Sharecare’s quest to empower patients with digital healthcare control could be a data boon for pharma

Digital Patient Graphic
Sharecare founders Jeff Arnold and Dr. Oz have big plans to make their digital patient platform a one-stop healthcare management tool.

Sharecare, the personal healthcare platform launched by WebMD founder Jeff Arnold and TV medical show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, is ramping up—and taking brand partners in pharma with it.

Total investments in the company now top $300 million—with $100 million tallied in 2017 alone—and its new “personalized, frictionless and integrated” healthcare platform will debut Nov. 1. While the current platform already has 100 million registered individual users, Sharecare is also working to sign up even more people through health plans and employers, with 40 million already rolling in through those enterprise contracts, Arnold said recently at the Digital Pharma East conference.

And in a high-profile marketing move, the company recently joined the inaugural class of NBA jersey sponsors as the first sponsor for the Atlanta Hawks in conjunction with its launch of the Sharecare Movement to improve the health of Atlantans.

RELATED: New tool calculates true cost of mobile apps for pharma and healthcare

It’s all part of Sharecare’s big thinking in getting its platform to the masses. The company is working across the health industry with pharma, hospitals, insurers, PBMs, government agencies and others—as well as acquiring companies with specific healthcare skills—to create a one-stop digital platform that allows people to aggregate, manage and navigate their personal healthcare information seamlessly and in one place. It's building out its multi-function app, which can track sleep, fitness, diet, and weight, but can also perform more involved tasks like using voice recognition to determine stress, connecting to a user’s healthcare plan and answering medical questions.

Deals such as the one with the Hawks boost Sharecare's already hefty marketing power, which comes not only through Dr. Oz and his broad, mainstream audience appeal, but also via partners such as Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, Discovery Communications and Sony Pictures Television. Winfrey, for instance, headlined Sharecare’s summer event with the Hawaii Medical Service Association in Maui as part of the launch of the app.

RELATED: Want to make a pharma app people will actually use? Put yourself in patients’ shoes, consultant says

Sharecare specifically works with pharma companies to create custom marketing programs and content. While the company declined to name specific companies or brands it has worked with, it detailed several campaigns for FiercePharma. One campaign, for instance, educated rheumatoid arthritis patients about a branded treatment and resulted in almost 20% of those targeted visiting their doctor and discussing the brand. Half of those in-office visitors had used the brand’s competing rheumatoid arthritis product.

Another campaign sought to drive new brand prescriptions for an adult psoriasis drug. The targeted campaign resulted in “statistically significant” conversion rates, overdelivering by 80% of the initial contracted goal, Sharecare said.

Underpinning those efforts is one of the key offerings Sharecare has for pharma: data, and lots of it. Consumers who register to use Sharecare answer more than 100 questions when they join the platform; it's part of ShareCare’s Real Age test, which, when applied to 100 million registered users, is an immense database of health information. Sharecare can also do real-time profiling and behavioral tracking.

“Coming from WebMD, I’ve always thought pharma has an important role in peoples’ health. How do we show a user that a medication that they’re being prescribed is safe, how do we show it’s effective, how do we navigate them to price, and then how do we make it as convenient as possible?” Arnold said at Digital Pharma East. “We work with many companies today, and we hope to continue to be able to leverage all this data to get the right tools and the right educational opportunities at the right time to the right user.”