A growing number of people turn to the Internet for information on healthcare. More and more of them also use social media—like Twitter and Facebook—to share their personal experiences—whether it’s rating their healthcare provider or discussing their medicines.
Understanding the benefits and risks of medicine from a patient’s point of view is important to the evaluation of our medicines.
"We need to hear from patients about their experiences with our medicines,” says Dr. Murray Stewart, Chief Medical Officer for GSK, who is charged with looking out for patient health and safety when it comes to GSK’s medicines. “Social media presents an opportunity to listen in a much more immediate and direct way than we’ve used in the past.”
We set out recently to find new ways to tap into the information patients share about their ‘real-world’ experience with our medicines.Real-time safety data
With the help of digital experts from outside GSK, we began to analyze publicly available internet posts, filtering out unrelated information and anything that would identify individuals to GSK.
In a 2-year period, we found approximately 22 million Twitter and Facebook posts discussing potential adverse events for 1,000 medicines. Compare this figure to the 8.6 million adverse event reports received by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) since 1968, and the size of the challenge becomes clear.Real-time benefits data
An additional evaluation of 15 medicines showed that 26% of posts also mentioned the benefits of taking the medicine and useful information around how long a medicine took to work, how long the effects last, and how it compared to other treatment options.
Monitoring social media when one of our inhaled allergy medicines became available over the counter was also hugely helpful. The feedback enabled us to understand how well the product worked for patients when their healthcare professionals were no longer involved in choosing the medicine or giving instructions on dosing.Protecting patients through social listening
Social media posts have also helped us to evaluate and characterise abuse of a medicine, for example reports of crushing tablets that were meant to be swallowed and then consuming them in other ways such as by injection or inhalation. Being aware of common misuse of treatments helps us to make decisions on appropriate labeling and further guidance.More opportunities to explore
While we’ve come a long way in our use of social media, there is still a lot of work to do to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of this data and to establish best practices. For example, we are working to create automated tools that can sort through very large volumes of information and identify urgent issues so they are addressed quickly.
We believe people will continue to use social media to share their experiences with medications. By paying attention to comments -- whether they are about the benefits or about potential drawbacks – social media can help us to understand the full context of patient experiences. We’re excited by the potential of social media to improve our patient care and we can’t wait to see where it may take us next.
Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC (JJI) today announced the creation of the Center for Device Innovation at Texas Medical Center (CDI @ TMC), a broad, new collaboration between JJI and TMC that aims to accelerate end-to-end development of breakthrough medical devices. This expands on JJI’s collaboration with TMC established earlier this year with the opening of JLABS @ TMC, combining the resources of the world’s largest medical complex with the capabilities of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies*, to advance the health and well-being of people around the globe.
The CDI @ TMC will include multiple components that will accelerate the development of new medical technologies from concept through commercialization, including a new medical device engineering studio housed at the TMC Innovation Institute. This state-of-the-art “maker space” will be home to R&D staff of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies and will be used to accelerate both select internal projects and strategically aligned ventures of JJI partner companies.
Science 37, which connects willing individuals to researchers so they can participate in trials from their homes, has raised $31 million in Series B funding. Previously, the company raised $6.5 million.The round was led by Redmile Group, with participation from Lux Capital and Sanofi Genzyme BioVentures, the latter of which will also provide Science 37 with technical and strategic guidance. The funding will be used to help the company further develop its technology and continue to expand into new therapeutic areas.
Celgene is planning to use Apple's ResearchKit framework for an observational study into the burden of chronic anaemia in two blood disorders.
Working on the project with biomedical research organisation Sage Bionetworks, Celgene aims to collect difficult-to-quantify data in myelodysplastic syndromes and beta-thalassemia.
The partners' mobile study will also collect neurological assessments of patients using cognitive testing software from BrainBaseline, technology that allows self-assessment of cognitive performance.
Celgene said its app would additionally support patients living with their disease and allow them to understand their physical functioning and other symptoms of anaemia.
Michael Pehl, president of hematology and oncology for Celgene, said: "We stand at a point where technology is unlocking the ability to capture patient reported outcomes.
"Through our collaboration with Sage Bionetworks and the evolving capability of smartphones and wearables as robust data collection devices, we believe we will be able to provide important new insights for patients with MDS and beta-thalassemia."
Myelodysplastic syndromes and beta-thalassemia typically have clinical endpoints outside traditional measures.
The project will see Celgene and Sage work with patient groups the MDS Foundation and Cooleys Anemia Foundation on defining the right elements for the mobile app to capture in order to ensure it is relevant for patients.
The FDA has entered into the federal register a new draft guidance pertaining to "software as a medical device" (SaMD). The guidance is presented as representing the FDA's current thinking on establishing clinical evaluation guidelines for SaMD, but is written by an international organization of device regulators, the International Medical Device Regulators Forum, of which FDA is a member.
The guidance seeks to articulate what's new and different about SaMD (a category which would include mobile medical apps) and provide a stratified guidance on how to regulate different kinds of software and what kind of evidence is needed for each regulatory category. The guidance stratifies devices on two axes: whether the device informs care, drives care, or treats/diagnoses and whether the condition in question is non-serious, serious, or critical. So software that treats or diagnoses a critical condition is in the highest risk category, while software that informs care about a non-serious condition is in the lowest.
The guidelines also call out and address the fact that software development tends to move faster than traditional medical device development and can more easily be influenced by postmarket data.
"SaMD ... is unique in that it operates in a complex highly connected-interactive socio-technical environment in which frequent changes and modifications can be implemented more quickly and efficiently," the guidance says. "Development of SaMD is also heavily influenced by new entrants unfamiliar with medical device regulations and terminology developing a broad spectrum of applications."
Ogilvy Healthworld tracked the activity of the 20 largest global companies' Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels from January to June, using audience intelligence platform Pulsar Core.
In the above graph from its report, The Social Check-up, the number of posts is measured on the x-axis. Lilly was the most prolific poster and so appears furthest to the right, dwarfing infrequent publishers Allergan, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
However, Lilly's posting did not always create engagement. It posted nearly twice as much as Boehringer Ingelheim and seven times as much as Novo Nordisk. These two firms scored highly on an engagement ranking calculated around likes, shares, comments, and retweets, shown on the y-axis.
The size of the dots relates to size of social media following — Johnson & Johnson has the largest.
The report says: "The rise of paid social has offered companies the ability to achieve better user response rates through highly specific content targeting. It is difficult to speculate which of the pharma companies studied were using paid social strategies. This may be one of the reasons Novo Nordisk and Boehringer Ingelheim achieved significantly higher levels of engagement compared with their competitors."
Another finding of the report is that disease awareness was the most common content theme posted by pharma firms, but their audiences actually preferred to interact with company news and CSR-related content.
Big pharmaceutical companies have found replacements for the army of sales representatives they've laid off in recent years: digital sales tools that seek to sell doctors on drugs without the intrusion of an office visit
"You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away - a man is not a piece of fruit," says Willy Loman in Act 2 of Death of a Salesman. Today, many pharma sales reps may be feeling like tossed peeled fruit.
eDetailing in one form or another seems to be making a comeback since the recession hit the drug industry in 2007 and 2008 (see chart on right). I'm not really sure which is the "chicken" and which is the "egg"; ie, whether an uptick in adoption of eDetailing technology lead to the recent layoff of pharma reps or if reps were laid off because of the economy and subsequently replaced by machines.
Despite the title of this post, reports of the death of pharma "salesmen" may be somewhat exaggerated and not all sales reps can be replaced by machines.