What you don’t know can’t hurt you – right? That’s the mantra that a lot of us adopt when it comes to our health, but one that can cause unnecessary suffering.
Designed with doctors, Healthily AI technology helps users answer health questions quickly, highlight (and rule out) possible conditions, and find medically-verified information and content. The technology is also flexible and integratable.
In 2018, Healthily teamed up with German pharmaceutical company Merck to raise awareness around their global campaign, Thyroid Aware. Using the Healthily AI model, our data scientists and medical team were able to create a specific thyroid condition checker, helping to inform users about the probability of having a thyroid disorder, and providing a way for Merck to engage with customers on a meaningful level.
Thyroid disease is a condition that regularly goes undiagnosed. Up to 60% of those suffering from thyroid disease are unaware they have the condition, with women being 5 to 8 times more likely than men to have thyroid issues. Left undiagnosed, it can contribute to the development of serious conditions like cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and infertility, while pregnant women with undiagnosed hypothyroidism have an increased risk of miscarriage, pre-term delivery and severe developmental problems in children.
Professor Maureen Baker, Chief Medical Officer at Healthily, explains how and why the campaign worked. “This campaign has shown that people often suspect what might be wrong with them, and just need a nudge to investigate it further. The advantage of creating condition checkers is that we can be much more focused. Ruling a condition out is easier than spotting a condition from an array of random symptoms,” she says.
The tool was also able to warn people of possible related conditions like:
The type of data gathered can be used by researchers to discover early indicators and differences across age, genders, and regions of a particular condition.
In the Merck campaign, 72% of respondents were made up of the target audience of 20-40 year-olds, and over 90% of users were women.
More than half of the participants (53%) noted that they were gaining weight unintentionally, while others talked about hair loss, feeling tired, dry skin, and feeling their heart beating – all common symptoms of thyroid disease.
Healthily data and insights are now being used as a foundation for scientific research. For example, Imperial College London has published a peer-reviewed paper in the Lancet based on Healthily COVID data which shows distinct differences in Covid symptoms across regions.
The digital-first approach used with Merck has demonstrated how to raise campaign awareness, position a company at the start of a consumer’s journey and stay on the right side of pharmaceutical regulations.
The condition checker concept has also provided a valuable way for Merck to engage with potential customers without breaking regulatory guidelines on advertising prescription drugs. These restrict pharmaceutical companies in every country except the United States and New Zealand.
Condition checkers allow pharmaceutical companies to get involved in the consumer value chain, rather than relying on traditional product marketing to healthcare professionals.
Healthily is now actively working with other pharmaceutical companies and recently delivered a symptom checker for US retail giant Walmart to help customers understand whether they’re more likely to have cold, flu or COVID-19.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.