Finding Better Health in the Numbers

Long undervalued in healthcare, machine learning has the potential to add exponential value to the ecosystem. In a sponsored podcast, Larry Dobrow, MM+M’s executive editor, and Chris Paquette, cofounder and CEO of DeepIntent, discussed how data can measurably help mend our fractured healthcare system and improve patient lives.

With regulatory issues and multiple barriers to entry, privacy issues have always presented challenges to marketers. However, information mining has become more accessible to developers as new interoperability rules have emerged and patients are starting to understand the value of having their data pulled in a privacy-safe way. “Ultimately, extracting insights has helped provide better patient outcomes and care,” said Paquette.

Data is “moving closer and closer to the edge,” explained Paquette. This means that it no longer resides merely within the EHR system, but exists on a patient’s smartphone as “portable datasets.” As a result, permissions are now able to be aggregated and analyzed by companies such as DeepIntent, which then connects marketers with patients and providers across every device in a privacy-safe way. One of the most important aspects of this connection, according to Paquette, is the opportunity for marketers to support the patient provider relationship “by arming the patient with knowledge before they go in to see a provider. When they are better informed, they have better conversations which builds trust — a critical component to any relationship.”

Seeking to better understand how they could “measurably improve patient lives,” DeepIntent surveyed patients to better understand their perceptions of pharmaceutical advertising. Their research found that three-quarters of respondents believed more lives could be saved if patients were better informed about their treatment options.

“What was also interesting was that only 30% of those patients felt that they were informed beforehand,” noted Paquette. “When we asked how relevant the current advertising they were seeing from pharma was, only 35% of them said that they found it helpful.”

Paquette mentioned the commercials that respondents saw on television were typically ads for conditions that weren’t relevant to them. Compare that to the power of digital and programmatic, where ads can be more targeted. “There’s a real opportunity to help improve the relevance and resonance of the messaging and creative someone is putting out there,” he said. 

A separate research study conducted by DeepIntent found that hitting the right audience often factors into a patient’s prescription choices. This seems intuitive, but it was agreed that serving ads to the right audience in the right place at the right time is harder than it sounds.

“No one is able to use one-to-one marketing due to HIPAA. You can’t just take patient data and move it into the advertising ecosystem — that would be a privacy violation,” noted Paquette. “What we’ve done is build several tools that centralize data and identities in a privacy-safe way, which we have found is tripling efficiencies and improving lives.”

By enabling healthcare marketers to run data-driven programmatic campaigns from end-to-end, DeepIntent has helped do away with inefficiencies, Paquette noted. Typical media plans involve multiple partners, including programmatic and measurement vendors, all of whom have their own definition of who the right audience for a product is. Mining data offers a more precise form of delivering ads, which retroactively “improves the speed and performance of ad dollars,” he said.

It is not far-fetched, as both Paquette and Dobrow noted, to say that there is a revolution going on regarding the way data is being used for targeting and measuring campaigns. “With real-time optimization accelerating knowledge around what is and isn’t working, patient outcomes improve,” said Paquette in closing. “Ultimately we want to build tools that help publishers and advertisers make better decisions about getting their messages out to help the entire ecosystem improve results.”