Earlier this month, Novartis Pharmaceutical launched a social media community aimed at bringing heart failure patients and their caregivers together. According to Novartis, it is “the first dedicated social network for people to share their stories, support and inspire each other.”
The site – named, ‘Together in HF’ – is a free resource for both heart failure information and support. The community allows users to contribute content, and comment on other members’ posts.
Heart failure affects almost six million Americans, and Novartis hopes that the social media network will increase awareness of the condition. The platform is also set to be available as an app, with the iOS version expected to be launched in early 2017.
“Together in HF is a collective effort that brings together the expertise and resources of many organizations with a special focus on the unique social and emotional needs of people who are living with heart failure,” said Fabrice Chouraqui, Novartis president. Together in HF reportedly has around 500 members.
According to a spokesperson for Novartis, the company worked for over two years on the social community, at which time they worked closely with patient and caregiver advocacy groups, along with medical societies. They were specifically interested in learning about both the social and emotional needs of heart failure patients and their caregivers, in order to ensure the platform offered more than existing communities.
“Through working with the HF community, we discovered that patients and caregivers were burdened by the emotional aspects of HF and needed an environment where they could meet and share their stories with others who had similar experiences,” a Novartis spokesperson told BioPharma Dive. The American Association of Heart Failure Nurses, Association of Black Cardiologists, CardioSmart by the American College of Cardiology, Mended Hearts, and the National Alliance for Caregiving, are all founding members of the platform.
“It is often these less tangible effects of the condition that are overshadowed by the physical signs,” said Mary McGowan, CEO of another partnering organization, WomenHeart. “Yet we know that focusing on the whole patient experience greatly contributes to the overall health of the patient.”