Studies on the utilisation of social media sites for health related information and communication are still limited. We conducted a content analysis of the Facebook groups related to hypertension by searching Facebook (www.facebook.com). We identified 187 hypertension-related Facebook groups containing a total of 8,966 members. Majority of the groups were formed to create awareness regarding hypertension-related diseases, and to provide supports to the affected patients and caregivers. Facebook has a great potentiality to be utilised as a popular and useful platform for health information and communication purposes in order to build up a better global health.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today released two guidance documents focused on the use of social media by members of regulated industry, including one on how companies can use the social media platform Twitter and other space-limited...
Are you thinking of engaging with social media for your healthcare brand? Are you a health practitioner or marketer who has already started with social media but you are not seeing the results you had hoped for?
The FDA has been busy this week releasing draft guidances that digital healthcare marketers find fascinating. The most recent, on June 20, was one on the regulation of Medical Device Data Systems (MDDS). These systems are largely being given a pass by the FDA regarding regulatory overhead.
Traditionally, unbranded communication has been used in advance of product approval to help support condition awareness, lead generation and market preparation (e.g., to raise awareness of symptoms, introduce a new MOA, set the stage for a new indication, etc.). Only in the rare case of a monopoly, such as Zostavaxfor shingles, or a significant market leader like Lipitor or Nexium during their peak sales periods, is unbranded advertising considered for use post brand approval—the argument being, “Why drive Rxs for my competitors’ brands when I can be driving brand awareness and Rxs only for ‘my’ brand?”
When our VP of Marketing, Michael Walton, sent around the link to Mary Meeker’s KPCB Internet Trends Report, I was blown away by the sheer amount of industry knowledge and context it provided – but I also recognized that it was 164 slides long and...
The term "patient engagement" is at risk of becoming a vague buzzterm, as it lacks a shared definition. This paper aims to pinpoint the key conceptualizations of "patient engagement" from recent academic literature, in order to deepen understanding of the term.
Not to be left behind Apple’s HealthKit framework that collects and aggregates a user’s health data from various services and devices, Google is working on its own health service called Google Fit if this report from Forbes is to be believed.
The service will collect data from popular fitness trackers and health related apps and aggregate them into a central place, similar to Apple’s HealthKit.
comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released results from its eighth annual Online Marketing Effectiveness Benchmarks for the Pharmaceutical Industry, conducted in partnership with marketing innovation consultancy Evolution Road LLC.
The era of the traditional marketing campaign is ending. In this interview, McKinsey’s David Edelman explains what companies get wrong when it comes to digital marketing and the changes needed to better engage consumers. A McKinsey & Company article.
Social media fosters an environment in which patients can click (identify and engage) with other patients who then shape our thinking, behavior, emotions and actions. Authors Rom and Ori Brafman study the science of click in their book,Click: The Magic of Instant Connections. They identify five “accelerators” that increase the likelihood of these kinds of magic connections in our relationships. These are: vulnerability, proximity, resonance, similarity and environment. The authors claim that these factors show up time and again across different contexts.
A little over a year after completing a pilot study, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Exco InTouch have launched a mobile-enabled program in the UK to help patients manage their chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), called Me&MyCOPD.
Digital Opinion Leaders in Diabetes is the largest behavioural study ever conducted into healthcare professionals’ views on the diagnosis and management of dia… (RT @CH_World: Digital Opinion Leaders in Diabetes: The Worldwide HCP Social Media Study...
Social Media has introduced substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organisations, communities, and individuals. In the case of healthcare, these changes are not limited to isolated patient issues but are fundamentally impacting all steps of the patient journey. The ability to obtain and discuss relevant information, experiences and opinions, openly and in real time, have changed the way patients are involved in and influence their disease journey.
Google and Wikipedia as the starting point for online education needs
Wikipedia is a leading source of healthcare information and, due to its high ranking on search engines, very often the starting point for patients seeking self-education online. In our recent study on the usage of social media, we could observe a direct correlation between Wikipedia and medicine use (on ATC-3 class level) for a large number of disease areas, showing a statistically significant correlation. This relationship between online information access and real world product sales suggests that healthcare players need to consider how online information influences decision processes. It also raises the need for an integrated approach to be defined between online and offline interactions, fitting overall commercial strategy.
Age remains one of the biggest differentiation factors for social media.
Age is one of the few differentiating factors for the usage of social networking sites, where usage is independent of gender, education, income or other forms of social distinction.i Differential utilisation by age groups will diminish over coming years, as 'digital natives' increase their involvement and influence professionally and privately within their networks, grow older and become more likely to suffer from diseases. Companies that connect with the digital natives while they age, and adapt to the new channels will have a competitive edge.
"Three main challenges have caused pharma to lag in social media adoption – legal, technical and internal structures"
Companies are still struggling to implement social media strategies
The rise of social media is an increasingly important topic for many pharmaceutical companies. When we know that Facebook is reported as the fourth most popular source of health information in the UK,ii why is the pharmaceutical industry at large, still struggling to implement social media into their general commercial operations?
There are three main challenges that have caused pharmaceutical companies to lag in terms of social media adoption:
• Internal structures
Legal uncertainties are being reduced
The pharmaceutical industry generally has to operate in a very regulated environment. But the utilisation of social media, until the release of the draft FDA guidelines at the beginning of this year, has not been specifically regulated, which caused some concerns about the usage of social media. Additionally, the question of a company's responsibility for reporting adverse drug reaction (ADR) claims generated by users of social media has been a further source of concern, and another reason for slower uptake of social media. However these concerns can now be tackled by smart technology tools, reducing the risk and workload from ADR reporting coming from social media.
Technological hurdles can be overcome
Social Media data by itself is a very unstructured source of information, and when looking at the volume of interaction on some of the channels, it becomes obvious that there is a big data technology challenge. In order to create relevant market insights, technological facilities must be in place to structure and analyse the data.
All of the above hurdles are addressable in today's world, and should not hinder pharmaceutical companies being where there stakeholders are. However, there is an additional hurdle - internal structure - which is one of the reasons why pharma lags other industries in terms of successful utilisation of social media.
Internal Structures remain the biggest challenge
The biggest challenge is to bring about the underlying change in communication approach that comes with social media. Historically, pharma has been very good at using (depending on the legal framework in each country) print media, television and radio approaches to generally communicate with stakeholder groups. All of these channels are uni-directional communication channels, with no interaction between the author and the consumer (and what the author said was strictly controlled by ethical and legal constraints). Social media brings a general change in communication. A mass audience is being reached with the ability to comment, share and respond to information received over this channel. In short, all of these channels are multi-directional.
This change in communication approach, from uni-directional broadcasting to multi-directional engagement needs internal buy-in and structures that can support these ways of working. Responding to comments or replies need to be conducted in a timely manner, which in social media terms means hours, not days or weeks. In order to achieve this, shorter approval processes and social media guidelines need to be in place.
"The change from uni-directional broadcasting to multi-directional engagement needs internal buy-in and structures to support these ways of working"
Pharmaceutical companies must become experts on social communication
One of the key challenges is that social media is, independent of the channels being utilised, a fundamental change in the way we communicate through technology. The "social" aspect of general, but also healthcare related, communication will increase further over the next years and decades. In order to remain in touch and relevant to their customers, pharmaceutical companies must become experts in new communication channels and especially in the new approach to communication.
Listening remains the first step to a successful social media approach
Social media can be leveraged to provide qualitative insights for market measures. If done correctly it is a major asset, since information is unprompted, relatively inexpensive to obtain, and reflects market realities. In order to design a successful social media engagement, pharmaceutical companies need to understand their online target group. Listening to social media conversations allows companies to understand unmet needs, competitive environments, sentiment towards brands and companies, wording used by patients and much more. All of these insights can of course be transferred to communicating in the "offline" world, and gives companies a competitive edge. A second step is the broadcasting (uni-directional) of information to the wider public and this is followed by utilising the media in the way it was intended; engaging people, aided by technology, in the most natural, 'social' way.