The Internet has not only changed the way people communicate, it has become a powerful and important resource for health information. Today, 82 per cent of U.S. adults use the Internet, and among those 80 per cent have looked online for health related information. Indeed, social media (including online communities, blogs, and social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter) is rapidly becoming an increasingly popular source of health information, helping to decrease health-related communication gaps and inequalities - Facebook is reported to be the 4th most popular source of health information in the UK.
In part this trend seems to be driven by consumer facing industries pioneering the use of digital channels to engage, educate, and build relationships with customers and in doing so, changing the public’s preference for information, creating an expectation that information should be easily accessible. There is also a genuine unmet need for information and support for patients and their carers/ family members who desire to feel empowered and take control of their own and their loved-ones’ health.
The pharmaceutical industry is well placed to deliver on this unmet need and, if they are successful, reap the rewards for their effort. A recent survey found that “mastering multichannel marketing and improving digital effectiveness” was a top strategic priority for pharmaceutical marketing executives. Digital communication channels can be used by pharma to:
build more effective relationships with customers improve clinical trial efficiency (by speeding up trial recruitment and reducing dropouts through closer engagement) collect qualitative real world data to enhance other sources of information regarding products and practices.
While investment in social media is increasing, the focus is on lower risk and less innovative avenues than those adopted by other industries and indeed, the pharmaceutical industry is often described as a laggard in terms of its speed in adoption of digital technologies. An IMS survey of 50 of the top pharmaceutical companies recorded that almost half did not use social media to engage with consumers or patients on healthcare-related topics. For those that did, Twitter was the most popular (22/50) – a low risk option when used to simply link or broadcast information already out there (on company websites). This reluctance or slowness to adopt channels used by other consumer industries is mainly due to fear of regulation and risk as well as lack of content control and privacy concerns. For example:
a key challenge remains a lack of guidance from leading regulatory agencies – although as of January, in the US, the FDA has published draft guidance on interactive promotional media as a first step towards a definitive regulatory framework, but there remain many grey areas which have led to a host of fines and punishments issued by regulatorsadverse event reporting is a big concern as companies will need to monitor their own social media channels in real time to remain compliant. While the estimated level of adverse events reported is expected to be quite low (around 0.2 per cent for general posts; up to 7 per cent on dedicated patient forums) this can quickly add up to a significant number of events, a large amount of work to investigate and significant risk to the reputation of the companyjustifying investment in digital channels like social media is another hurdle - how do you calculate the value of a mouse click or a ‘like’?
Social media’s ability to challenge geographical and linguistic boundaries, bring people closer together and share information across differently regulated regions is unique and patients will increasingly use these channels as a source of support and information related to their health. Without pharma’s engagement, or some form of regulation, there is an increased risk for rapid dissemination of non-credible and potentially erroneous health information which can lead to confusion and misdiagnosis. Therefore, the pharma industry have no option but to find a way to work more in this space to help patients exchange ideas, experiences and form opinions. If Facebook is the 4th most popular source of health information in the UK then pharma companies have little choice but to create their own Facebook profile.
Deciphering 21,741 tweets, researchers have found that 74% women shared a real-time migraine attack on twitter, followed by 17% men.
The higher global peak of migraine tweets occurred Mondays at 14:00 GMT or 10 a.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time, the study said.
It indicates a growing trend toward the cathartic sharing of physical pain as well as emotional pain on social media.
"As technology and language evolve, so does the way we share our suffering. It is the first known study to show the instant and broad impact of migraine attacks on modern patients' lives by decoding manually each one of their individual attack-related tweets," explained Alexandre DaSilva, an assistant professor at University of Michigan's school of dentistry.
During the study, DaSilva's team eliminated advertising, metaphor and nonrelated migraine tweets.
Further, they analysed the meaning of each individual migraine tweet.
"We sought to evaluate the instant expression of actual self-reported migraine attacks in social media," DaSilva noted.
The US accounted for 58% of migraine tweets followed by Europe at 20%.
Roughly 44% of tweets reported that migraine attacks immediately impacted mood.
The most common migraine descriptors were "worst" at nearly 15% and "massive" at 8%.
Results generated unique information about who suffers from migraines and what, how, where and when they use social media to describe their pain.
Apparue il y a plus de vingt ans, la télémédecine continue de se développer. La HAS propose une aide méthodologique aux programmes en cours, en s’assurant que le service médical rendu soit identique, en termes de qualité et de sécurité, à une stratégie médicale de prise en charge classique.