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Pharma is Using Social Media, With Reservations Trend Watch: More than 65% of life-sciences company professionals say their company uses or plans to use social networks at a company level, according to a report by Deloitte. Social Media Leveraging Online Social ­Networks Innovative companies are beginning to leverage online social networks of physicians, patients, and scientists to explore unprecedented opportunities to collect information, communicate important information, and collaborate externally, according to Deloitte. On the other hand, as yet unannounced FDA guidelines, consumer privacy concerns, and an unclear return on investment are among the top three hurdles to widespread adoption of social networking in the life-sciences industry. Despite the potential risks that could be associated with online social networking, half of surveyed respondents who report they are responsible for managing risk related to online social networks say their companies do not have a formal risk policy in place and 43% do not have procedures for managing adverse events. This leaves those companies open to more risk, says Chris Franck, principal, Deloitte Consulting. Mr. Franck suggests that implementing and clearly communicating formal procedures for engaging with customers and managing the risks of social networking are key ways that life-sciences companies can protect their brand integrity, especially in this wait-and-see period of nonexistent FDA guidelines. FDA Guidelines? Don’t Hold Your Breath, and Don’t Hold Back Social Media Efforts On the heels of DDMAC’s announcement in December that there would be no formal social media guidance issued by the FDA until first-quarter 2011 at the earliest, the common response shared by many on industry blogs was so what? Most concur that any FDA guidelines will not be a silver bullet for the concerns held by pharma companies about their engagement in social media. The industry also does not want to wait for the guidelines before venturing into social media waters. Experts suggest that companies should move forward with social media efforts after establishing internal policies regarding monitoring and using social media in corporate and unbranded activities with full transparency. According to InfoMedics Cofounder, President, and CEO Gene Guselli, it doesn’t matter whether there are federal guidelines or not; pharma can still move forward into the social media space. “There is some false hope in waiting for the FDA to tell pharma companies how to engage in the digital age,” he says. “Instead, clients are telling us they’re not interested in one-off brand promotions but long-term engagements that connect patients and doctors. Social media is just one component of this broader shift. Companies that are waiting for social media guidance are leaving dollars on the table.” Seniors Don’t Trust Social Media for Health Information Seniors are less likely to have faith in information about health information found on social media, according to a survey by Capstrat and Public Policy Polling. Respondents older than 65 did not consider information on online forums reliable, suggesting healthcare and pharma marketers will have to use more traditional, authoritative forms of online marketing to reach this group. However, older boomers (ages 46 to 65) were the most likely to do so. This means that in the coming years, as this cohort ages, online health information seeking among seniors should rise rapidly. Now is the time for marketers to sow their seeds online. A focus on seniors means a focus on the needs and desires of a group more likely to be living with a chronic medical condition as well as taking medication, which must translate into helpful advertising. Asked what they found most useful in healthcare ads, users 55 and older cared more than adults in general about drug side effects and safety, in addition to information about diseases and how to cope with them. { For more information, visit Tips for Using Social Data ­Transparently There are more ways for companies to capture social data these days, but with that capability comes a responsibility to consumers, who are especially sensitive to their right to privacy. According to Gigya, a social optimization platform company, there are steps that companies can take to create a positive experience for online consumers. 1. Set expectations and be sure they align with the user experience for your site or app. People expect that if they connect with an existing identity and give access to profile data, you may greet them by name and display their profile photo; they expect that their friends will be accessible. People don’t expect a company to send messages to their friends’ networks on their behalf without their explicit permission; they don’t expect to be asked to share their location if it is not directly relevant to the specific site experience. 2. Put controls in the hands of users. Enable them to opt-in to automated communications about their site activity, such as the “Always do this” or “Never ask me again” options. 3. Create a tab or other user dashboard area on your site that enables people to manage their social connections and user experience preferences, as YouTube does. 4. Make connections relevant. When it comes to “like” data, site trust is a major factor. For example, after connecting on Amazon, the user is presented with product recommendations based on their own likes and gift recommendations based on friends’ birthdays and their likes. Amazon has access to both user data and some friend data, and it is careful to make the application of that data highly relevant to the core site. 5. Keep control. If you are using vendors for social sign-on or for other site features, be sure that each person authenticates with your business and brand, not the vendor. You’ve invested heavily in building your brand, site or app, and your user relationships are an important part of that investment. Don’t give them away to others. These relationships are the foundation for making social scale for your business. { For more information, visit Apps… Bladder Control Support Get BladderFit is an iPhone app developed specifically for those individuals who have trouble controlling bladder movements. Get BladderFit provides useful tools aimed at supporting overactive bladder patients, such as pelvic floor exercises to improve urinary function and a bladder training diary to monitor treatment progress both by the patient and with their physician. Get BladderFit can be tailored to the individual’s condition and comes with personal progress charts and a log book, as well as information and helpful tips on urinary incontinence and how to overcome it. The app has been designed to be a companion for overactive bladder patients, with features that enable them to take control of their condition while on the appropriate medication, providing synergy with existing professional medical treatment for OAB, resulting in enhanced patient treatment satisfaction. Get BladderFit is a free iPhone app supported by Astellas and developed by Photosound. { To download visit: Tweets… Intouch TweetPharm Want to learn who is doing what and how in the pharma industry regarding Twitter? Intouch solutions has created a free resource called TweetPharm. In a nutshell, TweetPharm is a Twitter index that showcases pharma companies participating on Twitter (following, followers, tweets, etc.), and displays the data in an interactive dashboard and infographic. For example, roll over a bubble near J&J’s name, and you can quickly see that Marc Monseau and company have posted more than 1,200 tweets, while Bristol-Myers Squibb only has 122. You can also track who has the most followers and how many Twitter accounts each company is following. Boehringer US is following 1,208 tweet accounts, is being followed by 2,464, and has posted 332 tweets. Interestingly, Boehringer Global’s numbers are roughly twice that of its U.S. sister company. According to Intouch Executive VP Wendy Blackburn, “This data is more than numbers, it has some tremendous stories to tell.” Ms. Blackburn says Intouch has made every effort to make TweetPharm a comprehensive list of the main English-language U.S. and global Twitter presences of major pharma, biotech, and some medical-device companies. { To download, visit http://www.intouchsol. com/tweetpharm Videos… J&J Spreads GoodWill with Care Ring Video Care Ring is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing preventive health services for the uninsured, underinsured, or those otherwise lacking access to affordable, high-quality preventive healthcare in Charlotte, N.C. The organization annually serves more than 10,000 people through a collaborative effort to improve community health. In the spirit of giving, Johnson & Johnson featured a video about Care Ring on its YouTube Johnson & Johnson Health Channel — strategically timed right before the holiday. Racking up almost 3,000 views, the video does not mention J&J or its products. It is an informative and heartwarming message about the caring of others. What a great and smart way to spread goodwill. J&J reported that there have been 3 million upload views of its YouTube material, which is more than all the other views for all of the other pharma channels combined, and rivals the number of uploads for the CDC. { To download, visit: Social Media Trends, Regs, and Apps Featured Briefs: Pharma is Using Social Media, With Reservations Leveraging Online Social Networks Sidebars: Life-Sciences Companies’ Plans to Adopt Social Networks Reliablity of Online Forums for Health Information Seniors Don’t Trust Social Media for Health Information Tips for Using Social Data ­Transparently Tech Check – Apps / Tweets / Videos

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