Emergency room physicians struggling to treat anti-coagulant overdoses got a new tool last year: an interactive app designed for use by doctors amid the frantic pace of the ER setting. The app, designed by MEI for CSL Behring’s warfarin reversal drug Kcentra, ranked among the agency’s flagship work during 2019 — and serves as a fine showcase for the breadth of its ability to accommodate client needs, according to EVP, account services Curtis Herrmann.

It wasn’t an easy lift. “For warfarin overdose, there’s a multitude of factors that goes into making the assessment and how to treat a patient, so we leveraged branching logic to walk ER doctors through a series of emergency patient cases,” Herrmann explains. “Our key differentiator is leveraging proprietary analytics to inform all of the initiatives that we design and execute for our clients.”

The app/analytics combination gave CSL Behring a better idea of how physicians make quick, life-or-death decisions in clinical settings, Herrmann adds. The company was then able to take those learnings and use them to inform other projects and initiatives.

Herrmann doesn’t believe too many other agencies could pull off such an endeavor, or at least not without tapping outside support.

“Nobody else is doing this the same way that we are,” he says, noting that MEI has no need to go outside its walls for analytics expertise.

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The agency is using those analytics tools to more effectively identify coveted opinion leaders. It does so by leveraging claims data to find the individuals who are impacting clinical care at the local and regional levels — as well as the individuals with whom they’re directly networked.

MEI added five new accounts in 2019, which spurred a 28% jump in revenue. The company generated $37 million, up from 2018’s take of $29 million. Head count similarly surged, with MEI bulking up its accounts, medical and digital teams to drive its total to 145 full-timers, up from 135 at the end of 2018.

According to Herrmann, 60% of the growth came from new clients. They included Kyowa Kirin (for Parkinson’s disease drug Nourianz) and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (for Sunosi, which treats daytime sleepiness from narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea).

“We were referred in both cases. We were able to step in because our competitors were struggling to deliver,” Herrmann notes. “At Kyowa Kirin we were brought in through a key opinion leader with whom our medical team had a relationship.”

He believes MEI finds itself on the receiving end of such referrals owing to its reputation as an analytics whisperer of sorts, able to instruct clients on how to make the most of the technology and thinking. This may take on greater significance as the coronavirus pandemic progresses.

“There’s a big difference between an awareness campaign and changing clinician behavior,” Herrmann explains. “We try to map out solutions that are ultimately intended to change behavior, with the primary goal of improving critical care while meeting the brand’s objectives. Not everyone can do that.”

The best marketing we saw in 2019…

Novartis and Synapse developed communications about managing immunosuppressed patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was critical information that demonstrated a true commitment to patient lives. — Curtis Herrmann