The Top 75: HealthEd Group

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Clark, NJ-headquartered HealthEd Group had another great year. Revenue was up about 28% to $26.1 million. Business expanded across a range of new clients and categories. New offerings were announced, and a wealth of senior leaders joined the agency, including Mike Brzozowski (formerly of Draftfcb) in the newly created position of chief strategy officer.
“Patients are increasingly driving healthcare decisions,” Brzozowski says. “Education is crucial. Our mantra is about engaging experience and active instruction. Too much pharma marketing is about passive delivery of information—even in digital formats.”
Managing director Sonja “Sunny” Foster-Storch and chief technology officer Raffaele Piemonte also joined last year. Veteran Jill Balderson was named MP, HealthEd On Demand, a new company that delivers web-based customized educational health programs at point of care that was announced in 2010 and launched this year. Susan Collins, SVP, health education research and development, has assumed responsibility for, an online community for health educators and HCPs that also launched this year.
“Both HealthEd On Demand and are digitally based and form a big foundation of where we're going from a digital perspective as a company,” Brzozowski explains.
HealthEd On Demand pilots are being developed now. Brzozowski says both clients and employees are excited and energized by the new work.
More than two-thirds of HealthEd's business is derived from digital and consumer/patient education (evenly split). The agency is investing heavily in educational technology and design and leveraging educational techniques across all digital channels.
“We recognize the power of digital,” Brzozowski says. “We're educators at heart. It's crucial for people to learn by doing. Much of what we're doing from content perspective is focused on helping people learn for themselves and acquire skills they need to manage their health. The days of blockbuster drugs and DTC are clearly waning. People get very jaded by a lot of fair balance messaging. Pharma companies understand how critical education is. Managed care understands the power of education. We're well posed to take advantage of these big trends.”
HealthEd pulled in 15 wins last year, nine of which were AOR assignments. Highlights included creating a “major meal planning tool” that features game elements for Amylin's Symlin (diabetes).
AOR wins included Novartis' transplant franchise and Genentech's Xeloda (oral chemotherapy). Work with Merck expanded to new website materials and educational materials for Saphris (dual indication of schizophrenia and bipolar), and client Daiichi Sankyo awarded all RM programs and ads for its hypertension product portfolio. Clients Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Lilly and Lundbeck also awarded new business. New project relationships began with GlaxoSmithKline, Questor, Johnson & Johnson, Dey and Sanofi.
Headcount was up from 105 in 2009 to 136 last year. Barbara Haimowitz, previously at WebMD, joined this year as VP of analytics. The agency is recruiting additional analytics and digital talent.
Brzozowski's outlook is good for 2011. He notes new learning tools are launching for several clients, and the agency is building relationships in nutrition and other categories outside pharma.
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