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Social Media trends, regs, and apps

By Robin Robinson

FDA Expands its Use of Social Media

Trend Watch: Government agency hosts tweetchat on proposed rule for mobile apps

Proposed Rule for Medical Apps Only Applies to Two Categories The proposed federal regulations regarding mobile medical applications will create little change for most app manufacturers, so perhaps the biggest news about the proposed rule is the fact that the FDA held a tweetchat regarding suggestions and questions about the draft guidance. @FDADeviceInfo fielded questions on July 19, 2011, and has since posted updates and reminders to submit comments to the proposed rule. Tweets from the FDA encourage comments be sent by Oct. 19. Search for these hashtags: #fda, #medicaldevice, #FDAApps; or follow @FDADeviceInfo on Twitter for more updates. According to Reuters and countless other reports, only two types of medical mobile apps would need prior FDA approval under the new draft guidelines — those apps that serve as an accessory to an FDA-regulated device and apps that turn a mobile platform into a medical device. The FDA has already been reviewing and approving these types of apps. For example, an app that allows physicians to review CT, MRI, and other scans on Apple’s iPhone or iPad received FDA clearance in February. One of the concerns with these types of devices is that the smaller screen on the mobile devices will distort the integrity of the scan, leading to false or improper diagnoses. The FDA has a total of 10 Twitter accounts, including @US_FDA, @FDACBER, @FDA_drug_info, and @FDAwomen. { For more information on the mobile app ­proposed regulations, visit or follow @FDADeviceInfo. TECH CHECK APPS / TWEETS / VIDEOS Apps… eSplint iPhone Medical App If someone tells you to break a leg, well, there’s an app for that. Created by an emergency nurse for doctors, nurses, techs, interns, and medical/nursing students, eSplint is a multimedia application for iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad that features 11 splinting techniques for upper and lower extremities. The step-by-step instructions include pictures and videos, as well as patient education information. The app can be downloaded for 99 cents on iTunes. { For more information, visit Sermo iPhone Medical App It is now possible for U.S. physicians to put more than 125,000 of their peers in their pocket. The largest online physician-only network is now a free app, but the rub is that only U.S. physicians can access it. Physicians can sign up for Sermo directly via iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. { For more information, visit Tweets… Millennium Joins Twitter Millennium (@millennium_us) has established a presence on Twitter to engage audiences in a way that meets its objectives of joining in the conversation that social media enables, while responsibly communicating with the public, according to its Twitter page. The page clearly defines the guidelines, which includes: mentions and retweets; Millennium will not respond to inflammatory tweets, hateful attacks on Millennium or other Twitter users, or obscene language; Millennium will attempt to answer all comments and questions; however, there may be some things it cannot address, such as questions directly related to financial, legal, regulatory, confidential information, or medical issues. One drawback is that currently the Millennium corporate website does not have a Twitter logo, link, address, or mention that the company is on Twitter; this information is located on the site under the In The News section, which seems like a missed opportunity to inform consumers about what the company is doing. (Editor’s Note: I do like the tweet about where to find the best donuts in town though; way to connect, Millennium.) { For more information, visit ­ Twitter.aspx or follow @millennium_us Facebook… It’s September, is Your Facebook Page Comment Enabled? As of Aug. 15, 2011, pharma-sponsored unbranded pages can no longer prevent Facebook users from commenting on existing posts. Branded pages for specific medications may continue to block Facebook users from commenting on posts. Pharmaceutical companies face unique challenges when participating in social media such as Facebook because comments posted by users may violate FDA guidelines for consumer advertising. To help overcome these challenges, Intouch Solutions has developed an application that integrates with a pharmaceutical-sponsored Facebook page, enabling page owners to manage content through a behind-the-scenes approval process. Below are the details on how the app, called PharmaWall, enables pharma companies to allow Facebook conversations while minimizing risk. » Facebook members can still create new posts and comment on posts, but they are alerted that their post/comment will be reviewed ­before being publishing on the page. » PharmaWall stores new posts/comments in a queue for behind-the-scenes review by the page administrator, who decides whether it will be approved, revised, or declined. » If the content is approved, it is ­published to the Facebook page. » Copies of all content, as well as ­decisions to ­approve, revise, or decline, are ­documented for later review. » PharmaWall also allows messages to be displayed in the news feeds of all ­Facebook members who have “liked” the page, keeping them up to date on news and information from the page sponsor. » Regulatory-friendly features include the ability to display disclaimers and ­product safety information ­prominently. { For more information, visit pharmawall.aspx. ADHD Mom page falls victim to new Facebook policy Just last year, we featured an interview with Tricia Geoghegan, communications lead, neurology and ADHD, McNeil Pediatrics, who initiated the adHD moms facebook page sponsored by Janssen. During that interview for our February 2010 article, A 360-degree View of e-Patient Connections, Ms. Geoghegan stated that at first, in 2008, the site had no comment functionality, and then in 2009, the ability to post pre-moderated comments was added — a major accomplishment at that time. However, less than two years later, due to the new Facebook policy, the site was closed August 9, 2011, with this post: This new policy will alter our ability to consider the appropriateness of comments before they are posted which is important to us as a company in a highly regulated industry. More than 23,700 people liked the page in its three-plus years of existence. Videos… PhRMA Goes Multimedia PhRMA has revamped its website to include interactive content, videos, and mobile accessibility as well as several multichannel features, including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. On the organization’s Facebook page, it states its guidelines for posting and what the organization won’t allow, such as any comments or other content that are illegal, abusive, profane, sexually explicit, excessive foul language, hateful attacks, or are otherwise objectionable. The instructions encourage respectfulness and responsibility when posting, including exercising good judgment when sharing links, image, videos, and comments. PhRMA states it will not censor content based on political or ideological points of view as it is a nonpartisan organization. PhRMA’s YouTube channel has several new videos, including a jazzy patient education presentation about arthritis, what it is, how it is impacting Americans, and what’s being done to treat the many musculoskeletal disorders. { For more information, visit; follow @phrma; friend; download Novo Nordisk Releases Patient ­Education Video I’ve been following Charles Kimball on Twitter since his very first tweets, so I thought I would look and see what Novo Nordisk might be doing in the way of videos. Novo Nordisk partnered with the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series driver to launch the educational program, Drive the Switch. I found several postings, but more interestingly, I found Novo Nordisk’s patient education video on how to inject insulin with one of four of its injection pens. Your Injection-Pen Centre is the official channel for Novo Nordisk devices and for information on using and caring for Novo Nordisk injection pens, including Next Generation FlexPen and NovoPen 4. The video gives very clear, precise instructions on how to properly use the pens. The robotic-like tone used in the voiceover instructions is a bit sterile, and a more human element might be more appealing to viewers. { To download, go to Send us your favorite industry apps, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, and Facebook links to

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