Pharma Tapping into the Power of Social Media

Thursday, June 23, 2011 13:24

By Barbara Ficarra RN, BSN, MPA

PharmaVOICE Tapping into the Power by Getting Personal May 2011

Recently quoted in PharmaVOICE in the May 2011 edition, I presented my thoughts on the significance of the pharmaceutical industry tapping into patient communities through social networks and the importance of engaging with patients.

In a recent article in PharmaVOICE, May 2011, by Robin Robinson, “Tapping into the Power by Getting Personal,” thought leaders in the field explain the benefits for the pharmaceutical industry tapping into what is happening in patient community social networks.  “The industry can no longer conduct business as usual:  it must get personal by using social media to build healthy relationships.”

Sound bites from the field include:

Brian Loew, Co-founder and CEO of Inspire, which builds online communities for patients and caregivers and helps life-sciences organizations connect with them; David Williams III, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Business Development at PatientsLikeMe, a privately funded company dedicated to making a difference in the lives of patients diagnosed with life-changing diseases; and Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA, journalist, media broadcaster, speaker, medical blogger, consultant, media trainer and health expert, and the creator, executive producer, and host of the Health in 30® Radio Show (presently on hiatus) and founder of Healthin30.

Brian Loew, Co-founder and CEO of Inspire

“There is a shift wherein patients are not just taking part in their care but defining it.  Patients are making decisions about how to manage their diseases, they are defining their quality of life, and deciding how their dollars are spent.  Historically, the industry has sought to answer its own questions.  There are now opportunities…” – Brian Loew

David Williams III, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Business Development at PatientsLikeMe

“Social media is the canvas on which patients paint the entire picture of the experience they’re having with their disease and how it impacts their lives.  By using social media, pharmaceutical companies can get a glimpse of that picture and can begin aligning their interests with patients’ interests.  As a result, you’ll see faster development of treatments and…” – David Williams III

Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA, Journalist, Media Broadcaster, Speaker, Medical Blogger, Founder Heathin30, Registered Nurse, Health Educator

“Patients are empowered and engaged in their healthcare.  They are searching online for health information and they are active in social networking sites.  Patients are looking for health information, treatment options, and emotional support.  Pharmaceutical companies can develop their marketing strategies based on what is happening in patient social networks.  Companies can gain insights into patient attitudes and behaviors.  They can learn the needs of patients, and they can gain knowledge about their feelings and thoughts in real time.  By deeply understanding the needs of patients, pharma companies can recognize how patients engage and interact with others in their social networking circles…” – Barbara Ficarra

Other experts:

  • Amy J Burnett, Electronic Media Branch, Division of News and Electronic Media, Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Kevin Green, VP, Social Marketing, Digital Influence Group
  • David B. Nash, M.D., Founding Dean Jefferson School of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Peter Metz, VP, Sales, Digital Scientific Solutions Division, Curry Rockefeller Group
  • Michael Parks, Executive VP, Vox Media
  • Steve Rothman, President, Chief Creative Officer, Cell Division

For the complete article and to find out what these experts are saying, please visit PharmaVoice.

On Monday, June 27, 2011, I will be presenting at the Eyeforpharma Conference in Philadelphia, PA on patient engagement through social networking.  Presentation Title: “Empower patients to take charge of their health care.”

To learn about the eyeforpharma presentation, please visit Events.

Your turn

We would love to hear your insightful thoughts.  Health consumers, how do you feel about the pharma industry tapping into your social networks?  What type of information from the pharma industry will be helpful?  Health care professionals, why do you think patient engagement is important?

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One Response to “Pharma Tapping into the Power of Social Media”

  1. Christopher Roseberry, MD says:

    June 25th, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Good that pharma states that they are part of social media to better focus on patient’s needs. But, patients need to realize that, unlike medical professionals, pharma does not really hold the patient as their primary interest. Their primary interest is their business and that means selling a product. So, I must take their stance with a grain of salt. It will certainly help their ability to market  their product better but does that really help patient care? Probably not. 

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