We are seeing a major shift in healthcare brought on by cultural and socioeconomic forces. The population is aging, chronic conditions that require management during patients’ daily lives are on the rise, and Accountable Care is putting pressure on healthcare systems to measure and quantify results. Alongside these issues, we are seeing widespread connectivity emerge across all economic classes. Portio Research estimates some 6.9 billion cell phones are currently in use worldwide. That’s up from 2 billion in 2005, according to Wireless Intelligence.
Advances in materials and propulsion methods are allowing for such wonders as tiny bio-compatible motors that could deliver drugs in a highly targeted fashion, or nanomotors that could etch out nanoscale electronics.
via This is a question that we healthcare communicators have been fielding from clients (and, frankly, discussing among ourselves) since the advent of social media as we try to engage with healthcare professionals. Some have maintained that physicians’ level of tech-savvy rivals the quality of their handwriting – not so great. Forced to be connected only by the mandate of electronic health records, physicians aren’t active online due to packed appointment schedules, privacy concerns or the desire to remain unbiased as related to their health system or practice.
A new report by my colleague Greg Matthews, called “Missing the Forest For the Trees”, lays this old stereotype to bed. According to a 2012 study by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, cited by Matthews, 61% of physicians scan social media for medical information weekly, while another 46% contribute to that information on a weekly basis. In addition, online social channels are having an impact on clinical decisions – according to a Manhattan Research study also cited in the book, 39% of doctors say that the information they receive from social channels is influential to very influential on their clinical decisions. I don’t want to give away too much of “Missing the Forest For the Trees” – it’s a quick, worthwhile read – but all these stats point to our need, as healthcare companies and communicators, to be online learning from and engaging with doctors. Physician-directed content strategy for platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn, will be seen by physicians, and sponsored ads make it easier than ever to target the right ones. Matthews makes another critical point – there is a tremendous opportunity for companies to harness the power of online physician advocates, engaging them to spread the word about our therapy, device or awareness building effort. Physicians are our “citizen” journalists.
Matthews has led the development of MDigitalLife, a database that has indexed the digital footprints of nearly a half-million physicians around the world. This data can be harnessed by healthcare companies in a myriad of ways including influencer identification and conversation analysis. MDigitalLife is also a great source for research about physician online activity with a treasure trove of free resources on its website. Social media is not new, but this way of thinking about physicians on social media is, and healthcare companies who engage physicians through social media very well may find a new partner in spreading the word. - See more at: http://brewlife.com/insights/doctors-really-social-media/#sthash.517J8QKg.dpuf
Whether it’s striving for simplicity in design or recognizing that people are capable of countless mistakes while using something, Qmed has collected feedback from our audience and added it to our list of dos and don’ts.
Rowan Norrie's insight:
Excellent guidelines for managing medtech design. If you follow all of these you will eliminate most of the reasons why medtech products fail in market or even before launch.
One in three of us is allergic. From grass pollen to latex, peanuts to pets, allergies send 20,000 of people in England to hospital every year. But generations before did not suffer from this epidemic, so what is it that's making us so allergic in our modern world?
Among the 50 largest drug makers in the world, more than half still aren’t actively using social media to engage healthcare consumers or patients. Most of them primarily use social media as a broadcasting channel, and no more than 10 are on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.
Even with drug makers’ recent increases in digital spending, the pharmaceutical industry is repeatedly said to be a laggard in adoption of social media.
Drugmakers’ common excuse for remaining social media wallflowers is largely due to the regulatory uncertainty and the doubts on how to measure social ROI.
1/ The rise of the empowered patient
With the role of social media rapidly expanding, patients are increasingly turning to popular social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs and forums obtaining and sharing information related to their health.
In the US, for example, over one third of consumers manage their own health and are using social media to help them make important healthcare decisions.
The consequent empowerment of the patient in making decisions around their treatment has led them to be more aware and have a greater say in the treatment process.
But it’s not just patients who go to social media to voice their opinions. The pharma industry has multiple stakeholders who actively research and discuss online, including patients, physicians, payers, caregivers, providers and advocacy groups.
This trend only heightens the imperative need for pharmaceutical companies and regulators to take notice and contribute to the overall healthcare discussion, particularly to the appropriate use of medicines.
But how do you actually know what physicians are saying about your drug? Can you identify your patients’ primary concerns about your market leading product?
What are the conversation themes around managing the disease? How does the online reputation of your brand compare to competitors? Are patients switching brands and if so, why?
2/ Using social media as a research tool
The most immediate benefit that social media has to offer pharmaceutical companies is as a research tool.
The answers to the questions above require a more proactive embrace of social media analytics tools by pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Social media analytics tools, such as Brandwatch Analytics, can mine not only Twitter but also public forums, blogs, news sites, Facebook and other social networks to uncover patients and physicians’ sentiments and opinions.
One of our clients, Creation Healthcare, did exactly such a thing not too long ago. They indexed half a million healthcare professional profiles across thousands of sites using Brandwatch Analytics to understand how treatments and products are perceived by those who may prescribe them every day.
The online market research consultancy was able to spot healthcare trends and concerns months before others did. Offering unrivaled insight into the views of healthcare professionals, Creation Healthcare’s research business attracted six times more clients than before.
Identifying the opinions of healthcare professionals and patients is, indeed, a complicated process, particularly because of the amount of noise and spam surrounding pharmaceuticals. With boolean operators and rules, you can filter out spammy websites and irrelevant views.
3/ Using social media to foster discussions with your stakeholders
Understanding the kind of people who make up the conversation in your niche can prove far more insightful than listening only to those who mention your product or brand.
In a recent report we analyzed thousands of mentions online using social media analyticsto understand people’s attitude towards HIV treatment and to inform targeted messaging.
Their target audience is often seen as being the healthcare professional. But when analyzing all HIV discussion on social media, it turns out it’s the patients, caregivers and those that actually aren’t directly affected by HIV who offer the most powerful insights.
The general public spoke nearly three times more about HIV treatment than healthcare professionals, suggesting a general interest in the topic and that online influencers may differ from offline.
Diving deeper into this data, we noticed that the different stakeholders are chatting about HIV in entirely different places.
Data like this could dramatically impact how a drug manufacturer develops its communication strategies and targets its messaging.
4/ Building tailored marketing strategies
As shown below, social media analytics can be applied at various stages of a drug lifecycle; right from your drug discovery stage (understanding unmet needs) to the launch (improving your brand messaging) to the maturity stage (monitoring brand reputation and intimately connecting patients and physicians).
Insights generated during each stage can be utilized across all departments in your company.
If you’re still analyzing the conversation about your own brand or products, then now is the time to rethink your social media activities.
While social media is not a panacea, it provides an arguably underused opportunity across the business to research, understand and boost discussions with all healthcare consumers.
There’s no such thing as having a remarkable drug without having tailored strategies to appeal to your own target audience.
Qmed (formerly Medical Device Link) is the world's first completely prequalified supplier directory and news source for medical device OEMs. Find medical device suppliers and IVD suppliers who are FDA-registered, ISO 13485- and ISO 9001-certified. Qmed is also the home of Medical Product Manufacturing News and the most relevant breaking news for the medical device industry.
Leonard Kish’s first eBook titled, “Patient Engagement is a Strategy, Not a Tool. How healthcare organizations can build true patient relationships that last a lifetime.”
This eBook explores the following patient engagement topics:
What Is Patient Engagement?The Quest for AttentionFrom Technology to MotivationThe Rise of Contextual MedicineAligning Goals with Effective MessagingAlignment Through Social StrategyEstablish a Patient Engagement Strategy
Leonard Kish is a long-time contributor to HL7Standards.com who writes about patient engagement topics as they relate to healthcare technology, the government’s Meaningful Use requirements, and how proven behavior economic models should be considered by healthcare organizations and companies focused on developing patient-facing technology
IN the late 17th century, the Dutch naturalist Anton van Leeuwenhoek looked at his own dental plaque through a microscope and saw a world of tiny cells “very prettily a-moving.” He could not have predicted that a few centuries later, the trillions of microbes that share our lives — collectively known as the microbiome — would rank among the hottest areas of biology.
These microscopic partners help us by digesting our food, training our immune systems and crowding out other harmful microbes that could cause disease. In return, everything from the food we eat to the medicines we take can shape our microbial communities — with important implications for our health. Studies have found that changes in our microbiome accompany medical problems from obesity to diabetes to colon cancer.
The big uptick in medtech megamergers is just the beginning of a profound set of changes facing the medical device industry, according to a new report from ATKearney. The industry’s profit margins are set to fall drastically, falling nine points from 25% in 2012 to 16% by 2020, the report predicts.
Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, Vol. 7, Issue 1 Jan. 2013.
El-Gayar, Timsina and Nawar.
Background: Advancements in smartphone technology coupled with the proliferation of data connectivity has resulted in increased interest and unprecedented growth in mobile applications for diabetes self-management. The objective of this article is to determine, in a systematic review, whether diabetes applications have been helping patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes self-manage their condition and to identify issues necessary for large-scale adoption of such interventions. Methods: The review covers commercial applications available on the Apple App Store (as a representative of commercially available applications) and articles published in relevant databases covering a period fromJanuary 1995 to August 2012. The review included all applications supporting any diabetes self-management task where the patient is the primary actor. Results: Available applications support self-management tasks such as physical exercise, insulin dosage or medication, blood glucose testing, and diet. Other support tasks considered include decision support, notification/alert, tagging of input data, and integration with social media. The review points to the potential for mobile applications to have a positive impact on diabetes self-management. Analysis indicates that application usage is associated with improved attitudes favorable to diabetes self-management. Limitations of the applications include lack of personalized feedback; usability issues, particularly the ease of data entry; and integration with patients and electronic health records. Conclusions: Research into the adoption and use of user-centered and sociotechnical design principles is needed to improve usability, perceived usefulness, and, ultimately, adoption of the technology. Proliferation and efficacy of interventions involving mobile applications will benefit from a holistic approach that takes into account patients’ expectations and providers’ needs.
Apple is currently in talks with electronic health record provider, Allscripts, as well as several hospitals, in an effort to discuss the use of its cloud-based health information platform known as HealthKit.
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