Heart Failure affects over 6 million people in the US alone, and its impact extends to loved ones, too. Our client, a Fortune 500 healthcare company, wanted to use social media to increase awareness of the condition. Through patient-centered research and close collaboration with the client’s Digital Center of Excellence, we uncovered a larger opportunity to take the client’s business “beyond the pill”, and holistically influence patient well-being, through a digital platform.
The Challenge: Raising Awareness of Heart Failure
In 2014, our client approached us with an idea they were exploring: How could we leverage social networks like Facebook to increase awareness of Heart Failure and deepen relationships with patients? Through patient-centered research, we discovered that users didn’t want to share medical information on existing social networks. They did, however, seek relevant, trustworthy information about diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, and new research. They also sought the chance to connect privately with others affected by Heart Failure. A clear opportunity emerged to create a secure, well-informed, well-managed online community.
The Opportunity: Helping Patients Live with Heart Failure
The enthusiasm of early users to access information and connect to each other led us to believe we could push the solution further than it’s original intent and create something that contributes to improving quality of life for people living with heart failure. Our task shifted to creating an effective, trustworthy social network that could deliver personalized information based on where the patient is in their journey—whether they’ve just been diagnosed, are currently experiencing an episode, or are managing their disease in maturity. In this process, we also discovered the opportunity to collect a much richer layer of data than what’s otherwise possible in the healthcare space, exposing opportunities to serve a second, physician audience and create new revenue streams.
Using Responsive, Patient-Centric Research
Beyond conducted light-lift, ongoing research with patients and caregivers, in order to work more quickly than in a traditional research phase. We conducted 30-minute patient interviews and used online surveys and early desirability testing to collect quantitative data and qualitative patient feedback. To find the ideal balance between HIPAA, FDA and PII compliance and community sharing, we launched a beta site with a control group of 80 users to evaluate what content they engaged with and how they interacted with each other, and we continued to analyze user data post-launch to validate product direction.
Discovering New Audiences & Markets
On the platform, we found patients were giving a much deeper picture of their experience than the version they shared with their doctors. This pointed to an opportunity to give doctors more insight into patients journeys and provide better, more personalized care. As broader audiences use the site, new market values continue to emerge, and we’re currently working with the client to validate partnerships and business models.