Americans are placing 65% more prioritization on self-care since the pandemic rocked our world – and consumers need answers. The CHPA Educational Foundation delivered by launching Health In Hand, a new, consumer facing website on self-care product information. Today we discuss what's changed and importantly improved with this resource and how critical it is to provide accessible information to anyone, regardless of health literacy level.
- Episode Transcript
Mary Leonard: Americans are placing 65% more prioritization on self-care since the global pandemic rocked our world. And consumers want help. They want answers. And the CHPA Educational Foundation delivers as it launches, Health In Hand as of March 1st.
Today our discussion is with the brains behind the brand, Brandon Ciampaglia, my colleague here at the CHPA Educational Foundation. And I'm Mary Leonard, the Foundation's executive director. We'll discuss what's changed and importantly improved with this resource and how critical it is to provide this type of accessible information to anyone, regardless of health literacy level or access to healthcare professionals. The new platform for consumers, called Health In Hand, is exactly what the public needs to feel empowered and to feel more confidence as they manage their own healthcare decisions. Thanks for joining us.
Announcer: Welcome to CHPA Chat, conversations in the consumer healthcare industry.
Mary Leonard: Welcome to CHPA Chat. My name is Mary Leonard. I'm the executive director of the CHPA Educational Foundation, and I am joined today by Brandon Ciampaglia, Senior Digital Content and Campaign Manager at the foundation. Hi, Brandon.
Brandon Ciampaglia: Hey Mary. How are you?
Mary Leonard: Doing great. Excited about the conversation today. We are going to be talking about empowering safe self-care decisions. That's really the core of what we do at the foundation. Specifically, I'm going to be asking you about Health In Hand, our new resource for consumers. And just for background for listeners, a little bit about the foundation. We are a 501(c)(3) organization. We're the philanthropic arm of CHPA, and we serve as the trusted source of information for consumers on how to safely choose and use self-care products. And I know we say self-care, we hear self-care from a lot of different realms. What does it mean? There's lots of different self-care definitions out there. Brandon, how would you describe self-care?
Brandon Ciampaglia: Oh gosh. When I think of self-care right now anyway, I immediately start thinking of the fact that we're getting into summer and how much I'm looking forward to just being outside and relaxing and not being cooped up indoors all day and enjoying some-
Mary Leonard: Exercise, sunshine.
Brandon Ciampaglia: Just soaking it up. Soaking up all the rays and putting on my comfort tunes of the '80s and '90s music.
Mary Leonard: Yes. I can relate. I love that. Yeah, I think everyone's got their own definition of self-care, right? Today when we're talking about self-care, I think we're focusing on individual health and wellness. And within consumer healthcare, that's really our niche at the foundation. We're talking about over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, consumer medical devices.
And I was actually reading some data that showed that consumers are prioritizing wellness 65% more than in the past two to three years. I'm just going to repeat that. 65%. So that's almost two-thirds, right? That's a two-thirds increase right there. That's a big percentage. I think we're seeing more and more consumers, they want to take charge of their health. They're being proactive, they're being preventative. They want answers quickly and efficiently. And with that kind of need and that massive increase in prioritization comes this need for information and support. And I really think that's where we're playing a role at the foundation.
Brandon Ciampaglia: Totally.
Mary Leonard: I think that's where Health In Hand's playing a role. So I want to talk a little bit about Health In Hand and branding. Brandon, you were the brains behind the brand. That's like some alliteration for you. can you tell us a little bit about the evolution of Health In Hand and how we really positioned it and envisioned it to help consumers?
Brandon Ciampaglia: Absolutely. Long story short, we were originally branded as Know Your OTCs, and focused heavily on those over-the-counter medicines that we all commonly use to treat everything from headaches and joint pain to cough, cold and flu related symptoms and so on. But as time has passed, the industry has evolved greatly and it's expanded and it's growing by leaps and bounds, even just since the time of COVID. And it's much more now than just those medicines. It's dietary supplements and vitamins, it's consumer medical devices, which of course are all those products like electric toothbrushes, blood pressure monitors, breast pumps, and that's a huge category that's ever expanding.
So as things have progressed and continue to progress, we needed to keep in step and ensure that we enhanced everything that we were doing by providing consumers with that material that was timely, that was relevant and included the full scope of self-care products and education around those products. So rebranding ourselves now as Health In Hand. That name really showcases that commitment we have to having that holistic approach to all of the different self-care products and materials that we are building out to really keep, again, in step with what's changing. And it seems like it's changing all the time with all the things that are happening in the news.
Mary Leonard: I was just going to say, it's kind of shifting from the Know Your OTCs message to the Health In Hand message, which feels like an empowerment message. Like we are saying, we want you to take your health into your hands.
Brandon Ciampaglia: And the message that we continually say and we push out onto our social channels with Health In Hand is, it's more than just finding information, it's finding confidence. And that's a through line of everything that we're doing now. It's about, like you just said, that empowerment factor and instilling that confidence into everybody of all ages. They've been to Health In Hand, they've looked up some information that was very relevant to them and that they're at the store and they can pick that product off the shelf, look at it and know what's in it, and know what's going on with it and how it can help them
Mary Leonard: Absolutely. And that is important for all literacy levels, as we're thinking about health literacy.
Brandon Ciampaglia: And speaking of that, when we were building out the website, that was a major point of focus for us was that we wanted to make this site accessible to everybody of all varying literacy levels. And throughout the building process, we were really hyper aware of the navigation and the word choices we were using and how everything tied together so that when somebody came here, it almost felt like a catered experience. Like, oh, this site was built for me because it makes sense for me.
We wanted to make it very simplified, very easy to understand because low health literacy remains a very real barrier for a lot of the consumers in this country, and it makes it very difficult for them to manage their own self-care, not just effectively, but safely.
Mary Leonard: Yeah. And I think is it the latest stat out there that only 12% of American adults have a high level of health literacy? That means nine out of 10 adults lack the skills needed to fully manage their health. Right? And I think health literacy guidelines, it's plain language, it's iconography, it's bright colors. And I do think that we really thought about that in the design of the site and to make sure that people could really navigate this site easily and find answers easily.
Brandon Ciampaglia: And that's a good point too, in talking about the icons and the colors. That was a big part of the brand identity as well, is having these very warm, inviting tones so that when someone comes to the site, it almost feels like a warm blanket, you already feel comfortable.
Mary Leonard: I love that.
Brandon Ciampaglia: You just feel like you're in a safe place, that you're going to get something out of this that's worthwhile, . It's allowing you that freedom to kick off your shoes, look around, feel comfortable in what you find, and then also take that back with you and apply it to a real world situation.
Mary Leonard: And I also wanted to kind of build on your point, when we were asking about the evolution to Health In Hand, and really taking a deeper dive into supplements. We know there has been a major pivot to preventive care and maintaining your health. There's certainly been an uptick in prevention, as you know, especially immunity. Immunity products. There's actually data that shows a 51% rise in multivitamin sales during the pandemic. That is enormous. But I think that growth provides an opportunity for education as well. So consumers are really interested in learning about the safety and the science behind these products so they can make the best decisions for themselves, for their families, for their children. So I wanted to ask a little bit more, Brandon, about the dietary supplement resources that we have on Health In Hand and why those are important for maybe specific types of people who come to Health In Hand.
Brandon Ciampaglia: Sure. And I just wanted to say it's a shame that it took something as big as a pandemic to make us all realize we need to start taking care of ourselves better. We need to start focusing on what we need to do for our best.
Mary Leonard: Self-care.
Brandon Ciampaglia: Yeah. Like all those things that happen, it's amazing to me how we got here and what we needed to do to get here. When it comes to supplements in general, I like to equate it to the fact that like the supplements themselves that fill in those nutritional gaps, we on the Health In Hand side, are filling in the content gaps that weren't always available on KnowYourOTCs because it was still relatively new at the time. But now that it's at the forefront, like you said, we have really taken great strides to build out not just new content with the help of our various partners and those internally that we work with to develop content for not just women and the prenatal, but also for kids and 65 and older, talking again about that immunity element and how it applies to each one of those categories. But we also took a look at what we previously had on the site, and we beefed it up, we cleaned it up, we made it more relevant to of the now.
And I feel like where we're headed with the content that's there, we are at the forefront of being able to develop some really unique materials We're building it to be more visually appealing with more interactive and engaging infographics and videos. And the sky's really the limit when it comes to this, because we feel in our heart of hearts that we can be the source for this, we can be the go-to organization that provides this material in a way that speaks to the consumer. And it's not just words on a page, it's material that is pertinent to day-to-day life, to different ages, different life stages, different-
Mary Leonard: Yes. The life stages piece I think is important. And with supplements, it's in your diet, you consume an certain amount of nutrients. If you don't have the appropriate amount of nutrients, dietary supplements can help fill that gap. So we can provide that information on those different types of supplements that can help you maintain your health, which I think is really valuable. And we also are thinking about, okay, how can you be a savvy shopper for supplements, right? We've got a checklist on things to be aware of, things to look for, to make sure that these supplements are safe and that you are looking at the supplement fax label and that you know what to take and when to take it so that you're taking your health into your own hands and you are feeling confident about the choices that you're making.
Brandon Ciampaglia: And that's super important because outside of just understanding how it can help you fill in the gaps, it's so important to also understand the different products that exist in making sure they're reputable and making sure that they are actually valuable pieces to have in your medicine cabinet or wherever you're storing your medicines and supplements. But knowing those things to look for on the label, knowing those ingredients to look for and knowing that this product is different from this product and this is how they are different.
Mary Leonard: Yeah, exactly. And that comes back to that empowerment theme. And I think as we're thinking about personalized self-care and consumers are becoming more and more focused on their own health, they're thinking about specific tools, digital devices, products, routines that work for them. And I think they're really demanding health information at their fingertips. And that expectation's really high for credible, valuable health information that can help them make these decisions. I know for me, I use my Fitbit every day, I'm accessing health sites all the time, and I know that we know digital health is a real driving force for the self-care industry. So I know at Health In Hand, we think a lot about what's this personalized, customized approach. And I wanted you to talk a little bit more about are there tools and ways that we can empower users on Health In Hand to make these self-care decisions more quickly and efficiently for folks?
Brandon Ciampaglia: Absolutely. We took a lot of time to really think through topics just like that, where before on KnowYourOTCs.org, we didn't have specific sections that were curated for different ages or life stages. But that's again, where the Health In Hand brand at the beginning was really a great opportunity for us to look at that and go, "We can really do some good here." And we've now created a section called My Self-Care, which is a category on the main homepage that allows anyone to click on that and access specifically targeted content related to pregnancy, to children, to 65 and older and everyone in between. And we put a lot of care into making sure that the content that was preexisting on Know Your OTCs as well as the new content, was all using a very robust tagging method so that we look at all the materials and we say, "This one is speaking to this individual. Oh, this one's speaking to this group, but it also talks about this group as well as vitamins or cough, cold and flu."
So that it's not just now coming to a site and searching for something, typing in a keyword or a phrase and digging through the materials. We've done a lot of that work for consumers and created these categories that will give you this very nice, clean, easy to navigate resource section of all those materials lumped into that category. So now you're able to then go into a deeper dive and sort it by fever, by pain, by vitamins, however you would like to sort the results. But it's all there. You don't have to go digging anymore to find the information that's valuable to you. And I think early on, as we've seen the launch happen, it's resonating with people because it continues to be one of the top tier sections of the site. So I think it's really hitting home for people that it's really effective.
Mary Leonard: Right. And it goes back to that kind of personalized support.
So in terms of digital tools, let's talk a little bit about the Pain Reliever tool because I think that is an assessment and a quiz that somebody can go in and take and get answers just right at their fingertips.
Brandon Ciampaglia: Right. And that's something we have front and center on the website. It's always present. We also have links throughout the entire website so that it's always easy to find. But it's a really great tool. It's only eight questions. It takes only a few minutes and answering very simple questions about your various pain levels and some a little bit about your history of different ailments and things that maybe you've been experiencing for months or for years. And you just answer a few of these questions and by the end of it, you're presented with, "Oh, this might be the type of OTC product that could help." It's just giving you sort of a compass as it were to start pointing you in the right direction.
Because it also provides information about these other categories that may or may not be what you're looking for, but you should still talk with your healthcare provider just to get us get a sense of, "I took this assessment, this is what it told me," but it gives you the ability to email the results to yourself. You can share it. And it's just a really nice way to hit the ground running with, "Okay, here's what I'm experiencing. Here's what I start to feel now, or how long I've been feeling these pains," and answering those to then give you that result that will help you perhaps even stay on the website a little bit longer and research what those results say and learn more about them, learn more about the ingredients, learn more about your symptoms. And at that point, start to really develop your own library of information that can help you make the right decision.
Mary Leonard: And I think from an educational perspective, it's talking through this assessment, it's talking about your options for acetaminophen as your active ingredient, your options for NSAIDs, and lots of options for combination pain relievers. So I think it's kind of distilling down, we've got these major pain relief categories, what's the right one for you, or what may be the right one for you based on these questions and answers? So I do think that kind of digital support is helpful.
Hey Brandon, I've got one more topic for you, and I want to touch on access. It's a big word. Access is a big word. It is a big part of the Health In Hand strategy. It's a big part of what we do at the foundation, and it's all about getting our educational information into the hands of those who need it the most and trying to make self-care more accessible to underserved communities, to low health literacy populations, to people who just may have limited access to healthcare. So I wanted to ask you, Brandon, just how we're kind of thinking about access within the scope of Health In Hand as a resource in communities?
Brandon Ciampaglia: So something that we offer through the foundation on the Health In Hand site is all of our campaign brochures and posters, which are available in both English and Spanish, so again, going back to that access point, these include our up and away materials promoting safe storage behavior for medicines and supplements and our Know Your Dose materials promoting acetaminophen safety.
So we are covering pretty high level topics for folks that filling out a form through the Health In Hand website, they are able to get these delivered directly to their facilities, which again, could be a community center or a healthcare facility or even a pharmacy of some kind. These people are reaching directly.
Mary Leonard: Schools, churches.
Brandon Ciampaglia: Yes, exactly. Churches. They're reaching out directly to us and we in turn are giving them the materials that we have that deliver directly to them to then distribute out to their communities directly. And we've already seen this being super effective because our website has definitely seen more uptick in orders being placed. We have seen significant-
Mary Leonard: Since March 1st.
Brandon Ciampaglia: Yeah, since March 1st. We've already surpassed our order amounts from last year, and I believe even the year prior, just in the two months that we've been live with Health In Hand. So the word is getting out, people are being notified that these resources are available through our website and they are taking advantage of it. And they're not just ordering one or two copies, they're ordering hundreds of brochures, hundreds of posters. And it's really great to see that this is something that's working and it's working well. And I continue to see that really become a bigger animal once we start getting more resources and building out more of this content that we've talked about, that it's providing that one-to-one resource for folks who don't necessarily have access to a computer or to any sort of digital device. They need a way to get this information and this is the way we're making it happen.
Mary Leonard: And it's meeting community members where they are with the format of education that they need, right? So it's we've got digital, we've got print, we have English, we have Spanish. So trying to think about all of those different ways that we can meet those needs.
Brandon Ciampaglia: Absolutely. And I will also say that we do live in a digital world. Whether we want to or not, we are tethered to our phones.
Mary Leonard: That's true.
Brandon Ciampaglia: We are swiping, up and down, left and right, whatever way you want to swipe, constantly. And when we were doing the Health In Hand site, we were being very mindful about that in general because research has shown that 85% of Americans own a smartphone. And I'm sure that's just going to keep going up over time.
Mary Leonard: I'm actually not surprised by that statistic.
Brandon Ciampaglia: No. I thought it would be much higher, honestly. But you still have to account for folks that don't have, again, access or the means to do that. But we consistently see on our website that over 80% of our users, if not over, it's right there at 80% are using or accessing our website through some form of a mobile device. So mobile first was a big mentality we had with this site. Not to take away from desktop, but we really had to make sure that what we were putting out there into the world was responsive, it was clean when you're looking at on your phone or a tablet. So we had to have that sort of perspective when we were designing this.
And we are continuing to have that be a focus. And as we develop new content, it's going to continue to be that mobile first mission to make sure that whatever images, videos, what have you, are displayed on our website are translating well to a device. Because as we know, when we're out in the stores, when we're out anywhere, we don't want to wait to go home to get the information. We are very... I'm trying to find out the right phrase. We want our information now. We want it now. We don't want to wait.
Mary Leonard: And we know that smartphone dependence is also very high among low income individuals, right? So these folks are accessing information on their phones as opposed to a desktop or another technology source. So that really speaks to how we're delivering our information on Health In Hand, to make it easy to understand and then access via mobile too.
Brandon Ciampaglia: 100%. Health In Hand really is a resource that simplifies self-care. We want people to gain more than information, we want them to gain confidence. And that really was the theme that thread through our discussion today. So I first just want to say thank you so much for being here with me today, Brandon. It was great to hear from you, to get your insights just on the thoughtful development of this site. And I also want to thank everybody listening today. And please check out HealthInHand.org for more information. You can also reach out to myself, you can reach out to Brandon with any questions that you have. And Brandon, anything else to add from you?
Brandon Ciampaglia: Nope. I just hope that everyone puts their self-care at the forefront. Again, now that we're heading into the summer, take those trips, get away, relax, and really just serenity now.
Mary Leonard: Serenity now. We will end it on that.
Before we leave, we really need to say thank you. The CHPA Educational Foundation is primarily funded by member companies and Health In Hand is made possible through these very generous donations from our members. So I just want to say a huge thank you to our donors that keep us continuing this critical work.
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The views expressed in this podcast are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.