HEALTH

Diabetic patients: Technology’s useful to communicate with docs, as long as it’s free

BY Allison Cerra

SAN FRANCISCO Patients with diabetes may seek information from their physicians outside of scheduled office visits but are not willing to pay for such services, according to a new study presented at the American Osteopathic Association’s 115th Osteopathic Medical Conference and Exposition.

Among 300 patients with diabetes, the study authors noted, 42% communicated with their physicians by telephone outside of scheduled office visits and 13% used e-mail. However, 62% of patients said they would not pay to communicate with their physicians outside of scheduled office visits.

“Patients want some way to communicate with their physicians, such as by phone or pager, to ask questions about managing their diabetes or to share information about their condition, such as their blood sugar levels,” said study co-author Jay Shubrook, an AOA board-certified osteopathic family physician from Athens, Ohio. “They like the access, but they don’t want to pay for it.”

The study also found older respondents, who averaged between ages 51 years and 60 years, did not use Twitter or Facebook to communicate with their physician. What’s more, only 69% of respondents had Internet access at home. This could be because older adults do not find paying for the Internet a priority compared with their other expenses, including those related to other medical conditions, Shubrook said.

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HEALTH

Matrixx reports Q2 decline but hopes new campaign will boost business

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Matrixx Initiatives on Monday reported a decline of 17% in net sales to $21.3 million for the company’s second quarter ended Sept. 30. The decline, Matrixx president and CEO Bill Hemelt explained to analysts Tuesday morning, represented a course correction of sorts. The sales decline was “due to lower upfront buys by retailers,” Hemelt said. Last year, all of the hype around H1N1 drove retailers to heavily stock in cough-and-cold supplies. This year, that industry level has dropped to more historical levels, Hemelt suggested, particularly across the drug channel.

Hemelt shared with analysts the company’s new advertising campaign, which begins airing in earnest a week following the November elections. The new campaign features three iconic TV moms — "The Brady Bunch’s" Florence Henderson, "Family Ties’" Meredith Baxter and "Seinfeld’s" Estelle Harris — who make up the “Mom Squad” and save cold sufferers from various treatment myths, such as “freezing out” a cold or consuming onions to help relieve the cold.

“We believe our new creative will continue to differentiate our products from general symptom relief products and help increase consumer awareness,” Hemelt said. “All of these [initiatives] will be supported by strong retail marketing support that has already begun,” Hemelt added during his conference call with analysts.

 

Last week, Matrixx released a new national survey of U.S. adults that found the majority of Americans are misinformed about what causes the common cold, and how and when they should treat it. Nearly three-quarters of consumers (72%) believed there was not much they could do about a cold except mask the symptoms and wait it out. The top five myths about colds that pharmacists reported were most difficult to debunk:

  • Antibiotics can kill the germs that cause colds;
  • Changes in the weather can cause colds;
  • Getting wet and chilled can cause colds;
  • Sitting in a draft can cause colds; and
  • Avoiding changes in temperatures will help prevent colds.

 

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Strativa enters license, supply agreement with Sobi

BY Alaric DeArment

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. Strativa Pharmaceuticals is working with a Swedish drug maker to develop and commercialize a prescription vitamin supplement, Strativa said Tuesday.

 

The company said it had signed a license and supply agreement with Swedish Orphan Biovitrum, also known as Sobi, concerning European rights to Strativa’s Nascobal (cyanocobalamin), a vitamin B12 nasal spray.

 

 

The supplement is approved for treating vitamin B12 deficiency, designed as a once-weekly alternative to injections. Vitamin B12 deficiency usually results from pernicious anemia, a strict vegetarian diet and poor absorption of the nutrient resulting from such medical conditions as HIV infection, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and gastrectomy.

 

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