Infographic – Pharma marketing to physicians

The vast majority of physicians today are digitally active, accessing multiple devices and networks as part of their day-to-day activities. Physicians are increasingly interested in video and social media for personal and professional use. These trends have numerous implications about what pharma cannot miss in creating its marketing plans.

  • According to recent studies 72% of physicians use social media sites for personal and professional reasons. Based on current trends 81% of doctors will own a smartphone by the end of 2012.
  • 73% of physicians use their smartphones to search content online while 55% of them use mobile apps.
  • 35% of physicians said they think tablets are a useful tool for pharma reps. According to their answers they find presentations a lot more effective when carried out with the help of a tablet device.
  • Online videos are also more and more popular among physicians. 82% of them prefer video content on WebMD while 50-50% of them watch videos on pharma websites and YouTube as well.

 

(Source: publicishealthware.com)

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Consumer use of social media in healthcare

Social media is becoming a bigger part of the collection of health information, but it varies by health condition and treatment options how patients use social channels during their online search. The more serious the condition, the more time patients spend online researching with social media tools as part of the equation.

This is one of the findings of a recent qualitative research project designed and carried out by Rich Meyer, an experienced DTC marketer working in the pharma industry for over 10 years now. The study showed other interesting trends about how consumers are using social media for seeking healthcare information and how it influences their decisions as well.

Here are the key findings of the research:

  • Seeking health information online is often triggered by health concerns of a patient or family member. People usually do not search for health-related information proactively. The search is initiated after experiencing the symptoms.
  • There is not one online source that is the most popular when it comes to searching for health info. There is no ultimate source. People in older age groups usually start with search engines, and often mention being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of health-related information online. One of the main problems for internet users is complexity, the often feel frustrated when not finding answers to more simple questions.
  • While some people use social media sites during their search, they rarely trust the accuracy of posts. The main reason to go to social media sources is to read about others’ experiences with the same health concerns. This is trend is more dominant with more serious conditions.
  • People are concerned about personal and data privacy, so they are usually not comfortable posting their medical information on social media sites. This was even a bigger of a concern for older demographics.
  • Before making a healthcare-related decision, women usually do more research online and go to a lot more websites than men.
  • While physicians are still a very important source of medical information, the need for a more cooperative approach to healthcare is obvious. Participants stated that they would like to discuss different options with their doctors.
  • Another interesting and possibly worrying aspect of the study is that during focus groups participants didn’t mention pharma company websites as a health-related online source at all. This might be due to the fact that they questioned the trustworthiness of pharma companies all together.

(Source: Pharmaphorum.com)

Pharma Websites Among The Most Effective Online Platforms

There is another reason why titles like “Pharma is behind on the web” and “Pharma doesn’t get e-health” are getting outdated. According to the Bowen Craggs Index published in the Financial Times the websites of Roche and Novartis are in the top 10 most effective portals among corporate sites. Other pharma companies were also included – AstraZeneca took the 13th and Sanofi the 17th place on the list.

One can read numerous articles about how pharma is the slowest industry to adapt to digital and online solutions and still, some companies like Roche and Novartis managed to be relevant and secure better positions than robust corporations like Nestle, Microsoft and Coca-Cola. This means that other pharma companies cannot use the industry’s bad example anymore for their own lack of online initiatives.

In its study Bowen Craggs & Co points out several issues that pharma companies with less effective web presence have in common. Most of the time portals operated in the United States are supposed to work as the corporation’s global site but it lacks information about worldwide initiatives and activities. Another issue is that pharma companies are trying to put together their websites as an iPad app, but these sites only look like apps, they don’t operate like ones. If the functionality of the application setup is missing, there is no point in turning our portals into applications.

There is another issue concerning mobile trends – out of 81 companies analyzed in the study only 25 of them had separate mobile versions. Among the numerous pharma companies only four of them, namely Bayer, Boehringer, Pfizer and Shire have websites accessible on mobile devices without a problem.

While I don’t necessarily think that one single index number can describe a company’s online efforts, but it is certainly helpful in creating an environment a little more competitive. This way pharma companies can see how well others are doing and realize – an industry is not behind in general. There are teams and organizations within the industry that are up-to-date, using cutting-edge solutions and have no problem adapting to new and creative online solutions to be more effective.

(Source: PMLiVE.com)

22 Tips To Create Great Content

They say content is king. But what exactly makes your content worthy of that title? It is nearly impossible to be witty, interesting and informative at the same time post after post, article after article. The inforgraphic below tries to ease the pain of many publishers dealing with writer’s block.

Involving your team, your readers or interviewing someone seem like good ways to spice up your blog posts. Similarly case studies usually provide interesting material for practice-focused articles that attract a big number of readers. Check out further tips to create great content and to fight the lack of inspiration.

What’s your best method for finding subjects to write about? Feel free to share in the comment section!

(Source: Ragan’s Healthcare Communication News)

Physicians Shouldn’t Shy Away From Online Reviews

There have been reports about physicians trying to avoid a negative online reputation by getting their patients sign a contract where they give up their right to provide any information about their doctor on any internet platform. This is only a way to turn our backs to the issue and not concentrating on the main goal of a practice: to provide quality patient care where the doctor doesn’t have to be afraid of bad reviews.

Since in healthcare people are treating people, the patient experiences are not going to be black and white. But if the majority of patients are satisfied, even a few bad reviews can’t destroy one’s reputation. This is one case where prevention is not better than cure.

There is information about your practice whether you like it or not, mostly reviews provided by your patients online. Portals focusing mainly on patient experience are getting more and more recognition and attention. They are rapidly becoming the top search results on Google. Physicians have a choice to make: try to stop this trend or monitor and contribute content themselves.

Let’s be honest: stopping patients to look for and spread healthcare-related information on the internet is a task more fit for an imaginary character with unlimited time and energy than for a doctor with a busy schedule. There is no sign that suggests the decline of interest in patients-created anecdotes online. People like to search for information about a physician and usually they get what they’re looking for in patient-created content.

So instead of trying to put a stop on people turning to the internet with healthcare-related questions (obviously this is out of a physician’s power), doctors should be proactive and provide useful information about their practices. Having a user-friendly website about their practice and monitor online content about their work is not optional anymore. Whether physicians take part in it or not, whether they try to discourage patients to review them online, they can’t erase their online presence. But they can choose to have a say in what is there to be found about them on the internet.

(Source of image: Manage Your Online Reputation)

Comments On Pharma’s Engagement With Healthcare Professionals

Recently I stumbled upon a thought-provoking article online on pharma’s engagement with healthcare professionals. I found the questions and the subject of the post highly interesting. Reading the article made it even more clear for me that without set goals and selecting the most effective tools, we are going to ask ourselves the same question for years to come: “What has pharma really done to engage with healthcare professionals?”

The article is a bit contradictory in the sense that first it states that pharma is not actively involved in healthcare professional communities, but then goes on the emphasize pharma’s online engagement. In the beginning it argues: “The HCP communities are all independent, pharma’s not involved. Setting aside the fact that most survive commercially through industry sponsorship and funding.” First of all you can’t ignore pharma’s financial involvement. It influences the discussions and the operation of these communities. But is funding the right kind of engagement? Is it engagement? I don’t think so. Unless you are an active participant of the conversations happening online, you are not engaging. You might be providing the platform for the discussion, but you are not part of it. Financial tools are not social tools.

The article states that pharma is indeed engaging. But with whom? Patients? Healthcare providers? With each other? The post doesn’t clarify. This has to be decided. Pharma has to have a clear goal about who to engage with. Patients, healthcare professionals require completely different ways of communication and engagement.

The post also argues, that pharma is engaging online since “we are all patients. (…) the paradigm shifts in how we all manage our healthcare needs, as well as how we interact with healthcare providers.” While I don’t think this argument is 100% true I found the comparison between pharma and patients more problematic. Pharma shouldn’t engage online as a patient. It has an entirely different role in discussions. It should not operate in social media as patients, but for them. Pharma could certainly learn a lot about patients from the way they connect online, the way they use social platforms for health-related issues. But pharma has numerous other responsibilities that have to be considered. As the article mentions, this is a highly regulated industry, and so social media action has to stay align with all regulations. This is another reason why we can’t compare pharma and its online engagement to patients and their online presence.

So while further debating the role of pharma in social media and online engagement, we have to build on those debates and act on them. Discussions between social media moguls and marketing professionals about the importance of social sites and communication is not enough. It is also a classic case of preaching to the convinced. If pharma wants to connect with healthcare professionals it has to use the right tools. Not only the financial, but the social ones. The platforms to do so are already there.

(Source: PMLiVE)

A Day In The Digital Life

These days we wake up and go to sleep surrounded by technology. And the time spent in between is not different in any way. Here are some disturbing and thought provoking stats. If the numbers don’t convince us that we are hooked on devices and are addicted to internet, just think about what you would do in case of a power outage. Read a book without the TV or laptop on? Strange idea, right?

According to the image below 35% of people update their application even before getting out of bed. We read or watch the news while eating, preferably on a screen and not in print. What is more dangerous, 3 of 4 young people can’t tear themselves apart from their cell phones while driving, 64% of them even texting on the road. We use our computers at work and at school, 51% of people doing research while working, and 70% of students taking notes with their laptops.

Using these devices is not always productive. The numbers show that while 2/3 of content opened by students in school is distractive, employees are not a lot better either. 25% of them watch news clips, 15% viral videos, 9 psort clips. 4% of them even have the time to watch full movies at work. We can’t even seperate from our electronic devices while in the bathroom 40% of people using their phonesin the restrooms. After getting home we don’t allow ourselves to be disconnected: 60% of us have the TV and computer on at the same time while a staggering 95% of people use electronic devices right before going to bed. And activity that doctors strongly object.

 

(Source: Social Media Today)