HealthCare Digital Awareness increases in 2011

December 30, 2011
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We’ve almost reached the end of 2011, and as many blogs will be doing, it’s time to take stock of what has happened this year. Digital awareness has certainly improved over 2011 in the healthcare industry. Speaking from my own experience this year, pharma companies are talking more positively about digital, they understand it better and the online debate around social media – predominantly via Twitter – has brought about a clearer understanding about what it is we should be saying to our clients.

 

 

 

We’ve almost reached the end of 2011, and as many blogs will be doing, it’s time to take stock of what has happened this year. Digital awareness has certainly improved over 2011 in the healthcare industry. Speaking from my own experience this year, pharma companies are talking more positively about digital, they understand it better and the online debate around social media – predominantly via Twitter – has brought about a clearer understanding about what it is we should be saying to our clients.

 

 

 

Digital Awareness improvement
Digital awareness has improved in 2011.

 

 

Foremost in this arena has to be the  #hcsmeu community (#hcsm in the US and #hcsmca in Canada). Its weekly tweet-up, where three questions are debated in 20-minute intervals every Friday at midday GMT/1pm CET(#hcsm is Sunday evening at 9pm ET), is legendary in this respect having passed its second birthday in August. The depth and breadth of expertise and opinion remains refreshing and is a must for anyone in our industry with more than a passing interest in social media.

 

Special mention must also be made to the #hcsmgbc conference which was ran back in September. It was great to meet so many people who you feel you know quite well from discussions online, yet had not met them personally. Apart from being free to attend, the attendees generated the content too. I’m hoping we can run two similar conferences next year, so may have to get involved to ensure this happens!

 

In the UK, another valuable community has also caught my eye; #nhssm. This is made up predominantly of NHS staff, many in a digital capacity, but most working as healthcare professionals. Their weekly discussion around one social media-related topic, at 8pm GMT on Wednesday evenings, provides incredible first-hand insight into their daily challenges.

 

It’s easy to put the focus on the pharma companies that make and sell the drugs, thinking that they would automatically lead in the digital arena, and in some respects that’s true. Yet it’s the NHS that buys and prescribes the products, and employs those people we’re so keen to influence.

 

There’s still more to do however. I believe there’s still not enough thought given to digital accessibility, a topic that often forms my contribution to the online debate. PharmaPhorum recently run an article of mine talking specifically about this. Social media certainly offers unprecedented levels of engagement with many online audiences, but only for those who can reach it. Even those that are online may still struggle thanks to technical barriers or a lack of understanding. Digital media should always augment a message or discussion, not replace it.

 

Here’s to greater success in 2012.