The Internet Is A Medical Device.  Why Aren’t We Treating It Like One?

BY: John Brownlee, CEO, Vidscrip

You’re having a kidney transplant.  It’s a scary journey, and access to the specialists treating you is critical to your health outcome. That’s why your doctor used Vidscrip to make a series of videos that help you manage your surgical journey (yes, we have a customer – a globally recognized transplant center – who is doing this).  

Now it’s the night before surgery. You receive a text message with a link to a video called, “Preparing For Tomorrow’s Surgery”. You tap on the link, but nothing happens. What you don’t realize is a company paid your internet service provider (ISP) to “throttle” video streamed by services other than theirs. What should have been a reassuring and helpful online encounter with your care team has now increased your anxiety at just the wrong time.

That is the type of looming, real-world consequence we face with the recent repeal of the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules. Just one small example of how lives are going to be impacted by this misguided decision.

With a quick internet search you can learn of myriad ways the internet is used to facilitate health, and healthcare. From tele-stroke programs that connect specialists to remote patients, to online patient communities, to video-based health education, the internet is the most used “medical device” in the world.

By repealing Net Neutrality our government is playing a dangerous game with the internet. Telecom companies and their lobbyists have successfully convinced some lawmakers that access to information and services should be controlled by them, not by consumers and innovators.

At Vidscrip we’ve chosen to take a stand. We urge Minnesota’s leaders from both parties, at the state and federal levels, to work together to protect the internet just like you’ve worked together to protect and grow the medical device industry here in Minnesota. Make no mistake, the internet is the most important medical device we have. Let’s start treating it that way.

CEO, John Brownlee featured in TECHdotMN’s “This is How I Work” series

Recently, our CEO, John Brownlee, had the opportunity to sit down with the folks at TECHdotMN to be featured in their “This is How I Work” series – a blog cataloging interviews with various technology leaders around the Twin Cities. Our takeaway? We’ll likely be switching to a full Google products company soon… 🙂

Check out his full interview here: https://tech.mn/news/2018/02/21/im-john-brownlee-cofounder-ceo-of-vidscrip-and-this-is-how-i-work/

What This Week’s Announcement from Harvard Medical School Means to Pharma and Device Marketers

BY: John Brownlee, CEO & co-founder, vidscrip

As a veteran of the industry, I’m sympathetic to the challenges medical device and pharmaceutical marketers face today. Between decreasing returns on direct-to-consumer advertising, sales reps being barred from seeing doctors, and the pressures extended to vendors by bundled payment initiatives, it is getting harder for them to tell their story. The industry is asking itself, “how do we thrive in a Value Based Care world?”

The answer clearly isn’t more TV ads, more reps, or adding marginally-differentiated products. Rather, the answer is right there in the question. It’s value. Providers need industry to offer solutions that align with their value-based goals:

  • Measurable improvement in population health outcomes (so they can take on more risk)
  • Increased patient satisfaction
  • Efficient provider workflows (reduce costs)

Entrepreneurs have responded with a myriad of “beyond the pill” solutions and services – connected inhalers and glucose monitors, predictive analytics, and medication reminder apps, to name just a few. But there’s also a more fundamental problem waiting to be addressed. That is, patients simply don’t feel like they understand what’s going on.

We know that patients forget up to 86% of what their doctor tells them during an appointment. How can we possibly expect improvements in outcomes, patient satisfaction, and efficiency when patients routinely arrive at – and leave – their doctor’s appointment bewildered?

IMG_3866_iphone6_spacegrey_portraitHarvard Medical School announced this week that it’s taking on this challenge by having its faculty record answers to common patient questions using the vidscrip app. This will put the medical knowledge and expertise of Harvard Medical School faculty into brief videos that clinicians using vidscrip can share with their patients on the vidscrip platform.

The vidscrips created by Harvard Medical School faculty will be free for providers and patients to use, and sponsored by our industry partners.

“Providers need industry to offer solutions that align with their value-based goals”

By sponsoring a vidscrip program our industry partners will help their customers deliver on the value-based goals described above, they will also:

  • Improve access to customers by introducing HMS-authored population health programs for the vidscrip platform
  • Engage providers and patients with in-app messaging while they create and view vidscrips
  • Mine data to better understand what providers and patients are talking about

The engagement a vidscrip can deliver prior to an appointment, at the pharmacy counter, or after discharge from the hospital leads to patients who are connected to their care team and engaged in their own health – and we know that engaged patients have better health outcomes and cost less to treat.

It’s getting harder for industry to tell their story. But this week’s announcement by Harvard Medical School provides an opportunity for forward-thinking drug and device marketers to change the conversation by aligning their story with their customer’s value-based goals.

Weighing Sandwiches

BY: John Brownlee, CEO & co-founder, vidscrip

Those who know me know that my hero is Charles Lindbergh.  I love “Lucky Lindy” for two reasons.  One, he was incredibly brave.  Two, he prepared for his flights with amazing precision, even weighing the sandwiches he carried with him to determine how much fuel they would cost.  I’ve always dreamed of successfully blending those two characteristics in my own life (I’ll let you know if I ever get there).

We recently had a visitor to our office.  A mom, who five years ago received a diagnosis of brain cancer for her two-year old daughter.  As she described her family’s journey over the past five years, it hit me that this amazing woman sitting right in front of me possessed all of the characteristics of my famous hero.  This mom’s stoic bravery and expertise – which clearly put her on equal footing with her daughter’s care teams – are part of our inspiration to help patients take control.  

At vidscrip we’re investing heavily in patients, not just because they inspire us, but because the future of the healthcare system depends on them.  The shift toward Value Based Care and Population Health finally puts patients where they belong, at the center of their care team.  Patients are brave.  Patients have expertise.  It’s time for them to take their place in the driver’s seat.

So, to the patient/caregiver who “weighs sandwiches” each and every day: we see you there, flying your own little plane toward the horizon with amazing bravery and intellect.  We want you to know that you are our heroes, and we’re working to provide you with tools that will help you capture and share the expertise you need to complete your own mission, whatever that may be.