VirSci Corporation

Pharmaceutical Marketing Best Practices | Privacy Best Practices | HIPAA Compliance Consulting & Training
Home | About Us | Contact Us


eHealth Best Practice Compliance Program

Let's face it. The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal are out to eat the collective lunches of pharmaceutical marketers! It's been a long time since a journalist referred to Rx pharmaceutical companies as the "ethical drug industry." While other industries are also suffering from ethical meltdown, the pharmaceutical industry - through PhRMA - is attempting to address one aspect of the issue with its new marketing code governing relationships with physicians and other healthcare professionals. What's also needed is to pay some attention to ethical guidelines for marketing to consumers, especially online consumer marketing. "On the Internet," as the saying goes, "nobody knows you're a dog." They also do not know you are ethical and, all things being equal, consumers will assume the worst. Why deal with it at all? Better to just stick with print and TV and play it safe. Your competitors may decide differently and learn from this session valuable tips for doing marketing right on the Net. Why shouldn't you do the same?


Internet Quack There are thousands of health Web sites on the Internet. What distinguishes yours from the rest?

Your visitors should know that you follow rigorous standards for quality and accountability.

VirSci's comprehensive eHealth Best Practice Compliance Program identifies the gaps between your current ehealth Web site design and practices and the prevailing industry standards for best practices in ehealth. The result is a remediation plan that takes into account client expectations, level of acceptable risk, and competitive intelligence to address changes in policies and procedures to meet the desired level of compliance with standards.

Consumers are concerned about the quality and reliability of health Web sites. A variety of organizations have developed quality guidelines for health Web sites.
  • According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey (November, 2000), 89% of health seekers on the Internet are concerned that a health Web site might sell or give away information about what they did online.

  • A 2000 study commissioned by the Internet Healthcare Coalition and performed by Cyber Dialogue found that only 14% of online health seekers have a "high level of trust" of Pharmaceutical company or product web sites.
Several organizations have developed ethical or quality guidelines for health Web sites, including

There are significant value-added benefits to third-party Web site accreditation offered by these organizations, including professional liability discounts, a sound risk management strategy, market differentiation, and possibly forestalling state and federal regulation.

Whether you plan to formally apply for accreditation and have your Web site independently reviewed, or just voluntarily comply with selected standards, the compliance process is rigorous. VirSci's eHealth Best Practice Compliance Program can ease you through the process and act as an independent auditor.

Compliance, whether voluntary or not, is rigorous. VirSci's eHealth Best Practice Compliance Program can ease the way.
For example, there are 53 specific standards URAC Standards and a complicated compliance formula involving both mandatory and non-mandatory Standards.

Compliance with the FTC's Fair Information Practice Principles requires careful alignment of policies with procedures. One U.S. Senator said, "“All Eli Lilly got was a slap on the wrist. Let's have some real enforcement.” You do not want to be the test case!

Before embarking on this process, you should consider the expertise and experience that VirSci has to offer.

John Mack, Principal Consultant for VirSci, founded and led the Internet Healthcare Coalition, where he was instrumental in the development of the eHealth Code of Ethics, which formed the basis of several Web accreditation programs.

Mr. Mack also served on URAC's Web Site Advisory Committee, which assisted URAC in the creation of its health Web Site Accreditation Standards. He is also a URAC consultant and has performed a number of health Web site accreditation reviews for URAC.

Mr. Mack is a health privacy expert and has often spoken on this topic (see Publications, Articles, and Presentations).


Program Components

Assessment and Gap Analysis

  • A comprehensive analysis of your Web site and policies to determine level of compliance with selected standards.
  • The VirSci team will conduct interviews and a "Cultural Gap Analysis" survey of key staff members and evaluate functions and policies in order to gain a thorough understanding of the current practices concerning information privacy and data security.

Remediation Plan

  • The plan takes into account client expectations, level of acceptable risk, and competitive intelligence to address changes in policies and procedures to meet the desired level of compliance with standards.
  • For clients wishing to apply for URAC accreditation - Assistance in assembling the application manual and help to streamline the application process by working closely with and guiding the person designated as the primary contact with URAC.

Training and Change Management

  • An executive-level workshop reviewing various Health Web site standards. Case examples are used to illustrate compliance issues and encourage discussion.
  • Charter development for a Quality Oversight Committee to lead client's ongoing eHealth Best Practices initiative.
  • Implement an employee training program as necessary.

For more information about VirSci's eHealth Best Practice Gap Analysis program and how to get started, call 215-504-4164 or E-mail: infovirsci@virsci.com.

Return to top...


Pharmaceutical Marketing Best Practices | Privacy Best Practices | HIPAA Compliance Consulting & Training
Home | About Us | Contact Us

Real Solutions for the Virtual World

© 2003-2009 VirSci Corporation. P.O. Box 760, Newtown, PA 18940 * P: 215-504-4164 * F: 215-504-5739 * infovirsci@virsci.com