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#digpharm Follow-up: An Actionable Plan

Posted on Friday, 22nd October, 2010

Now that we’re back home—what to do what to do…?

Unlike my day 1 #digpharm recap of the 2 workshops I attended re: AZ Social Media Case Study and Going Mobile (which were easy to capture in under 1500 words) I will not attempt to recap the entire Digital Pharma East Conference that took place over the last week Oct 18- 21st in Philadelphia, PA.

If you’re really looking for  an in-depth play-by-play recap of each of the tracks—your best bet may be jumping on Twitter and searching the hashtag #digpharm. It will offer you a hierarchical /linear flow from Day 1- Day 4 with a plethora of POVs from various conference attendees.

#digpharm follow-up

I choose to focus on establishing an actionable follow-up plan, to be taken into consideration for all us marketing professionals out there. Follow-up is key to a successful real-world application of any learning experience, and time is of the essence.

Highlighting conference themes may provide a categorized (and easily digestible) approach to the content delivered during the conference, and more importantly offer guidance on the actionable follow-up we chose to take, based on our own individual needs.


  • Business/Brand objectives

  • Insights/Research

  • Resource & Content Curation

  • Outstanding Needs Assessment

  • Community Building

Business/Brand objectives

(setting measurable goals for brand differentiation, target engagement and return on engagement)

Don’t just jump on the digital bandwagon. Know your opportunities, ground them in rational thinking for the best business case possible.

Tighten the match between your brand offering and the patient need

  • Brand SWOT
  • Competitive SWOT
  • Opportunities: Differentiating attributes or targets
  • Brandscape (where do you fit across our category positioning and where do you want to move to win based on the opportunities)
  • Targets (understanding behavioral drivers, attitudinal response and channel use & preference)
    • Patient segmentation
    • HCP/AHCP segmentation
  • Strategies (what do you need to do)
    • Awareness
    • Acquisition/switch
    • Retention
  • Promotional effectiveness analysis
    • Current channel use
    • Metrics, ROI and ROE analysis
    • Opportunity for channel reach expansion, benchmarking  & measurable behavioral change
  • Executional excellence
    • Tactical activation/implementation
    • Seamless distribution
    • Feedback mechanisms and ROE metrics
    • Ongoing refinements


(what industry data is currently available to establish business case for moving forward with digital engagement?)

Look for credible industry studies with large sample sizes. No one wants to see a study with an n=20 patients (for mainstream categories)

Manhattan research
Not free by any means. Contracts are required, most pharma companies have them. Otherwise stay abreast of their updates every quarter through their data release webinar series.

  • The ONLY 100% digital health & pharma focused research
  • US & Global
  • Physician, nurse & consumer
  • 25 HCP specialties
  • 70 disease state categories

click image to enlarge

click images to enlarge

PEW Internet & American Life Project (Health section)

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project is one of seven projects that make up the Pew Research Center. The study covers a myriad of topics all worth checking out. healthcare related or not.

The health portion is run by Susannah Fox (@SusannahFox) studies the cultural shifts taking place at the intersection of technology and health care.

There is a large ethnography and demographic focus on the influence that digital technology has on behaviors within healthcare and the decision making process i(e: patients, HCP/AHCP, social platforms, online communities, mobile and search.) (I personally favor the presentations and reports)

Information can be sorted by the following topics:

  • Reports
  • Information
  • Media Mentions
  • Presentation
  • Data sets

Focus #2: mobile usage and adoption within healthcare and the decision making process

Manhattan Research (see above)

PEW Internet and American Life Project
Mobile Health 2010
released 3 days ago on October 19, 2010)

A go-to resource for all things mobile health related. I have read all 5 of these report cover to cover. They are extremely valuable—especially The world of Mobile Health and Medical Apps. (Infographical jackpot for strategists looking to build great decks/presentations). You can read about/download the reports here

  • The World of Health and Medical Apps ($99)
  • State of the industry: Mobile Health Q2 2010 ($99)
  • State of the Industry: Mobile Health Q1 2010 ($99)
  • iPad Vs. The Tablets in Healthcare ($99)
  • FDA Regulation of Mobile Health (Free)

California Health Care Foundation

How Smartphones Are Changing Health Care for Consumers and Providers (April 2010) The recent adoption and use of smartphones by both consumers and providers of health care are the focus of this timely report by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Proprietary quantitative research
Still not sold? Craft your own needs methodology, run your own quantitative set across your HCP call list or patient targets, especially if you already have an established CRM program in place.

Resource & Content Curation

(keeping current with pharma industry advancements in digital engagement)

Just like patients, we don’t want to be overloaded by the amount of information available to us– so any sort of curation always helps, saves time and keeps you on task (without abusing the Google machine or opening 17 tabs in FireFox at the same time.)

Tweet Chats
If you really enjoy a multi-POV approach to sharing and consuming info- you may love Tweet chats. They offer liked-minded individuals an opportunity to chat about #epharma in a small group setting via Twitter aggregating the conversation using the hashtag #Socpharm. It’s a great hour of concentrated conversation, usually focused on 2-3 main topics.

#SocPharm Wednesdays between 8-9pm moderated by @eileenobrien

Working on a deadline? At your daughter’s play? At the gym? Can’t join? No problem– they are all archived on SocialPharmer (a social networking site created by @shwen for pharmaceutical marketing professionals.)

Pharma Social Media Wiki
If you’re doing research/ building case study examples on how Pharma is currently using various social platforms to engage with their target audiences—Dose of Digital’s Pharma Social Media Wiki authored by @jonmrich is a great place to start. It’s broken down by 15 main categories (just make sure you have a whole day and a door you can close,  b/c you’ll have a lot of reading/comparing to do). It’s the most extensive curation of social media specific pharma examples that exist in the public space.

CDC’s Social Media Tool Box
A great presentation of recommendations helping develop strategy & governance for social media in healthcare.

If you’re diving into mobile and want to know what’s currently out there for #mhealth which includes healthcare mobile apps geared towards patients physicians, nurses (a key target for many disease states & ignored way too often, IMO)—here are a few places you can start. Knowing what already exists helps narrow down your personal playbook for brainstorming/execution.

MobiHealthNews Blog

Authored by Brian Dolan (@mobilehealth) offers a combination of breaking news, exclusive interviews, live event coverage and industry commentary to hospital administrators, healthcare service providers, physicians, nurses and the industry players designing, developing and deploying the wireless services that are transforming healthcare today.

iMedical Apps blog
Medical app reviews by health care professionals

InPharm Blog
authored by @dominic_tyer

  • Pharma Smart phone apps: Part 1
  • Pharma Smart phone apps: Part 2
  • Pharma Smart phone apps: Part 3

Note: Not all of them have been developed by a pharma company and that’s the point, they shouldn’t be. Some of the best apps out there have been designed and developed by physicians (when you have a personal need, who better to design the user experience other than yourself!) A trend we’ve been seeing more of lately; companies whom commission physicians to design and serve as an advisor/advocate for mobile resource & application development.

Instapaper iPad app

No time to read everything? (me neither). Don’t lose that bookmark- download the Instapaper app, sync a bookmarklet button with your web browser and cue all your reading up in your iPad or iPhone. It’s a lifesaver at prioritizing and thwarting ADD/multi-tabbed browser syndrome.  Save interesting reading for later!

Outstanding needs assessment

(what do we need to know more about?)

There is a lot we need to know—but I’ll start with the Top 6 that resonated with me the most over the course of 4 days.

1. How technology can being integrated into physician practices and workflow, including EMR (Electronic Medical Records), ePrescribing, and RPM (remote patient monitoring) without the risk of liability re: HIPPA compliance (27011 accreditation). Great report available here

2. How will patients and physicians best utilize public health records? A PHR (personal health record) is information controlled by an individual patient in a digital file. An EHR (electronic health record) is maintained and managed by a doctor or clinician. Google, Microsoft and Medscape have developed applications that the public can use to create personal health records- but what will Blue Button offer us for data portability?

3. How can we best assist/educate HCPs/ACHPs on the use of digital technology for an improved healthcare experience?

4. How are physicians/AHCPs aligning digital technology through communication efforts with the patient experience and their needs?

5. How can we best integrate digital technology within centralized pharma organizations and their sales forces?

– logistically

– effective functional training on devices and digital technology

6. FDA Guidelines on promotion through Internet and social media (our fav!)

– According to this report we might hear something as soon as December 2010

Community Building

(how can we continue to work together?)

    The net-net is that we all love our jobs- and we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t. For some a “job” has become part of our existence b/c there’s an investment that goes beyond a paycheck.

    I will not attempt to put my finger on the needs assessment trigger for anyone- we all have our own passion, dedication and drive to getting there— but what we all have in common is that we all know it cant be done alone, in a silo—hence the community case study for awareness and actionable change that is  #digpharm #FDASM #socpharm #HCSM #HCSMEU #MDChat #RNChat groups of like-minded individuals all looking to attain information on the same topics.

    Fabio Gratton (@skypen) really set the stage for bringing the #epharma community together this time last year as we prepared for the FDA social media hearings in Washington with #FDASM. And although he wasn’t able to join us in Philly, his efforts were indirectly felt by all of us as being the initial catalyst for connecting and motivating a community with the common goal of simplifying the health journey for patients, caregivers and ACHPs alike. Lucky for us, we have people like Fabio and Shwen Gwee (@shwen), Bryan Vartabedian, MD, (@Doctor_V) , and Kevin Kruse (@KevinKruse)who are real community drivers.

    But at the end of the day we all return to our own respective jobs as (marketers, consultants, authors, agency strategists, agency account leads, PR executives, creative directors, innovation strategists, Physicians, ACHPs, patient advocates, etc).

    There’s something to be said about a group of individuals who all have their own business objectives, teams, companies, brands, clients, products, healthcare practices and services, yet put that aside and embrace collaboration outside their everyday — a non-conformist approach to crowdsourcing, perhaps. Learning from each other about different approaches to “what good looks like”; contributing towards our own development for a route of success. It doesn’t get any better than that.


Copyright © 2009 Jaeselle, LLC