iPhone in Business


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Apps for good health.

iPhone brings patients, providers, and physicians closer than ever.

As a leading manufacturer of vaccines and pharmaceutical products, Novartis does more than simply sell remedies. This Basel, Switzerland-based firm believes in empowering consumers with resources to prevent diseases and enhance quality of life. The company has already turned to iPhone to streamline its internal communications. Now they’ve developed a consumer iPhone app, VaxTrak, to help parents manage their families’ vaccines and preventive care.

With a staff of 100,000 in 140 countries, Novartis’ global business demands easy access to internal resources in order to meet its goals. “Rapid mobile access to information on a platform like iPhone helps us make better decisions — decisions that are directly relevant to our ability to help protect lives,” says Nima Farzan, Vice President of Marketing for Novartis Vaccines, USA. “With iPhone and apps, individuals can access that information in an easier, more cost-effective way.”

The iPhone interface makes it simple for Novartis staff to find the information they need, says Ken Grady, Senior Director of IT for Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics. “They want visual data, to be able to touch, prod, poke, and pass their information around. iPhone doesn’t let technology get in the way.”

Easy Integration, Powerful Apps

iPhone gives Novartis employees secure, over-the-air access to their email, calendar and contacts. “iPhone is enterprise-ready,” says Grady. “It passes security risk considerations with device encryption, and links into our Exchange environment for remote device management and synchronization with our global address list.”

Using the built-in features of iPhone, Farzan says, “I can open an email, download a PowerPoint, respond to a Calendar appointment, check a contact, dial into a teleconference. I can do all the things I need to do with my iPhone.”

Novartis staff also rely on apps from the App Store to enhance their business, such as iTranslate, a universal translator, and HealthMap, which tracks the spread of diseases such as H1N1.

Another business intelligence app, Roambi - Visualizer, enables users to visualize and analyze financial information in real time. “There’s something about the Roambi interface on iPhone that makes it better,” Grady says. “You can touch and twist and dive into the data in a much more intuitive way than you can with a standard Excel report.”

The ability to combine tools like Roambi with custom in-house apps has made iPhone even more useful for Novartis. “Both the commercial applications and our own ability to quickly develop and deploy apps have been tremendous,” Grady notes. “We can get an app out into the marketplace and directly affect our patients, and the cost of development is refreshingly low for a mobile device.”

An App to Remember

Novartis believes in empowering patients by putting information in their hands. That’s why the company developed its own iPhone app, VaxTrak, which assists families in managing their children’s vaccination schedules. The app tracks vaccinations as they’re received, from infancy through adolescence, then tells parents when updates are due. Users can also use the app to log insurance records, and find pharmacies or other locations where flu shots are available.

“The iPhone apps we’re building help patients, consumers, and professionals make better-educated decisions about health care,” says Marie Carmen, Associate Director for the Menveo Marketing Team. “Ultimately, consumers being in charge of their own health is where health care is going.”

The phone’s ease of use and popularity among consumers make it a natural medium for the app. “We chose to develop VaxTrak for iPhone because it is the leading platform with the most users,” Farzan says.

Developing the app was surprisingly simple, thanks to the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) and a dedicated team of Novartis developers. “We had no experience using the iPhone SDK when we started developing VaxTrak,” says Grady, “but it was actually much easier to develop on than many of our other platforms.”

Making a Difference

With apps like VaxTrak on iPhone, Novartis is helping consumers take greater control over their own well-being. It’s just part of a larger trend, Farzan explains: “iPhone breaks down barriers and helps us communicate directly with patients, patients communicate with physicians, and physicians communicate back with us. It’s improving the delivery of health care.”

“At Novartis, we try to bring innovation to every part of our business, whether it’s using technology or making new scientific discoveries,” Grady says. “Ultimately it’s about protecting and saving lives. iPhone is enabling us to fulfill that mission.”

Company Snapshot

  • Vaccine and pharmaceutical manufacturer
  • $40 billion annual revenue
  • Headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
  • 100,000 employees in 140 countries
  • www.novartis.com

“iPhone breaks down barriers and helps us communicate directly with patients, patients communicate with physicians, and physicians communicate back with us. It’s improving the delivery of health care.”

Nima Farzan, Vice President of Marketing, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics

“Ultimately it’s about protecting and saving lives. iPhone is enabling us to fulfill that mission.”

Ken Grady, Senior Director of IT, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics

“The iPhone apps we’re building help patients, consumers, and professionals make better-educated decisions about health care.”

Marie Carmen, Associate Director, Menveo Marketing, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics

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