MLR in 240 seconds? Here’s how we did it.

Florence, Italy. 3:02 PM.

“And… we’re live!” Garrett announced.

Four months of careful planning had come down to this. Now Garrett Schlein, Community Manager at Greater Than One, had kicked off the first Facebook live chat in health care.

The little blue globe icon suddenly lit up with a red “1,” indicating a question from the audience. A woman had posted to the Facebook page, asking about the stages of congestive heart failure. The world-renowned cardiologist sitting to Garrett’s right answered the question. The doctor’s thoughtfulness and warmth were evident as his words were posted as a reply to the woman, signed with his name. Then, that universal sign of approval — a thumbs-up “Like.” Success!

Total time from question to answer, including regulatory review: 3 minutes, 42 seconds.

It’s happening, Garrett thought. This could be huge.

He refreshed the page. The little blue globe sparkled with 4(!) new notifications. Four questions about heart failure, coming from all over the world, that needed answers in real time.

Health care had just gone live.

The growing role of real time

What had brought Garrett to Florence was our desire to do something truly unprecedented.

“Live” is a concept far removed from health care marketing, with its mandatory legal review and extensive regulatory guidance. Yet the nature of digital communication is increasingly real-time. Upstart apps like Periscope and new experiences like Facebook Live have transformed smartphones into broadcasting devices. Well-known brands, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have experimented with live broadcasts, garnering many thousands of engagements.

But health care? The barriers to live engagement seemed so large as to be insurmountable. But as it turned out, with careful planning and an innovative live-review process, we were able to create a truly engaging experience on par with those of brands in other verticals.

We partnered with Keep it Pumping, already one of the most successful global omnichannel health care campaigns in history, to launch another groundbreaking project: health care’s first-ever live Facebook chat. To support it, we built a system that streamlined the review cycle to the point that it was a truly “live” experience for participants.

How we built the new review process

Regulatory reviews are a fixture of health care marketing. Every piece of communication that goes public must first be extensively studied by teams of legal and medical professionals using a set of criteria as strict as it is all-encompassing. It isn’t uncommon for reviews to take weeks, or even months.

But lengthy delays between question and response wouldn’t do for the live panel Q&A our social media team was engineering. To create a truly “live” experience, we needed to compress the review period to minutes, not weeks.

Enter “the Hub.” The Hub is a customized solution that streamlined the flow from content generation to review to posting, while ensuring that the compliance teams had complete visibility.

As questions came in from around the world, our social media team flowed them to the first module in a 3-part display. The panel members — cardiologist Dr. Andrew Lyon and patient advocate Julie Bartlett — answered the questions in a second module. The package in its entirety was reviewed by legal, medical and regulatory through an efficient process, and approved answers were posted as replies to questions.

The metrics revealed strong performance. Over the course of an hour, the team fielded a question every 3 minutes, far exceeding pre-event estimates. Nearly a million people saw the live chat kickoff post, and answer time was held to an average of 240 seconds.

But equally exciting was that our team had the chance to execute, with our partners, a truly unprecedented and groundbreaking social event.

“At the end of the day, this was all about sharing direct dialogue between the patient and caregiver audience — something that can be tough to get at in much of digital health communications,” Garrett said. “Because we were interacting with them live, we got a better understanding of how they view heart failure. Ultimately, this not only made for an incredible experience live, but it’s helped to influence how we will generate future content to better meet their needs.”

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