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Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools

Novartis funds chronic urticaria app and patient community

My Hives has been developed, and will be run, by Exco InTouch

Novartis My Hives Exco InTouch chronic urticaria 

Novartis is funding a new mobile app and website that aims to create an online support community for patients with chronic urticaria, or hives.

TARGET My Hives wants to help suffers around the world connect with one another and was developed by Exco InTouch, which provides digital tools for patient engagement and data capture.

Although there is no mention of Novartis' involvement on the site, app or its social media profiles, the pharma firm - whose Xolair is approved in Europe as a treatment for chronic spontaneous urticaria - confirmed its involvement to PMLiVE.

A Novartis spokesperson said: “Novartis is supporting and funding the development of TARGET My Hives, a platform for chronic urticaria patients, which is owned and maintained by Exco InTouch.”

Meanwhile, Exco InTouch told PMLiVE that “the service is owned by us - we are the data controller”.

The TARGET My Hives app allows urticaria patients to follows others with similar symptoms and stay in control of their condition, and states its mission as to “connect everyone living with and impact by chronic urticaria”.

Meanwhile, for healthcare professionals, the app (currently only available for the iPhone, but with an Android version in the works) allows doctors who treat chronic urticaria to register their information to make it easier for patients to find them.

Beyond patients and doctors, Novartis and Exco InTouch also want to involve patient associations and medical societies within the new community.

Planned features for the app will allow patients to follow chronic urticaria associations and participate in real-world research in conjunction with their physician.

To explain the app further there is an extensive series of multi-language videos, which are available in Arabic, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese (with separate versions for Portugal and Brazil), Spanish, Turkish and English.

The campaign is also using Twitter (@Target_My_Hives) and Facebook as part of its social media efforts and tapped into Thunderclap earlier this week to amplify its message on social media. 

The 'crowdspeaking' platform sends a timed social media post from a campaign's supporters to create a wave of attention.

Thunderclap has been gaining attention from pharma over the last couple of years, and has been used by firms such as Boehringer Ingelheim in atrial fibrillation, Shire in mucopolysaccharide (MPS) diseases and Novartis itself in vision loss.

UPDATE 23/5/16: My Hives.com now notes "the website, mobile application and services were developed with funding and support from Novartis Pharma AG".

19th May 2016

From: Marketing

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