- Novartis Pharmaceuticals officially launched a social media network for heart failure patients and caregivers Nov. 10. Novartis describes it as "the first dedicated social network for people to share their stories, support and inspire each other."
- Dubbed "Together in HF," the site – www.togetherinhf.com – is being marketed as a free, easy-to-navigate resource for information and support within a "private community" that allows only members to see what others contribute.
- The platform is expected to raise national awareness of the condition affecting nearly six million Americans. Novartis said Together in HF will be available as an Android app in the U.S. Google Play store; the iOS app is expected to be available in the U.S. App store 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," Novartis president Fabrice Chouraqui said in announcing the platform's launch.
Currently, Together in HF has about 500 members, a Novartis spokesperson told BioPharma Dive. She said Novartis has worked with the heart-failure community, including patient and caregiver advocacy groups and medical societies, for two-plus years trying to understand the unique social and emotional needs of patients and caregivers – and what they felt was missing from existing social platforms and health communities. The network soft launched in October; its full public launch was Nov. 10.
"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," the company spokesperson told BioPharma Dive.
Founding partners for the platform include 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.
Mary McGowan, CEO of another partnering organization, WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, said strong social support to help manage emotional and psychosocial health is important for the heart-failure patient's overall well-being.
"It is often these less tangible effects of the condition that are overshadowed by the physical signs. Yet we know that focusing on the whole patient experience greatly contributes to the overall health of the patient," she added.
Novartis's social media network for heart failure clearly is being marketed with women in mind. The company spokesperson, describing what makes the platform unique, said its approach "values the emotional journey as well as the physical journey," by offering "an entire section dedicated to inspiring emotional well-being."