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#DigPharm Day 1- social media & mobile workshops

Posted on Monday, 18th October, 2010

The Digital Pharma East conference kicked off today with four pre-conference workshops. (Key word being “workshop” which translates into a “non-didactic” environment of open interaction.)

Depending on your personal learning objectives, pre-conference workshops can be a very worthwhile investment. Small groups, focused topic coverage for 3 hours.

Today I achieved success on that proof of concept.

Of the four ½ day workshops offered on Day 1 of Digital Pharma East Conference, I chose to attend these 2:

  • Social Media: How to do it- an AstraZeneca Case Study
  • Going Mobile: Innovation & Best Practices

Lucky for me I ended up sitting next to a great conference participant Matt Hallett @matthallett who flew in from Seattle and works for @appature a company offering Web-based marketing solutions for healthcare companies; integrating multiple data sources together for target audiences to ensure their information to inform actionable designs amongst various platforms of engagement. So in addition to my workshops, I got to learn about his business as well.

Diving into the workshops first up was Gigi Peternik, (@Gigi_Peterkin) The Associate Director of Interactive Media for AstraZeneca (@AstraZenecaUS).

Social Media: How to do it- an AstraZeneca Case Study

Gigi gave a terrific overview of how her team (n=2, god bless her) has built a corporate social media governance for AstraZeneca US. They are currently in progress of building a global digital team for the company.

Gigi’s presentation was great and surrounded with tried and tested pilots for integrating social media POVs for AstraZeneca’s corporate image; guidelines which have informed brand adoption at the “local-level” as well through a separate Director of Social Media for the brands.

Focusing on having a corporate presence first, AstraZeneca had a lean crew dedicated to this effort and which involved core stakeholders from marketing, regulatory and legal.

AstraZeneca has embraced social media externally by utilizing Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and a corporate Blog— cross platform content pollination at it’s best.

They utilize their ad agency to monitor social media.  With a team of 2, this is a wise use of $$, investment and resources for them.

She mentioned that Facebook is a great platform to be in (if that is where your target audience is) but yet a hard platform to keep up with, because once you’ve figured out the interface allowance of real estate/restrictions and launched your page/presence, before you know it Facebook has gone and changed it again— and pharma is last on their list to be concerned with when the questions start flooding in.

Take away: There is no “1 and done” when it comes to social media initiatives. You cant just close out the initiatives. Being prepared for changing environments across social media and digital platforms is to be expected and should be accounted for in the refinement phase.

She also talked about companies not hiring more people to do more work. Excellent point #2 as we see this across the pharma marketing landscape. When asked how her team manages to keep infusing information, education, internal adoption of social media platforms and ongoing changes within the regulatory environment (lets face it- without FDA guidance on social media- an FDA letter for another company will sometimes prompt change in any marketer’s current strategy if they know their efforts are moving along the same lines as the letter receivee.)

Gigi champions her efforts with:

  • Quarterly reports and newsletters
  • AstraZeneca’s Internal social media platform (was not revealed to audience but they sure do love Yammer!)
  • Frequent internal digital media and social media bootcamp presentations
  • Internal employee social media advocacy development (influence on the inside)

At the end of the workshop we were exposed to a hypothetical case of pharma company’s corporate digital structure and were asked to give a current digital diagnosis of their digital communications platform along with what works, what’s missing, what would you add and what would you like to see in 6 months.

It was a great exercise.

My fav slide of the day was AstraZeneca’s approach to social engagement.

Crawl. Walk. Run. Fly.

Going Mobile: Innovation & Best Practices Workshop

A topic near and dear to my geeked out heart. I could talk for days on this—many aspects to mobile that most doing, but explore beyond the big 4 letters. Apps.

Mobile isn’t just a phone, it’s a way of consuming content from a non-tethered device (computer/plug). It’s a preference, an ease of use and a channel that should remain highly strategized amongst segmentation and generational uptake/preference.

Olivier Zitoun, CEO and founder of EVEO lead the Going Mobile: Innovation & Best Practices workshop. Amongst many other digital offerings, Eveo has an entire studio just for building and producing mobile technology. Ad Age didn’t recognize them as the #1 Independent digital healthcare agency for nothing!

Olivier covered off on a lot in 3 hours:

  • Mobile usage data
  • Content Consumption
  • Mobile tactics (apps, mobile web, SMS)
  • Group discussion on building and integrating tactics through the mobile channel into your communication strategy

Olivier started off stating that mobile development and usage will over take desktop usage by 2014. Something we heard earlier this year from Mary Meeker at Morgan Stanley.

Olivier also went on to note some telling stats about HCPs mobile preference and usage (as reported from a recent 2010 Spyglass/Manhattan 2010 research)

  • 60% want a iPad
  • 44% own an iPhone or iPod touch
  • 37% plan to buy an iPhone

# of Rxs written by “Mobile-HCPs vs. Desktop HCPs”

  • desktop physician = 153
  • mobile physicians = 197

A closer look at Med students

  • 42% of med students plan to purchase a new device this year
  • 69% of med students own an iPad and iPhone

And, according to recent ePocrates 2010 study – 69% of med students own an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch

A closer look at apps

  • 300,000 apps in iTunes store
  • 4,300 medical apps in iTunes store
  • 33% of apps are for patients

Recent MobiHealth report shows the following report: 2010 MobiHealth World of Health and Medical Apps

Intended use of medical apps

Current Q2 2010 MobiHealth report shows 48% of all medical apps for patients are for Medical adherence, tracking and reminders.

Sub categories of apps

What’s missing?

NO ONE KNOWS what apps are actually being downloaded and used, frequently.

Olivier cited that “Maybe only 10 apps are good for HCPs”

Take away: Define your needs assessment for your HCP audience. What isn’t already out there? Don’t duplicate what ePocrates can already give them.

Getting into SMS

Fun fact: there are 4 billion SMS users vs. 1.7 internet users

Great case study example from a recent Kaiser pilot with a patient appointment reminder text campaign.

  • $275,000 savings within a single clinic
  • 1,837 fewer no shows in patient appointment reminders

Building Mobile

  • Mobile app
  • Mobile site
  • SMS

Some takeaways as shared amongst the group discussion

When to develop a mobile site

Mobile sites are relevant for when your HCPs are already using mobile technology— (ePocrates and Medscape)—- they are usually looking for a simple diagnosis test and dosing only. Mobile sites shouldn’t have 100% of the content your normal site has.

When to develop a mobile app

Highly personalized experience for the user- focused content or task, not overloaded with information

Measuring ROI on mobile HCP apps

  • Backend platform tracking system
  • Downloads
  • Aggregated to user/ multi-use, etc…
  • Uses per day/week/month
  • Repeat use
  • Top features being used

What’s important to remember when developing your app?

Think about refinement and ongoing updates. Don’t wait for phase II for that.


  • Create business rules in advance so you know the following
  • When to cache content
  • When to ping server to update app with new content
  • Develop specific content metrics
  • Credentials
  • Safety placement in app
  • Hippa compliance and certification (27011)
  • MLR reviews without device (clickable PDF, and storyboards)

The future of Mobile?

  • new devices
  • blackberry playbook
  • EMRs
  • QR/AQ

Augmented reality apps

Something new to me that I haven’t delved that much into as of late- but iTunes did just create it’s own section for AR apps. Check it out here.

Wrapping up

All in all a great 8 hour day spent workshopping—sorry for those that missed it and I hope this provides a nice dashboard view of what was covered in the 2 sessions I attended.

Now, I’m off for the #digPharm tweetup hosted by Pixels & Pills (@pixelsandpills)

For more updates along the week follow the hashtag #DigPharm- I’m sure there will be lots to learn!


  1. Nicole Johnson
  2. Gigi Peterkin

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