Saturday, October 2, 2010

ePatient Connections: A Patient's View of Interacting with Pharma

Lisa Emrich
Earlier this week, I traveled to Philadelphia to speak at and attend the 2010 ePatient Connections Conference. This was the 2nd year of the conference, organized by Kevin Kruse and Kru Research, bringing together lifescience companies, marketers, digital and healthcare companies, physicians and patients to discuss better ways to work together to "improve patient outcomes." 

IMG_5265I had submitted or pitched my own story to share at the conference many months ago and was pleased when Kevin Kruse invited me to give a special presentation.  I must admit that I felt some pride knowing that no company pushed to get me scheduled and that as an individual, I was given an equal opportunity to contribute.

IMG_5266As you can see from a few of these photos, my presentation focused on the interaction of pharma companies and patients online.  Engagement is a big buzz word right now and so I used that as a jumping off point.  As MS patients, we frequently see short-term projects come and go online.  Often these initiatives exist merely to provide leads for the companies.  I know that, you know that, we should all go ahead and admit it.  The companies want our contact information.  They ultimately want to sell us something.

Lisa Emrich

However, sometimes the projects will provide a good something good for somebody.  I know that many of my readers were sorely disappointed that I agreed to participate in the "HowIFightMS" unbranded initiative.  It was my hope that folks looking for real-life stories of people living with MS would find our videos and dig further to find our blogs.  I know it that did happen on occasion because I received emails from folks across the country in response to the project.  I was also thanked many times for creating the videos.  Made me feel good about it all.

Lisa EmrichMy talk included 20 slides and not nearly all of them were photographed.  I have included the ones which were in this post.  There are a few slides which I wish had been photographed during the talk.  If they were, they didn't make it onto the flickr stream from which these photos came.

Those slides included tidbits which became the popular soundbites and recommendations from my speech. Who knew that my words would even turn into soundbites... I didn't.

Some quotes from my talk:

"Stop selling and start supporting."

"Don't fear monger or condescend."

"Trust: Build it or destroy it - your choice."

"Abandon your patient or customer group and you destroy trust in the entire pharma industry."

"Listen, talk with me, be honest and transparent, stop trying to sell me, ask what I want and give me more than I expect."

"Do good for others and patients will notice; that's the best marketing of all."

Lisa Emrich
Do I Need You?

There is so much more to be shared regarding what I learned during the conference, but this is it for now.  The topic of empowered patients and the influence of ePatients online have been growing in recent years.  It is good that our voices are being represented at some of these health-related conferences. 

It was a great opportunity to connect with some influential patient leaders whom I follow online.  Fortunately, we'll have another chance to connect and discuss important topics in less than two weeks at BlogWorldExpo2010.   Las Vegas, here I come.  :)


  1. I looks to me like you did a wonderful job. AND you look marvelous! Good luck in Las Vegas.

  2. Thank you for your advocacy and Webster is right. You do look marvelous.

  3. Way to represent! I feel better knowing you are on our side!! Go for Dr. Oz show next or the Doctors. You are the perfect rep. for patient empowerment.

  4. Lisa, your presentation was fantastic. So many great takeaways. Most don't realize that patient communities, and pharma's involvement,goes way back. I also loved that patients are always smarter than the powers that be--no comments, no problem, setup a separate group run by the patients! Kudo's Lisa, you offered a unique message with an authentic voice.


  5. You tell 'em, Lisa! And dahling, you do look mahvelous!

  6. Kevin,

    Thanks so much for inviting me. I really did enjoy hearing so many points of view and seeing the many case studies and examples on stage. If audience members were able to learn something new (or have existing ideas confirmed), then it was worth standing up and sharing my own experiences and observations.

    Also the 20x20 (PechaKucha) format was an interesting challenge; I had fun doing it. Please let me know if there's anything else I can help with during the year. And thanks again for including me.


  7. Ladies,

    Thanks for the compliments. I try my best to represent our community well. I'm often very quiet, but once you get me talking I can say alot. :)

    I've got so many ideas bouncing around in my head. I need to find time to flesh them out on paper or here on the blog. Your feedback is always appreciated. More to come.

  8. It was great to meet you, Lisa. The pharma community can learn a lot from your advice! Thank you again for sharing it.