Both Commodicast and Patient Marketing Group (see page 41) are involved in direct to consumer educational marketing. The difference between the two, says Commodicast’s Alan Reicheg, is that in Commodicast’s consumer centric model, the patient reaches out for information specifically targeted to him as an individual.

He compares it to the travel industry. Ten years ago almost everyone booked flights by calling a travel agent. Now, in booking flights on the Internet, consumers must choose between a dizzying array of search engines and discount websites. But websites like Travelocity personalize the flow of information with where you travel, where you like to stay, and the kinds vacations you like to take. It’s the same with health information. The technology that tracked spending patterns to predict what customers would default on their credit cards can now monitor the progress of a patient with diabetes.

Commodicast takes the website’s patient level data and does data mining to help the website — and its advertisers — motivate patients to improve their health.

A newly diagnosed diabetic, for instance, needs a different set of facts from the 20-year diabetic. Commodicast wants to work with medical websites to keep the frustration factor down by funneling just the right information to each patient.

As it stands now, diabetes patients can be overwhelmed with the information available on the web. Says Reicheg: “So much information is almost a liability.”

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