May 23, 2023

Top 5 Takeaways from the PHM HealthFront

By Eric Peacock, co-founder and CEO of MyHealthTeam

The PHM HealthFront event never fails to deliver on ideas. Here are five themes that may have the greatest industry impact.

1. Empathy in Health Care

Once known as “McDreamy,” “Grey’s Anatomy” actor Patrick Dempsey is now fulfilling his dream of making life better for people impacted by cancer. It’s something he was inspired to do after watching his mother’s battle with ovarian cancer. As the founder of the Dempsey Center in Lewiston, Maine, he spoke of the critical need for providing empathy and whole patient support. This includes counseling, nutrition, fitness, and even making sure a rural patient had enough firewood to heat their home. 

All the great advancements in AI cannot replace our human ability to provide empathy to patients and their families. Dr. John Whyte, MD, MPH, CMO at WebMD, shared that telehealth represented 2 percent of all health care visits before the pandemic, 80 percent to 90 percent during the pandemic, and is now around 20 percent. Televisits do not provide the same level of face-to-face empathy and body language which is critical to addressing the mental health issues patients are facing today. (From our own research with the 4 million members of MyHealthTeam living with chronic diseases, we know that about two-thirds also experience depression or anxiety symptoms.)

Patrick Dempsey, actor and founder of the Dempsey Center for cancer patients, talks with Steve Alperin, CEO of SurvivorNet, at the PHM HealthFront 2023

Patrick Dempsey, actor and founder of the Dempsey Center for cancer patients, talks with Steve Alperin, CEO of SurvivorNet, at the PHM HealthFront 2023. (PHM/Scott Clark Photo)

2. The Changing Face of Video on Social

People are sharing their ADHD stories on TikTok to the tune of 25 billion views. Henry Anderson from Supernus shared that TikTok is driving the new video format for pharma based on collaboration with these content creators and a focus on speed and scale. Success on that platform is driven by “fast burn, short-lived content” which is a shift from the highly produced pharma video content of the past several years. Given that about 40 percent of searches by Gen Z (people under 22 years of age) start on TikTok, we can expect this trend to accelerate as that generation ages.

3. Search Advertising With Purpose

Stefanie Klaskow, director of healthcare at Google, shared that one out of every 14 Google searches is for health care-related information. But these Google searches differ from the searches on YouTube. YouTube searchers are looking for answers to questions beginning with “What is …” or “How do I …” Instructive video content that educates and teaches might be more effective on YouTube. Kim Dolan of Pinterest explained that people use Pinterest for idea searches — it’s more of a form of discovery or guided search, rather than starting with a specific question.

Many times our members on sites like MyPsoriasisTeam, MyMSTeam or MyLeukemiaTeam ask questions like, “What else do I need to know about my disease?” Patients don’t always know the questions to ask. What they really want from us, and places like Pinterest, is to provide ideas on how to see around corners, understand what is coming next, and how best to prepare. Not all search approaches are the same, so it’s important to tailor your content, messaging, and format according to the search channel.

4. Menopause Is a Wildly Underserved and Misunderstood Life Transition

Menopause isn’t a disease, it’s a transitional life stage. It’s one that lived in the shadows, but not anymore. “Women today don’t want to have their mother’s menopause,” said Stacy London, TV personality and CEO of State of Menopause. 

Joined by SHE Media CEO Samantha Skey and Jill Jaroch, Senior Director of Women’s Health and Urology Marketing at Astellas Pharma U.S, the group shared that women want help treating the vasomotor symptoms that go along with menopause (hot flashes, night sweats, interrupted sleep) and an open dialogue about this transition.

Jill spoke of giving agency to women going through menopause with approachable, relatable, and actionable information. It’s important to emphasize not just the transitory life stage but the full life waiting on the other side of that transition. Women should be encouraged to think about their cardiovascular health, mental health, and other changes that might happen post-menopause — which can be managed — so as to continue to lead great lives.

This resonated with me so much in relation to all of our members. People don’t think of themselves as patients; they all strive to lead normal and independent lives as much as possible. They seek guidance, expert-driven information, and peer support to help them see around corners. 

This is where empathy comes back into the equation. When we understand how a health condition impacts a person’s quality of life, and how it may be preventing them from achieving the things they want to accomplish, we are better equipped to provide what they want when they need it.

Samantha Skey, Stacy London, and Jill Jaroch discuss empowering women through the menopause transition at the PMH HealthFront 2023

Samantha Skey, Stacy London, and Jill Jaroch discuss empowering women through the menopause transition at the PMH HealthFront 2023. (PHM/Scott Clark Photo)

5. A to Z: AI to Zero-Party Data

Everyone is talking about the pending deprecation of third-party cookies and the effect it will have on digital advertising as we’ve known it. A panel on cross-platform, campaign-based measurement agreed that the days of sampling are over. The ad industry is becoming more exact — narrowing to audience segments of one to provide tracking at the individual level. We have the technology and computing power to parse that data. 

This is why first- and zero-party data is necessary. Savvy brands are looking to obtain their own user data, and also partner with endemic publishers that have niche audiences at scale. At MyHealthTeam, we serve millions of patients across 50 chronic conditions. They willingly share their diagnosis, treatment, and condition stage (all examples of zero-party data). They expect us to use that on their behalf to deliver tailored content while maintaining their privacy.  

While many marketers currently seek audiences in the context of lifestyle and draw them back to health, it is zero-party data that drives deeper connections and engagement and moves people to take action for better condition management and better health outcomes overall. 

We’d love to hear how these themes resonate with you and hear your takeaways from the PHM HealthFront!  To learn how MyHealthTeam, a portfolio of 50 condition-based health communities, can elevate your brand to the right audiences, please contact me.