Examples of Integrated B2B Marketing in Digital Health

Digital health investments continues to grow. Funding reached an impressive $8.1B in 2018, an increase of 42% from 2017 according to a Rock Health year end report with average deal size at $21.9M.

While that is the case, what is particularly interesting is the new wave of partnerships involving traditional health care incumbents and digital health disruptors across the entire B2B2C health ecosystem.  This makes sense considering the time to market for digital health disruptors (new entrants) to launch, go to market and prove clinical validation. However it’s not always new entrants looking to tap into a large customer base (ie access to Insurance members), sometimes it is the opposite – incumbents (particularly Big Pharma) looking to tap into digital health subscribers and a formidable new marketing channel.

Below are three examples of such partnerships which essentially are integrated product marketing plays designed to tap into large consumer segments.

  1. Castlight Health (Digital Health Disruptor) and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (Insurer).  
    • According to this press release, Castlight Health and Anthem developed Engage which is an information portal for insurance members. First and foremost, it offers access to information on all of the doctors and hospitals  in a member’s network. In the offering is online guidance and support on health  care questions, after-hours health care support and advice on out of pocket costs for lab tests, procedures and prescription drugs. Engage launched in 2018 to Anthem’s ASO accounts (self insured large accounts) and already has over 20 large employers on the platform.
  2. American Well (Digital Health Disruptor) and Philips (Medical Devices)
    • Philips is leveraging American Well’s expertise in telehealth to offer consults to it’s product users. According to this press release, the relationship now in progress starts with offering the telehealth consults directly on Philips Avent uGrow parenting app which provides parents advice on monitoring their baby’s development for more than 12 million subscribers. Available on both ios and and android devices, a key feature of the partnership with Philips uGrow is letting parents share data  and receive personalized advice from/to healthcare professionals such as a pediatrician via American Well online or via mobile phone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  3. 23andMe (Biotech Disruptor) and GlaxoSmithKline (Pharma)
    • Genetics-testing company 23andMe partnered with pharma company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to use subscribers DNA data to develop medical treatments according to this press releaseUnder the deal, GSK and 23andMe enters into a four-year collaboration under which GSK will become 23andMe’s exclusive collaborator for drug target discovery programs. The companies will use 23andMe’s database of more than 5 million customer genetics data to explore drug discovery and targets for development.

GSK diversifies revenue with Consumer Health division

According to the FT, GSK bought out Novartis 36.5% stake in their consumer health joint venture partnership for $13B. That move brings to GSK – sole ownership of products such as OTC tooth paste Sensodyne while enabling GSK to strengthen its consumer health division within its three main revenue drivers.

GSK’s consumer health division make up approximately 25% of sales while the Pharma drug discovery arm make up 50% of sales. The other 25% of sales comes from vaccines.

The company was originally set to acquire Pfizer’s Consumer Health arm for a similar price in a diversification strategy that would have given it the OTC brand – Advil.

Pfizer’s consumer health arm remains on sale.

CVS Health and Aetna

We have all heard the news by now of the Aetna and CVS Health $69B merger. What remains to be seen is the disruptive element. It’s business as usual. Or perhaps – economy of scale?

There was already a tie up as far back as 8 years ago. According to a 2010 WSJ article, Aetna contracted out long-term administration of its pharmacy-benefit business to CVS Caremark Corp in a 12-year agreement that offered prescription-drug discounts to some 10 million members.

As part of the arrangement for that deal, Aetna transferred 800 of its own PBM employees to CVS Caremark and retained 1,000 PBM employees. For such a tightly integrated deal, and the present day opportunity in drug costs, it was only a matter of time that the two companies merged.

Other opportunities in the merger is the ability for narrow networks in the benefit design. CVS minute clinics offering expanded/concierge options to Aetna self insured customers (large employers).

Uber launches UberHealth

Uber is going into healthcare  and for them that means transporting patient back to their homes from the hospital. They are going after the “missed appointments” market.

Regarding their B2B business model, according to TechCrunch, Uber Health charges  healthcare organization customers only for the cost of individual rides, which are at par with what those rides would cost via the consumer app. Access to a dashboard and the reporting tools are included free for the health care organization.

Apparently, Uber there are already over 100 healthcare organizations on the platform. As the company has an API for providers to build the service into their existing patient management software, it opens up opportunities for integrated digital health ecosystem partnerships with other firms.