Remedy Health Media seeks to open a new communications channel: physician to patient

Broad-based print and digital publisher will tailor service to specific health conditions

Today’s health-information consumer has multiple channel options—magazines, cable stations and digital media ranging from email to dynamic websites. And these channels are sourced from for-profit publishers, health systems, pharmacy chains and, when permitted, the pharma industry itself. Now, Remedy Health Media (New York), the broad-based health media conglomerate that includes websites, mobile-device communications and print magazines, is adding a new source: email from the patient’s doctor’s office.

The new service, called Patient Health Services, is a partnership between Remedy Health, which generates the content and handles the IT infrastructure, and individual practices, who sign a HIPPA-compliant business administration agreement with Remedy. Thereafter, with a patient’s permission, doctors inform Remedy of a patient’s disease condition or therapeutic status, and a steady stream of messages begin to come from the doctor’s office to the patient.

Across its dozens of websites, general and condition-specific publications, and print, video and digital platforms, Remedy Health is already delivering health content to 25 million subscribers (it also claims 150 million individuals visit Remedy sites annually). The difference now, says Jim Curtis, chief revenue officer for the firm, is that patients pay attention to messages from their doctors. “We’ve demonstrated open rates of 45-55% for emails, high click-through rates, and a high degree of patient satisfaction with the content we publish.”

Pharma marketers participate in Remedy Health publications mostly by advertising; there are parts of the Remedy Health services that provide analytics back to advertisers or sponsors, says Curtis.

In its initial rollout, doctors will enroll patients and provide general patient details. In next phases of the rollout, PHS will be integrated with scrip-fulfillment data, expanding the aftercare to include refill reminders and the like. (Remedy Health already has Intelecare and MyRefillRx, two “white-labeled” reminder services used by several insurers and chain pharmacies, for reminder services.) “This is as much a practice-management tool for physician practices as it is a publishing platform for use,” says Curtis, noting that the quality of aftercare provided by physicians is becoming an important element of healthcare reform. Remedy Health already has over 500 physician practices signed up for PHS, representing thousands of individual physicians.