The Top 75: HealthEd Group

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A laser focus on patient education and a highly collaborative corporate culture have been key to HealthEd Group's success. Revenue increased 34% last year, rising to $20.4 million from $15.2 million in 2008.

“We're growing because...we just focus on the patient,” says founder, president and CEO Roy Broadfoot. “Pharma companies are really interested in that. We're an educational agency, not an ad agency. We help clients, patients and ourselves. It sounds a bit altruistic, and honestly it is a little bit.”

More than 15 years ago Broadfoot says he realized that people needed help in learning how to take better care of themselves, noting that healthcare is the patient. All those years ago, Stephanie Mazzeo-Caputo, currently SVP of organizational development, pointed out to Broadfoot that information is just one part of healthcare education.

Pharma industry challenges, including patent expirations, revenue decline and increased regulatory scrutiny, have clearly shifted the business. And Broadfoot believes patient management is now critical to pharma company success. By creating programs that improve treatment initiation, support adherence and enrich brand experience through patient advocacy, HealthEd Group is well positioned to continue to thrive.

HealthEd and HealthEd Encore, a sister agency launched in 2007 to manage conflicts, both won a number of new assignments. Clients include Lundbeck, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Apria Healthcare, Dey, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis, Genentech and the American Society for Hypertension.

Headcount was up from 94 in 2008 to 107 ending 2009. It's since grown to 121. Broadfoot is looking to hire 10 more immediately and another 20 or 30 this year. Office space has expanded to accommodate growth in both staff and facilities, including a recording and video production studio. New hires include Barbara Bochese, SVP operations; Claire Rufus, SVP digital delivery; Gene Fitzpatrick, executive producer; and strategy practice leaders Jeff Greene and Abel Rajan.

Sustaining the agency's culture, which Broadfoot describes as one of mutual respect, has been a priority. He says giving employees a stake in the company in 2008 was the best thing he's ever done.

“This company is all about the people who work here,” he explains. “The focus is to build an employee-owned company where everyone is valued and invested. You want to create an environment where people can succeed, see a future for themselves and grow. Patient, client, employees—if you can look after those people, you're going to be successful.”   

HealthEd Group has robust internal digital capability, including animation. Broadfoot notes that digital channels are very conducive to education because they offer high levels of interaction. “Education is just going to continue to grow because it's so needed,” he adds. “How can you grow it better than digitally? You can touch billions of lives through the internet.” 

Broadfoot says the agency is currently developing interactive, customized online programs to simulate one-on-one educational experiences. Pilot programs will launch in September. He explains: “The goal is to simulate a one-on-one personal interaction—to bring that virtually to patients [wherever they are] in their journey and have the health educator move them along. That's the ultimate goal.”
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