Tag Archive for: POLs

WEGO Health: Helping Others and Transforming Healthcare

WEGO Health:

100k+ Patient Advocates, Influencers & Experts –

Helping Others and Transforming Healthcare

Elevating the patient voice

With a mission-driven purpose, WEGO Health has supported its Patient Leader network’s advocacy efforts for over 10 years now. With more than 100k patient advocates, influencers and experts within its network, the company gives its members a communal place to elevate their voices.

Members of the network are provided educational resources, leader-to-leader connections, speaking engagements, rewards for paid projects, and community recognition through the annual WEGO Health Awards.

Not only can WEGO Health Patient Leaders connect with each other and tap into patient power, but members can also connect and collaborate with healthcare companies of all types across the entire industry. This gives the network a real chance at transforming healthcare from the inside out – and in a variety of ways

 

Connecting with healthcare companies across the industry

Take for example a market research company looking to uncover insights from a target condition area. WEGO Health’s Patient Leader network can recruit participants that not only meet the research criteria, but it can also identify, qualify and recruit those that have a vast understanding of the condition and a broad online reach.

Reaching influential Patient Leaders through an otherwise private network is what draws the most sincere and authentic findings for these types of research projects. WEGO Health conducted a study among 433 patients across seven conditions and found that 75% of respondents share through private means, such as member-only groups, private phone calls, emails and Facebook messaging.

There are many more use cases where Patient Leaders and healthcare companies have collaborated, to make a true impact on improving the healthcare consumer experience:

  • Product design and development
  • Usability testing
  • Online community building
  • Speaking engagements
  • Clinical trial recruitment
  • App testing
  • Social media campaigns
  • Influencer marketing
  • Patient advisory board
  • Health data tracking
  • Content creation

 

Quality of vetted WEGO Health Patient Leaders

The quality of Patient Leaders is vastly more skilled and knowledgeable than the average patient. They are keen on navigating the healthcare system and can speak on behalf of their online patient communities. Patients tell the “what” whereas Patient Leaders tell the “why” and “how.”

A typical Patient Leader in the WEGO Health network reaches an average of 15k people monthly per member. More stats on WEGO Health’s Patient Leader network:

  • 150+ distinct health conditions and topics covered
  • Members average 5-6 different online health communities and social channels
  • 74% are members of multiple online health communities
  • Members are 5x more likely to contribute daily
  • 82% agree: “I go online to raise awareness of health issues”

 

Collaborating with healthcare companies large and small

WEGO Health offers healthcare companies the chance to connect with its Patient Leader network through both their full-service and self-service offerings:

  • Full-service: WEGO Health’s Solutions team offers end-to-end project management for pharmaceutical companies. Projects cover market research and influencer marketing tactics.
  • Self-service: WEGO Health Experts is the first digital matching platform that provides healthcare companies on-demand access to a diverse network of vetted freelance Patient Experts. Patient Experts are especially unique because they have online influence, professional skills and patient experience.

When healthcare companies collaborate with Patient Leaders and tap into patient power, the results can be profound.

Through WEGO Health, companies can connect with a trusted network of over 100k Patient Experts, leaders, influencers and advocates with patient power: broad online reach and deep understanding of healthcare consumerism.

 

About WEGO Health

WEGO Health is a mission-driven company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills and insights of patient leaders. They are the world’s largest network of patient leaders, working across virtually all health conditions and topics.

WEGO Health’s network collaborates with pharmaceutical companies, startups, life sciences companies, non-profits, agencies, government and all types of organizations across healthcare. WEGO Health offers enterprise and on-demand solutions that allow organizations to leverage patient experience and expertise in the design, development and promotion of their products and services.

Patient Advocacy – Views and Opinions at #ASH15

Twenty thousand people congregated in Orlando Dec 5th-8th for the annual American Society of Hematology meeting. A good number of them were patient advocates, from organizations all around the world. ASH did recognize these organizations and did give them a designated space on the exhibit floor, but did not give them free entry to the poster sessions, for instance, a practice that was criticized by some.

The Advocacy – Industry Relationship

The buzz at the meeting was that industry was becoming more and more amenable to partnering with these advocacy groups and to committing to try to understand the patient experience. The lunches and dinners and panel discussions that I attended were full of patient advocates who were conversing with the executives from pharmaceutical companies, answering their questions and themselves posing questions about the role of the patient in corporate decisions and strategy. At the Takeda Oncology Patient Advocate and Industry panel discussion, Fatima Scipione, Senior Director, Patient Advocacy for Takeda stated with conviction, “Patient impact is in everything we do.” Gail Sperling, Senior Manager, Information Resource Center at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, followed through with this concept by adding, “Pharma really values the patient voice because they realize how important it is.”

At the Genentech dinner talk, industry and executives discusses how collaboration between advocates and industry leaders benefits everyone. They talked about a patient-designed clinical trial that they had worked on and explained that how having patients participating from the outset really helped the overall trial outcomes.

Will this continue? Will it evolve? Hopefully it will and hopefully it will result in a clearer understanding by industry and providers of the patient’s crucial role in his own healthcare. There was a comment at the Takeda Patient Advocacy and Industry panel discussion that struck me –  “The relationship between patient advocacy and industry should be genuine and sustainable”. Let’s hope that this becomes the case.

How Can We Reach More Patients?

The patient advocates that attend ASH and other “Patients Included” medical meetings are extremely sophisticated in their knowledge of medical information and social media. They are confident individuals that are extremely web-savvy. They are members of various organizations and support groups for patients, and they have a “voice” online that is strong and respected. Other patients who are online listen to these POLs (Patient Opinion Leaders) and pay attention to what they say. And that is wonderful and so very helpful for them.

My question is this – How can patient advocacy organizations and POLs reach the patients that are NOT online? How can we go to patients that are not as tech-savvy or web-savvy and offer to help them find information about their illness, find help in support groups and get, perhaps, better care for themselves?

These patients would be the ones that are NOT being treated by a major cancer center. Nor would they belong to a patient community or support group. How can we reach them and introduce them to the strong online voices that we have in the patient advocacy community? Perhaps the older patients do not go online and are not savvy with social media or online patient support groups, but someone in their family surely is – their spouse, their children?

Should we reach out to families everywhere to ask them to advocate for their loved ones with cancer? Should we send out fliers to senior centers? Go through community organizations? All of the above? I don’t quite know the answer but I really would like to reach these patients.