Has tipping point for social media in pharma finally arrived? By Rio Longacre and David Mun, with special thanks to Timothy Moore.
It’s no big secret the pharmaceutical industry lags way behind other sectors when it comes to leveraging social media to meet business objectives. A big reason for this has long been a lack of clear guidelines from FDA.
This month FDA released its draft guidance on the use of “Interactive Promotional Media,” ending several years of speculation and finally providing the industry with substantial guidance on its use of digital media. Though this draft guidance document is currently being distributed for comment purposes only, for the first time it sets out a clear position on tools and technologies that allow for real-time communications and interactions, which includes social media.
In the new guidelines, FDA explains that pharma firms should identify the parts of websites that are interactive and allow for real-time communications, in addition describing its communications within these third-party sites. On a monthly basis, marketers will also need to submit a Form FDA 2253 or Form FDA 2301 for websites that include interactive or real-time communications. To facilitate the submission process, FDA will allow multiple sites and the corresponding documents within a single form — a stark departure from its policies governing static promotional pieces. ...
Many feel this recent news will mean the proverbial tipping point has been reached, and pharma will finally take the plunge in social media. If so it will certainly be about time, as social media has become pervasive in our lives and, let’s face it, pharma is coming more than fashionably late to this party.
According to a recent Pew Internet study, as of September of last year 73% of online adults use social networking sites. As of 2012, close to three-quarters of Fortune 500 companies were active on Twitter, with more than 80% of executives at these firms believing social media engagement actually led to increased sales. Across industries, an astounding 93% of marketers report they use social media for business.
Despite years of exposure and ample case studies of success from other sectors, however, most pharma companies don’t currently have much of a social media strategy and the vast majority enjoys a rudimentary presence at best. To drive home this fact, in a recent survey more than 90% of 88 executives representing Big Pharma firms said “no” when asked: Does your company engage potential or current customers via social media?
By and large, pharma companies have been extremely conservative in their approach to social media. In addition to a lack of clear guidelines, many firms have kept the medium at arm’s length due mainly compliance concerns related to Adverse Event reporting and potential off-label discussion between reps and patients taking place in a public forum...
While this strategy may have kept stakeholders in compliance happy, generally speaking it has been extremely short-sighted and resulted in significant missed opportunities for the industry in terms of branding and generating goodwill with its customers. If anything, it has helped fuel the perception of an industry more concerned with protecting itself from liability than responding to the needs and concerns of its customers.
On the face of it, pharma is not alone in being heavily regulated. ...
Relative to the US, in the EU pharma companies, in collaboration with regulators, are making greater efforts to leverage social media to monitor adverse events. More specifically, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) has been created in the aim to build electronic reporting platforms and mobile apps to enable patient reporting of adverse events to regulatory authorities themselves. One can certainly speculate whether these practices will make their way over the Atlantic.
When reviewed in its entirety, it’s not difficult to conclude that compliance issues alone fail to explain fully pharma’s disdain for the medium. If nothing else, a significant reason for the industry’s hands-off approach most likely stems from pervasive skepticism of the channel’s overall benefit for an industry that generally does not usually have direct relationships with its end-customers.
In light of evolving consumer preferences, this argument looks increasingly silly and out of date. Pharma must accept the fact the relationship it enjoys with its customers doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Its customers are also customers of firms in other industries, and consequently bring a high level of service expectations based on these other non-pharma interactions. In terms of providing a positive and rewarding customer experience, pharma is now competing with these brands and must attempt to live up to the lofty standards they set.
And let’s face it, consumers are talking about pharma companies whether they are using social media or not. And believe it or not, pharma’s customers actually want pharma to play a bigger role in social media-sphere. As proof, Manhattan Research recently reported that 42% of online consumers think pharma companies should be involved in online health communities.
Now that social media guidelines are falling into place, in coming months we can probably expect to see a growing shift in mentality across the industry as firms recalibrate their marketing strategy to include a social component. Due to heavy regulations and ever-present compliance concerns, of course, jumping on the social media bandwagon will still require a measured and deliberate approach. But it will require an approach nevertheless...!
A survey of patients with chronic conditions showed that most are willing to share their health information with physicians, other patients, researchers, and drug companies to improve the quality and safety of care. In this respect, a second survey revealed, their attitudes are not too different from those of the general population.
The two polls were conducted by PatientsLikeMe (PLM), a social network for patients with medical conditions, and Consumer Reports National Testing and Research Center. PLM surveyed its own members, and Consumer Reports polled a group of consumers that more closely represented the US population. The results of both surveys were reported in an Institute of Medicine (IOM)discussion paper.
The PatientsLikeMe survey showed that people with chronic conditions are willing to share their health information if it could help others. Of respondents, 94% would be willing to share to help doctors improve care; 94% would be willing to help other patients like them; and 92% would be willing to share to help researchers learn more about their disease.
ccording to the latest IMS report on social media Wikipedia is the leading single source of healthcare information for patients and healthcare professionals. Wikipedia is used throughout the entire patient journey, not just at the point of treatment initiation or change in therapy and the correlation between Wikipedia use and medicine use
can be identified for a large number of disease areas. Facebook who?
While buzz on Twitter will never outweigh critical data in a peer-reviewed publication, social media is becoming an important part of our industry’s dialogue. The oncology market is no exception, as insight gleaned from recent Twitter traffic and trends reveals.
Alert: social media guidance from the FDA has been issued. It’s not comprehensive. It’s not the final word. But it is eye-opening. And as I read it, the FDA has laid the groundwork for pharma companies to move ahead with proactive social media engagement. See if you agree:
The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics worked up a methodology for assessing the effectiveness of pharma’s social media efforts across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, according to three indices: reach (total number of people reached through each channel via likes, shares and re-tweets); relevance (extent to which content is being shared and forwarded); and relationship (amount of back and forth between company and patient).
Those pharmas hitting the trifecta scored best on the cumulative “Social Media Engagement Index.” Results were tallied over a two-year period. Here are the top ten pharma engagers, per IMS Health. To read the full report, which discusses the role of Wikipedia, healthcare professionals’ use of social media, and a summary of social media regulatory policy in the US, Canada and the EU, click here. And the winners are:
IMS Health Social Engagement Index
1. Johnson & Johnson
6. Boehringer Ingelheim
In a separate article, consultants at Capgemini Consulting Life Sciences wonder if social media in pharma has reached a tipping point. PharmExec’s sibling company, CBI, is hosting its annual iPharma conference in New York City this May.
Accenture’s latest Consumer Survey on Patient Engagement shows that patients want to be more active, engaged participants in their healthcare. Risk bearers would be wise to change at pace with consumers’ communication preferences.
Is healthcare ready for empowered and digitally demanding patients? ￼ That is the question posed by IMS via their newest report “Engaging patients through social media”. It’s a good report and supports what I learned over a years worth of research. Here are the key findings..
Due to patient trust in clinicians and the broad reach of social media, healthcare professionals (HCPs) are in a prime position to drive better healthcare outcomes through social media.
For the healthcare industry, it is becoming increasingly important to be able to react quickly and decisively to events on social media. Mid-sized, specialized and consumer care companies are leading the change from uni-directional broadcasting of information to an engaging and relationship-orientated online conversation. However, in general, the industry needs to become less risk averse to new engagements with stakeholders to remain relevant in the overallhealthcare discussion.
A bias persists that doctors don’t use technology enough, particularly social media and apps. A Poll by Sermo however shows that while some doctors are reluctant to enter the digital pool, once they adopt, they adopt enthusiastically. Doctors are open to adopting more technology to manage their practices and they embrace medical reference apps.
The most popular smart phone for physicians is the iPhone according to MedCrunch. A few top apps are listed below
Medscape. Used by over 3 million doctors, nurses and medical students worldwide, Medscape is big. You can use it for medical news, clinical reference to things like drugs, diseases, conditions and procedures, and even provides medical education.
EpocratesRx. This app is popular for drug interactions, research, Pill ID and medicine calculators. The lite version is free, but you can purchase the full version for $160.
NeuroMind is a great app for neurologists, neurosurgeons and med students. It provides basic safety checklist requirements via the World Health Organization, and has “interactive clinical decision support.” It is the number one neuro app with over 140,000 downloads.
In a previous post on this blog, Catch on to content marketing, I wrote that Pharma’s content-marketing opportunity is to make sure that when a doctor or a patient goes searching for health information that the right content is there waiting for them. In the same post I quoted Dr Candice O’Sullivan of Australia’s Wellmark agency describing Pharma as “an industry well used to the rigours of consistently producing high-quality content.”
And yet, millions of patients and doctors still go to Wikipedia every month for the answers to their questions. I think that’s what’s known on the internet as a #Fail.
A new mobile game app designed by CyberDoctor showed improvements in medication adherence, diet and exercise in diabetes patients, according to a study.
The company said that breakthrough clinical trial results for the game, called PatientPartner," documented for the first time the effectiveness of a story-driven game in changing health behavior and biomarkers. The study was conducted among 100 nonadherence patients at Hershey, Pa.-based Pinnacle Health Systems and presented at the Health2.0 Conference Wednesday in Santa Clara, Calif.