Novartis AG (NVS) has created the world’s first dedicated social network for heart failure patients and their caregivers. Called ‘Together in HF’, the platform will help people connect, find relevant information specific to their condition, and socialize virtually within the heart patient community.

The portal contains resources, inspirational patient stories, tips for living with heart failure, and a dedicated section for heart patients’ caregivers.

Novartis and its partners took two years to build the platform, which was launched in late October. The organizations that contributed to building the heart patient network include WomenHeart, the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses, the Association of Black Cardiologists, and Mended Heart.

Why a New Platform?

While there was a quick option to create a dedicated Web page or user group on existing social media platforms like Facebook and Google Plus, Novartis and its partners voted for a newer one considering patient and caregivers' need for privacy and convenience.

The need of heart patients to get regular social support was as one of the primary reasons behind the launch of this initiative. (For more, see Novartis Delays Smart Contact Lens.)

What’s in it for Novartis?

Such portals not only allow networking opportunities for end users, they also serve as promotional platforms and help gather important demographic information. Along with patients, connecting with doctors and other practitioners through this medium will be an added benefit to Novartis. (For more, see Alexion's 'Uncommon Strength' Campaign Offers a Win-Win.)

While Novartis’ heart failure drug Entresto has not gained enough traction to match expected sales after its launch last year owing to limited prescriptions and insurance coverage, the company expects to hit $200 million in 2016.

The Novartis heart-failure social network will run a branded Entresto TV ad campaign beginning this spring. (For more, see Novartis May Buy Generics Maker Amneal for $8B.)

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