Star Healthcare Eases Communication Between Brands, Patients

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labtest.jpgADOTAS – Omnicom Group’s Star Marketing network recently created a new healthcare-marking service – Star Healthcare. ADOTAS sat down with Star Healthcare’s president, Maryann Kuzel, to get the scoop.

The network has been going strong since January, but it didn’t launch a push into the public eye until recently. Kuzel (who has spent the majority of her career in pharmaceutical marketing, but also has a degree in chemical engineering just in case) has big plans for the network: it’s designed to help patients on their journey from their first symptom to life-long treatment.

“For someone who’s diagnosed with diabetes or high cholesterol, they need to commit to a lifetime of treatment to keep the condition under control,” Kuzel said. “Unfortunately, only 50% of patients stay on medication for a year, never mind a lifetime.”

That’s where Star Healthcare comes in. “We combine traditional and new media to support patients through their entire process — and make sure they stay in the process,” Kuzel explained. “These days, consumers are more empowered than ever. They want to take control of their own health but they also want the safety net and help of doctors and the medical establishment.”

Kuzel said Star saw a gap in the marketplace – the new patient reality wasn’t being served properly. “We’re enabling patients to engage in multimedia because that is what they want – through customizable programs that involve everything from social networks and mobile phone applications to viral emails and interactive learning campaigns with games. One in three Americans turns to social networking to manage their health – and we think that will only increase.”

Star’s charter clients are Roche Diagnostics and Spear Pharmaceuticals (two other companies are on board as well, but their names couldn’t be revealed). Star’s clients – who want to dive into the multimedia world – will no longer have to hire 14 plus agencies to cover the touchpoints Star’s network delivers, Kuzel explained. (The network draws on resources from Omnicom’s robust stable of agencies, including Javelin Direct, Critical Mass, Innovyx, SigmaWorks Group, ECI, OMD Digital, OMG Direct and Optima direct).

While brands can customize how/when they choose to interact with their patients, Kuzel stressed the relationship component of Star’s network. “Our model focuses on relationship management,” she said. “We have a Patient Advocate and a Client Champion – the advocate helps the patient learn what they need to now and down the road while the champion acts as the patient’s voice and as a point of accountability” in the web of relationship marketing agencies.

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