Author: Matt Arnold, Principal Analyst

  • Microsoft is looking to link up cloud computing and AI through an initiative called Healthcare NExT, which “will deeply integrate greenfield research and health technology product development, as well as establish a new model at Microsoft for strategic health industry partnerships.” Initial partners include University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, for a project focusing on clinician empowerment and productivity through “reducing the burden of electronic paperwork,” a collaboration with HealthVault on an adherence initiative, and a partnership th MDLive to use Microsoft’s chatbot tech “to help patients self-triage injuries before they interact with a doctor via health video” (more on that effort, and Microsoft’s checkered history in health tech, here). 


  • Pfizer continues to tend its suite of apps, and is preparing to launch a chronic pain tracker dubbed BeLive, which the WSJ calls “one in a series of mobile and wearable technologies aimed at consumers instead of Pfizer’s usual customer base of doctors and health-care providers.”



  • Two huge developments in CRISPR:


  • The market for remote monitoring grew 44% worldwide in 2016, with 7.1 million patients enrolled, according to data from Swedish firm Berg Insight, which is projecting that number to rise to 50 million by 2021. Nearly half of that, they say, will be “Bring Your Own Device.”


  • An Accenture study found that 1 in 5 consumers had used telehealth services – a big leap from the 9% that had used them in a previous Accenture study 18 months ago -- but that 78% of U.S. consumers are interested in using them. Providers who don’t meet that demand may see patients migrate to ones who will. Klick has a good summary of key findings.





  • Bayer has a fascinating campaign for Bayer Aspirin’s heart health benefits which features people named Smith in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Video vignettes in the digital-centric HeroSmiths campaign spotlight eight Smiths, and a microsite offers heart attack info and invites viewers to sign a pledge to carry aspirin.






  • Facebook announced a change to its algorithm that will weight completion of long-form videos more heavily in news feeds. What this portends for pharma brands is a topic of some debate but it’s clear that Facebook sees video as the future of social media. However, a study by Twitter and Omnicom found that the most memorable videos were short (>15 seconds), in-feed and played well in silent mode.


  • A pair of digital drug cost transparency startups, GoodRx and Iodine, have merged. Assuming that a GOP-Trumpian vision for consumer-driven healthcare moves forward, tools like theirs will be very much in demand.




  • NPs and PAs are winning the turf war over scope of practice, and with that comes greater scrutiny – a pair of Senators wants to shed some sunlight on them by including their contacts with pharmas in Open Payments reporting requirements.


  • WebMD is weighing a sale, citing softer than expected sales of ad inventory to pharmas, “possibly due to pricing pressure, continued issues around managed care and product launch challenges.”



  • A Pew study dug into how people find news online, and found that 40% of the time, consumers got health news when seeking it out.  



  • Rich Meyer writes that DTC investment continues to rise, but “the biggest head scratcher is pharma’s reluctance to really invest in digital.” Preach!


  • Ever wonder how drug names are born? Stat’s got you covered with an explainer

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