Monthly Archives: April 2010

Despite Concern, Americans Aren’t Protecting Themselves Against Diabetes

Diabetes affects more than 23 million people in the United States today and another 54 million people have pre-diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, while nearly 60 percent of Americans are concerned about developing diabetes, many aren’t taking the necessary steps to protect their health, according to a recent study by the International Diabetes Center and Abbott (NYSE: ABT). Just slightly more than a third of people surveyed have taken preventative action in their own lives to reduce their risk, and even fewer (29 percent) have spoken with their doctor about their chance of developing the condition.

“Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and it is important for people across the country to know their risks for developing the condition,” said Maggie Powers, Ph.D., registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and research scientist, International Diabetes Center. “Type 2 diabetes represents the vast majority of these cases, but the good news is it can be controlled – or even prevented – through a weight management plan that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet.”

The International Diabetes Center and Abbott survey was conducted among 500 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and older, with an oversample of 100 African Americans ages 18 and older, 100 Hispanic Americans ages 18 and older and 300 Americans ages 18 and older with type 2 diabetes. The surveys were conducted online by Wedbush Decision Metrics from March 12-16, 2010. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population over age 18.

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Posted by on April 30, 2010 in Uncategorized


How Tweeting and Friending Can Benefit Doctor-Patient Communication

Should you Facebook friend your doctor? A recent Boston Globe article explores the answer to this question, largely as an ethical information-sharing issue. But patients friending doctors and vice versa is more than a moral dilemma—it’s a public relations one.

Seeing as how I’m a millennial and a big proponent of Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, instant messaging, or any other online information-sharing media, you may think I’d be in favor of unchecked doctor-patient friending. Well, you’d be wrong. I don’t want to see photos of my doctor’s Wednesday night bowling league any more than I want her to see my status updates about how much I’m dreading going to the doctor’s. Imagine posting a WebMD link about some affliction you’ve self-diagnosed yourself with only to have your physician comment to tell you to book an appointment? And what if your doctor writes a status about how much they dislike their job or organization. Some things are just better left unshared.

Sticking with the Facebook example, doctors who want to connect with patients on the 400 million-strong social networking site can do so in a more professional manner by creating a fan page or a separate professional page. This allows for some interaction without crossing any personal boundaries. Physicians can share health tips, any news about their practice or department, and field general health questions. This allows patients who want to feel more connected with their doctor to keep in touch without stumbling into a social gray area.
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Posted by on April 29, 2010 in Uncategorized


Ranbaxy and Cipla jostle in the Indian Markets

India’s largest pharmaceutical company by revenue, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, has launched an initiative to reach out to smaller towns and villages and invest more in research with an eye on becoming the leader in the generic drugs market in the next two years. Ranbaxy chief executive and managing director Atul Sobti says that with the new initiative, the firm expects to reach a minimum 350,000 doctors by 2012, up from the current 200,000.

The company has already hired nearly 1,500 marketing personnel since the strategy, named Viraat, was kicked off in January—taking its workforce to 4,300. Ranbaxy is aiming to overtake Cipla Ltd as the market leader.Two-thirds of the new hires are field personnel, who will spread out into towns and rural areas to push the company’s over-the-counter and prescription drugs. The rest have been hired at managerial levels.

On the other hand, Cipla has tied up with the Manipal Group-promoted Stempeutics Research to market stem cell-based therapies. Cipla will fund Rs 50 crore within the next two years to conduct clinical trials and to further develop two products being worked on by Stempeutics.

Ranbaxy’s current market share is 4.9% against Cipla’s 5.4%, according ORG IMS. In order to overtake Cipla in the market, Ranbaxy is streamlining its medical communication efforts. Separate strategies are being considered for metros and for towns. If they look deeper, they would also realize that it is important to have a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to reach the high-value prescribers in metros and cities. Even within this strategy, content and channels would have to be fine-tuned depending on the particular molecule/ product/therapeutic class being targeted.

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Posted by on April 28, 2010 in Business


GSK India’s plans for 2010

in the first quarter of 2010, GSK’s sales rose by 19% to Rs547 crore over the year-ago period, ahead of the drug market growth of 14-15%. Its growth was mainly due to higher volumes and a richer product mix, with price playing a negligible role, according to the company. Sales of vaccines rose by around 48% during the quarter. GSK offers a range of vaccines, for the prevention of hepatitis A, hepatitis B, invasive disease caused by H, influenzae, chickenpox, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and others.

The drug maker is driving growth through new offerings, with five new products slated for a 2010 launch. To cover the market with these new products, GSK hired 200 people in 2009 and plans to add 250 more in 2010. A concerted sales push with the help of an expanded field force could make a difference.

UK drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, like many other pharmaceutical majors, is looking to increase its presence in the fast-growing Indian market. “We are looking for acquisitions in India which are attractive to us. We are a very financially strong company,” GSK chief executive Andrew Witty told reporters at Nashik, India.Witty’s been talking deals (he’s in favor of them) and drug prices (they have to be flexible) and strategy (grow via deals and organically in poor and middle-income countries).

GSK-India has huge plans for the Indian market. But are their marketing strategies in tune with the changing media consumption patterns among Indian doctors and population? A conservative approach of maximizing field sales people without  having a long term outlook for marketing of newer molecules is just not going to yield the desired results.

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Posted by on April 28, 2010 in Uncategorized


Twitter in Health conversation

In some ways, the Internet’s evolution is akin to that of a particularly efficient virus: RSS feeds, Digg, Twitter, Google Buzz. Now the next step appears to have arrived, courtesy of the ad agencies of the world. Imagine a Twitter feed tailored to specific therapy areas, packaged in a creative, engaging design. That’s what digital firm Zemoga and inVentive’s Palio teamed up to create with their Health Tweeder, a part of their joint-venture Pixels and Pills blog; and what newly-formed Razorfish Health has in their Health Conversation.

The Health Tweeder and the Health Conversation are the fruits of long months of design and technical wizardry. But while their mechanisms are similar, their purposes differ.

Twitter tools and twitter accounts are wonderful way to build up a social conversation around specific therapy areas. Check out our effort for the Indian Rheumatology association on

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Posted by on April 28, 2010 in e-health, information, Web 2.0


What an intelligent ebook can do for you..

Eye-Tracking Tablets and the Promise of Text 2.0

The best thing about reading a book on a tablet (so far) is how closely it approximates reading a “real” book — which is why the Kindle’s screen is matte like paper rather than luminescent like a laptop. Some (not all) fear for the demise of real reading and writing, but it’s more likely we’re really at the leading edge of an innovation curve that could breathe new life into the written word.

For example: What if those written words were watching you reading them and making adjustments accordingly? Eye-tracking technology and processor-packed tablets promise to react, based on how you’re looking at text — where you pause, how you stare, where you stop reading altogether — in a friction-reducing implementation of the Observer Effect. The act of reading will change what you are reading.

We noticed something similar happening with televisions, which will soon be capable of adjusting playback based on how viewers are moving, and it looks like text is headed in the same direction. In the above video a team of scientists at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI in German) leash eye-tracking technology from the Swedish firm Tobii Technology to HTML, CSS and JavaScript code, creating what they call “Text 2.0.”

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Posted by on April 28, 2010 in Uncategorized


Evaluation of IP Based Technology for Supporting Self-Care

Problems Encountered by Patients and Caregivers When Using Self-Care Applications Background: Prior studies have shown that many patients are interested in Internet-based technology that enables them to control their own care. As a result, innovative eHealth services are evolving rapidly, including self-assessment tools and secure patient-caregiver email communication. It is interesting to explore how these technologies can be used for supporting self-care.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine user-centered criteria for successful application of Internet-based technology used in primary care for supporting self-care.

Methods: We conducted scenario-based tests combined with in-depth interviews among 14 caregivers and 14 patients/consumers to describe the use of various self-care applications and the accompanying user problems. We focused on the user-friendliness of the applications, the quality of care provided by the applications, and the implementation of the applications in practice.

Results: Problems with the user-friendliness of the self-care applications concerned inadequate navigation structures and search options and lack of feedback features. Patients want to retrieve health information with as little effort as possible; however, the navigation and search functionalities of the applications appeared incapable of handling patients’ health complaints efficiently.
Issues– Among caregivers, the lack of feedback and documentation possibilities caused inconvenience. Caregivers wanted to know how patients acted on their advice, but the applications did not offer an adequate feedback feature. Quality of care problems were mainly related to insufficient tailoring of information to patients’ needs and to efficiency problems.
Patients expected personalized advice to control their state of health, but the applications failed to deliver this. Language (semantics) also appeared as an obstacle to providing appropriate and useful self-care advice. Caregivers doubted the reliability of the computer-generated information and the efficiency and effectiveness of secure email consultation.
Legal or ethical issues with respect to possible misuse of email consultation also caused concerns. Implementation problems were mainly experienced by caregivers due to unclear policy on email consultation and the lack of training for email consultations.

Conclusions: Patients’ and caregivers’ expectations did not correspond with their experiences of the use of the Internet-based applications for self-care. Patients thought that the applications would support them in solving their health problems. Caregivers were more reserved about the applications because of medico-legal concerns about misuse. However, the applications failed to support self-care because eHealth is more than just a technological intervention. The design of the applications should include a way of thinking about how to deliver health care with the aid of technology. The most powerful application for self-care was secure email consultation, combined with a suitable triage mechanism to empower patients’ self-awareness. Future research should focus on the effectiveness of such Web-based triage mechanisms for medical complaints and on the development of interactive features to enhance patients’ self-care.

(J Med Internet Res 2008;10(2):e13)



Internet; technology; primary care; access to information; electronic patient-provider communication; self-care

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Posted by on April 27, 2010 in e-health, Web 2.0