adenomas.

I hope you will follow the fun today on Twitter, FacebookGoogle+, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn and share with your networks so we can “get behind a cure” in March!

(C) 2013 eGold Solutions; all rights reserved.


MedTech Vision 2011 Conference Thursday AM October 2, 2011

Filed under: Debbie,Lisa,MedTech Women,Patient,Women consumers — Debbie Donovan @ 2:49 am

Related Links:MedTech WomenMedTech Vision 2011 Conference

Name, Affiliation

Session Title

Notes, Quotable Moment

Bray Patrick-Lake, president and CEO of the PFO Research Foundation Patients are More Than a P-value: The Path Forward From the Patient PerspectiveKickoff Keynote Lost in translation
Be the patient; be uncomfortable.
Nancy Lynch, MD – Orthopedic surgeon, Independent Orthopedic Technologies Consultant Physician Panel – Defining and Addressing the NeedModerator How does the product positively change the patient flow and meet the clinical goal?

Francine Kaufman, MD – Pediatric endocrinologist, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles; Former President, American Diabetes Association; Chief Medical Officer and VP, Global Medical, Clinical and Health Affairs, Medtronic Diabetes


Panelists Lots of unmet needs in chronic diseases – primarily time to support and reinforce care protocols:  Need to be creative and consider other avenues to assist patients to assist themselves, i.e.  Physician extenders – as in nurse educators at drugstores to meet and work with patients, web-based live interactive coaching to reinforce patient specific protocols and fundamentals for disease management – because the patient doesn’t absorb everything in the 15 minute visit with the doctor.

Donna Pacicca, MD – Orthopedic surgeon, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas, MO

Panelist Pediatrics – the very definition of unmet needs.  Nearly everything used in pediatric care is derived from remaking adult designed product – understandably it is not profitable to make for every size pediatric patient, however manufacturers should make for range, specifically for pediatrics. Also, observe how physicians work – what processes, patient flow, how they use the product before designing something new

Shyamali Singhal, MD, PhD, Surgical Oncologist and Medical Director, Cancer Center at
El Camino Hospital

Panelist Clinical studies are designed to show benefit from mortality, vs. Quality of Life – there is a real opportunity in the QOL realm.

Manufacturers need to ensure that their developments DO NOT add steps, process additions, time, inconvenience or demand additional resources be added for the sake of using a new product – think reduction of time, resources, learning curves of the providers simultaneously while benefiting the patient


Bonnie Weiner, MD – Professor of Medicine, University of MA Medical School; Director Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Program, St Vincent Hospital; Board Chair, Chief Medical Officer Accreditation for Cardiovascular Excellence; Former President, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions Panelist Unmet needs can best be defined by [manufacturer’s] assembling all the available data (instruments, processes, tx protocols) to find the needle in the haystack – that makes it better for the patient and easier for the physician.  Follow a physician through a day of patient treatment BEFORE making the perfect widget.   Great opportunities in development that align with defining care protocols that take into account risk stratification leaving room for further intervention if indicated
Tamara Elias, MD – Principal, Essex Woodlands Investment in Medtech Panel – Where Do We Go from Here?Moderator Cycle or fundamental shift?
Amy Wendell – Senior VP Strategy and Business Development, Covidien Susan E. Morano – World Wide VP of New Business Development, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices & Diagnostics Group Beckie Robertson – Managing Director ,Versant Ventures Mercy Forde – Senior Relationship Manager, Venture Capital & Private Equity Services,
Silicon Valley Bank Ashley Ledbetter Dombkowski, Ph.D. – Chief Business Officer, 23andMe
Panelists All echoed:Product ideas that landed in a white space and fill significant, unmet clinical needs.
Deal structures involve new collaborative models

2011 (C) eGold Solutions and pH Consulting; all rights reserved.


MedTech Vision 2011 Conference Thursday PM

Filed under: Debbie,Lisa,MedTech Women,Patient,Women consumers — Debbie Donovan @ 2:39 am

Name, Affiliation

Thursday PM Sessions

Notes, Quotable Moment

Sandra J Miller – Director, Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation Lunch & CEO Roundtable – The New Face of Leadership


What’s your word?
K. Angela Macfarlane – President and CEO, ForSight Labs Panelist Hold problems
Beverly Huss – President and CEO, Vibrynt Panelist Still haven’t found what I’m looking for
Lisa Earnhardt – President and CEO, Intersect ENT Panelist Get alignment (not necessarily consensus)
Ferolyn Powell – DVP & GM, Abbott Vascular Structural Heart (formerly CEO of Evalve, Inc) Panelist Hire your sister
Hire taller (then self)
Alexandra Lansky, MD – Director of Yale Cardiovascular Research Group New Clinical Opportunities Panel – Health of Women, Not Just Women’s HealthModerator Health issues unique to women and hire incidence in women
Lisa M. Tate – CEO, WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart DiseaseLynn Westphal, MD – Director of Women’s Health at Stanford University

Ellen Goldberg – Marketing Strategy Consultant; former Vice President, Marketing, Crescendo Bioscience

Cardiovascular Panelists If under diagnosed then it’s under treated—funnel is not right size.
Deborah Kilpatrick – Senior Vice President, Commercial, CardioDxMarie Barry – Industry Consultant, Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals

Vibeke Strand, MD, FACP, FACR – Adjunct Clinical Professor in the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, Stanford University School of Medicine

Rheumatoid Arthritis Panelists No cures
Higher incidence of cardiovascular problemsPracticed patient
Anne Abreu – Director of Reimbursement, Sonitus Medical Reimbursement Case Study Panel – Getting Good Innovation Paid For
Without Breaking the Bank Moderator
Anything is possible; nothing is easy
Betsy Thompson, MD, DrPH – Chief Medical Officer, CMS Region IX Panelist Consider the magnitude of the risk and benefit against reasonable and necessary
Robin G. Cisneros – National Director, Medical Technology Assessment and Products, The Permanente Federation Panelist Look at everything (data wise)Dr. Eddy—QOL are things patients feel and care about
Liesl Cooper – VP Healthcare Economics, Policy and Reimbursement, Covidien Panelist Ecosystem is changing
There’s an art to health economics
Lisa Suennen – Managing Member, Psilos Group Managers Healthcare Costs and Innovation Panel – Friends or Foes? Moderator Key innovations?
Molly Joel Coye, MD, MPH – Chief Innovation Officer, UCLA Health System, University of California, Los Angeles Panelist Show customers how to make the decision
Remote home monitoring + telemedicine
Michelle Heying – President and COO, DynaVox Technologies Panelist Cost sensitivity in the patient pathway
Tablet technology
Deneen Vojta, MD – Senior VP of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform and Modernization Panelist Solve a real problem
Facebook as adult anti-depressant
Ginger Graham, former president and CEO, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, and former group chairman, Office of the President, Guidant Corporation Continuing to Innovate in Today’s Economic and Regulatory EnvironmentIndustry Keynote GeneticsRetail-ization of healthcare delivery

Globalization of middle class

Healthcare companies redefined models

Personal Technologies

  • Stand without moving
  • Make statements without upward voice inflection

Related Links:

MedTech Women

MedTech Vision 2011 Conference

2011 (C) eGold Solutions and pH Consulting; all rights reserved.


Physician Google Thyself: Helpful Perspective from AMA August 9, 2011

Filed under: Debbie,Patient,Physician Google Thyself,Reputation Management,Social media — Debbie Donovan @ 9:27 pm
Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Today, published a great article by Daniel O’Connor, PhD, (Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, Baltimore) discussing how to handle online reviews.

The point of the article and recommendations appear toward the end. I especially like this quote:

“Whether this characterization is fair or not, many consumer-patients believe it and, feeling powerless in the face of bureaucracy, take to the Internet to express their frustrations and anger. They do this because it is what modern consumers do: express themselves through social media. We cannot, in 2011, conceive of patients as customers and then be surprised if they blog about their customer experience.”

The message is clear: patient use of social media to discuss healthcare services is not going away. Better Google yourself soon; watch this overview video (30 min) and be sure to follow the step-wise plan outlined in this post series. Contact me to receive a free Reputation Management Tracking Spreadsheet

Related Posts:

Physician Google Thyself:

(C) 2011 eGold Solutions; all rights reserved.


Dosie Awards at Digital Pharma West July 11, 2011

Deb was a judge for 2011 Dosie Awards

In June, I spent a fair amount of time clicking on over 500 examples of social media in healthcare–companies, patients, industry observers–as a judge in Dose of Digital‘s 2nd Annual Dosie Awards. The winners were announced at Digital Pharma West (you can read who won here).

Here are my key takeaways from a judge and conference attendee perspective:

  • Listening: It’s about the patient–it always has been–and it’s easier then ever to discover what they are thinking and feeling. Understanding the patient journey and mapping the “listenings” from social media channels to their critical decision points is a path to successful implementation.
  • Start Small: Yes, relative to device and diagnostics, Pharma have larger overall budgets; however, the case study learnings are transferable without breaking the marketing budget. This is possible because digital implementations are scalable.
  • Purposeful cleverness is sticky: The Dosie Award Winners (presentation download) that captured the judges and popular votes were clever with a purpose and that lead to stickiness. As a judge, I would click on each site and give it 10 seconds to grab me. I noted the handful that kept me engaged beyond that point. When I cast my votes in the first round, it was easy to remember which ones stuck with me. As the winners were announced, I could envision something about each experience.

Bonus for me: At the conference, I had a chance to meet Jonathan Richman in person. He’s just as practical and passionate about social media in person as he is in the blog, on email and over the phone.

(C) 2011 eGold Solutions; all rights reserved.


Marketing From on High July 6, 2011

Domenico Ghirlandaio – The Visitation 1491

Recently, I had a very special experience. My best friend was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. The ordination was lovely and stirring. The offerings of support and affirmation of worthiness were abundantly proffered on her behalf by the many whose lives she has touched, mine especially.

 We have many conversations about the parallels in our respective career paths. We come from the same humble and rewarding beginnings – nursing. Her path took her to the spiritual side of wellness while I’ve followed the therapeutic path. The director of our nursing program drilled into our psyche that each patient must be cared for wholly. This tenet stuck with us, a foundation we spring from as we pursue our particular sliver of wellness expertise. And, it comes in handy to have complementary expertise to reach for, when needed.

 Although the nature of the work we do is different there are two things that are the same. There is a person who needs care and to provide care we must connect with the personConnecting with the person is the very definition of marketing.

In today’s world we are regularly pummeled with information, brands, and messages. See the very cleverly demonstrated example by an arts group ‘Studio Smack’ [cool name] in their video report. Lots and lots of noise – visual and auditory, all designed to capture and keep our attention. So much so, we are becoming blind and deaf to much of it. This presents obvious challenges to the marketer who wants to connect with the person who needs that which we offer.

A priest and hospital chaplain – her former manager, delivered a homily of her work. The consistent thread throughout the history of her work is her ministerial style. Whenever considering how to reach the ever-so-slightly-out-of-reach individual, she sought input by inviting her manager to walk and talk with her. This ‘walk and talk’ method, out of the office, away from the walls, distant from a sanctuary has become her trademark.

To reach the individual in need, she goes to them. She does not wait for them to come to her. She goes to where they are.  She doesn’t require they come to a defined and assigned place. From her time within the sanctuary at the altar she knows that there are few inside, many more are not. And from her work in the field she knows that those outside of the traditional space are no less in need or of wanting. To connect with the person and provide service, she must be where they are, when they are there. She has identified how to market her services. She knows that what she has to offer can benefit many however, it is the one-on-one relationship that is most impactful. And her most effective marketing is word-of-mouth from those she has served. She has more than mastered the ‘P- Place’ in the marketing mix.

My work in life sciences involves specialized and sophisticated technologies. The value of the technologies can only be realized when applied to the person in need of the particular care the technologies provide. It is a long way from development labs to patient care. To get to the right patient at the right time in the right place is my favorite challenge.

Successful contact with the right patient requires mastering the right marketing mix. I invite you to read examples of highly effective marketing in the postings by my blog partners.

Should you find yourself faced with business challenges reflected in their postings I encourage you to connect with them – Debbie Donovan and Barbara Kowalski.

My best friend – the newly ordained Reverend and I do different work. She cares for the soul and spirit; I care for body and mind. However, we both use marketing to promote our type of care. And I am reminded by observing her trademark style that to reach the masses, I must connect with the individual – a highly specialized method of marketing.

(C) 2011 pH Consulting; all rights reserved.


Vanilla doesn’t sell unless it’s Ice Cream October 28, 2010

Vanilla ice cream has a rich taste and appealing aroma, making it the best selling ice cream flavor around. The Wikipedia page devoted to vanilla notes that it is the second most expensive spice after saffron, because of the labor required to grow the vanilla seed pods.Vanilla is used in foods, perfumes, aromatherapy, and apparently even as a bug repellant and a home remedy for minor burns. Clearly, it is very versatile.

Getting it right

However, when promoting a product, a ‘vanilla’ description is anything but appealing or versatile. Product descriptions are critical in product positioning.  Descriptions provide the basis for establishing a brand identity, a communication platform, a competitive edge, the value proposition and so much more. In the medical device space product descriptions are considered labeling. Significant effort and expense goes into securing medical device labeling.  Because medical device labeling is absolute and creative license is forbidden, getting it right is critical.

Connect the dots

To have the best possible chance at successful product adoption customers should readily recognize the value of the product through the labeling. Product descriptions should resonate intrinsically with the customer. Understanding customer needs is the core responsibility of marketing. Therefore, involvement by marketing in the product description is essential. It is senseless to disconnect the customer and patient advocate – marketing, from the customer and patient guardian – regulatory/clinical. 

Engagement at a higher level

Proactive interaction by marketing with the regulatory/clinical department early on in the clinical plan development provides the best possible outcome for labeling that will resonate with the physician customer.This is not about making it easy for marketing to promote a productNor is it about securing labeling that is loose, boastful or inaccurate in any way

Rather, this assertion that marketing participate in the discussion about the clinical plan and the desired outcome is because marketing should be leading the efforts to ensure that the product or service truly meets and exceeds customer expectations and is reflected clearly in product descriptions. The regulatory/ clinical expertise is most impactful by establishing strong and undisputed product labeling, that doesn’t need interpretation or lyrical descriptions for the product to be appreciated.

Untangle the tangle

Many marketers complain that they are hamstrung by the regulatory department when product promotion and communication plans and tactics are proposed. Many regulatory departments cringe at the creative approach marketers present to convey a product purpose, benefits and applications. 

It seems that the simplest and cleanest approach is to use the product labeling granted by the FDA,

based on evidence provided by the regulatory and clinical experts

that distinguishes the product precisely as it is intended to be used by customers,

through the distillation of customer needs by marketing. 

And while that seems a mouthful and a tall order, early collaboration between marketing and regulatory/clinical is the most likely path to labeling that is descriptive and telling. The kind of labeling where ‘creative marketing’ is about the many ways to communicate product availability and not about the many words required for product description. Product labeling typically happens only once. Getting it right so the right customer connects their needs with the value of the product will make the best use of all efforts to promote and protect.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting; all rights reserved.


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