Lilly prescribes responsive site for health education on mobile
By Mark Hamstra
July 16, 2014
Responsive Web design is making it easier for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. to provide educational materials to its increasingly mobilized consumer base through its Lilly for Better Health site.
The company uses the site to distribute information around health topics in both video and digital-brochure formats. Having responsive Web design streamlines the approval process for the distribution of these materials because the information only has to go through channels once to ensure it meets regulatory standards.
“With the regulatory environment being what it is, it is a lot easier to use responsive design,” said Pauline T. Coderre, consultant for health education at Lilly. “With all of the approvals I need, if I can just go through that process once, it makes it much easier. I can just tell the reviewers that all the content will be the same.
“This has saved months and months of reviews. If I can shave three months off of review time, that is critical.”
The Web site, www.lillyforbetterhealth.com, offers nearly 100 non-product-branded health education resources in both English and Spanish, plus information on health-related topics, such as diabetes, depression, exercise and stress. The content includes links that can be shared via social media.
Increase in mobile
Mobile access to the Web site has increased 50 percent in the last year, Ms. Coderre said. Apple’s iPad accounts for 16 percent of all traffic to the site, and 68 percent of mobile traffic. The iPhone drives 4 percent of all traffic and 17 percent of all of the site’s mobile traffic.
“We had made a conscious effort to move to a Web-based platform, and that was our first step toward mobile optimization,” said Ms. Coderre. “Now that we are there, the question is how do we keep it up.”
Ms. Coderre said that about 75 percent of adults in the United States are consumers of online health information, and much of that consumption still occurs on desktop, despite the gains in mobile. Lilly conducts tests on three platforms for all its content distribution — desktop, tablet and smartphone.
“The older population, surprisingly enough, is picking up on mobile quickly,” Ms. Coderre said. “The Hispanic population is also on mobile quite a bit, and that is reflected in the Spanish-language site.”
Lilly decided that a responsively designed Web site would be better than an app for distributing health-education materials because so many high-quality apps for consumers already exist around diet, nutrition and health.
An echo chamber
In addition to the Web site, Lilly also seeks to distribute information through email newsletters and social media, including its YouTube and Facebook pages. The idea is to create an “echo chamber” so that the information is repeated through various channels and consumers are exposed to the information in multiple ways.
The site operates separately from the medical side of the business, which deals directly with the pharmaceutical products the company makes. Lilly for Better Health seeks to offer information about how patients and their families can cope with the illnesses they may be treating, such as diabetes or depression.
For example, the site includes a four-page “diabetes action plan” that users can fill out themselves to help them cope with their illness. It not only includes a reminder about taking medication as prescribed, but also asks patients to outline lifestyle changes they can implement around diet and exercise.
“We understand that our patients are people first, and we really care about people. They are not diseases walking around,” Ms. Coderre said. “This Web site is entirely centered on helping people do the things they need to do to live better lives.”
Ms. Coderre said Lilly for Better Health has taken the lead at the company in terms of technological advancements in consumer communications.
“We are the site that pushes the envelop in the company,” she said. “When we have success with something, then it gets shared with the rest of the company."
Mark Hamstra is content director at Mobile Marketer, New York.