DigiPharm Europe 2010 Pt 3

Third in the series of posts about the proceedings from DigiPharm Europe 2010.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Mixing print and digtal
So on to the second presentation of the day, where Mark Prince presented on integration of online and offline strategy. Prince rejects the practice of using microsites as conference websites, as these become redundant and are one-use only. I agree and partially disagree: I agree with both these points, but if the meeting is carefully and specifically branded, or if it is an educational event, you may want to use a microsite to separate this out from your product or corporate branding. Prince also recommends building a content management system (CMS) into an event website so that you are not at the whim of your IT people. I always think this is a great idea, as it allows for timely updates and allows for meeting materials to be provided on the site. I also agree with that providing as many slides or materials on the site post-meeting will go down very well with the audience (and those who were unable to make the meeting itself). On Twitter, the point is made that delegates also want to access the site via a mobile interface, so optimizing for that is also a good idea.

In terms of resources, Prince says to invest the Rep’s £40 worth of journal articles and redeploy that resource. He recommends a USB Webkey as a link between digital and print – giving away a USB key within a print ad that allows a physician to enter a protected website. There are some reservations about this, although it seems a good idea in principle. For example, what percentage of physicians will even get to the stage of inserting a webkey into their PC (that’s after the assistant has opened the mail and already selected what the physician will view)? It seems to me a rep-led campaign with webkey would be more effective. On Twitter, it is pointed out that search engine optimization for a specific keyword may be more effective (e.g. in a print ad “search for pharmaconference 2010” and typing this phrase in google would show the registration page for the event). On the other side of the coin, an online campaign may actually be the right option but fail due to poor implementation.

Wikipedia editing
I very much enjoyed Kay Wesley‘s series of videos about ‘how can pharma drive a creative commons in healthcare’. She suggests we are not using Wikipedia effectively. At this point I should add that there were wireless access problems at the event, so there was not much Twitter activity during this presentation, which didn’t help as Kay was using vote by tweet to try to gain opinion. From the “stand-up/sitdown” voting mechanism (therefore non-voters are counted as “no”) plus those who were able to get on-line, 83% of respondents hadn’t edited a relevant Wikipedia page and 89% of Pharma companies polled don’t have policy to keep Wikipedia up to date. John Mack quips: ‘The only use of wikipedia by Pharma I’ve seen has been MIS-use!’. Interestingly, 26% of responders say Pharma updating of Wikipedia is a breach of regulations, but on Twitter, there is some consensus that clause 24 of the ABPI code of practice in the UK (pdf) would allow this (even if this is not within the spirit of the Wikipedia editing guidelines). Indeed the representative of PMCPA in the room (who produce the ABPI guidelines) confirmed that so far, there have been no breaches of ABPI code with respect to Wikipedia page editing. Regardless, I think editing your own company or brand articles on Wikipedia can be dangerous, as this is a bit of a taboo topic, so Pharma needs to be careful of the negative PR this may generate – even if it is updating for accuracy, but on the other side of the coin, it is important to correct inaccuracies. One omission: there was no discussion on needing a neutral point of view.

Edit: I would like to draw your attention to the comment made by Paul Wicks that there have been discussions on Wikipedia about Pharma editing. It seems that the way forward is to use the ‘talk’ channels in Wikipedia and suggest where changes should be made (with full disclosure, natch), but allow independent editors decide whether to make those changes.

Be accountable in social media
Next, a Q&A with Sabine Kostevc of Roche about the Roche social media guidelines (PDF) that were made available to the public and downloaded more than 5,000 times since publication on August 10 2010. Sabine says they took 3-4 months to develop from existing old documentation by 8-10 senior stakeholders and they allowed grass-roots comment to filter up via senior functional group representatives with the support of internal project sponsors (legal counsel) to make the guidelines public. This is a brilliant move by Roche and it has, in some ways, set the tone for all Pharma and very smart to bring on-side people who could potentially block the process. Sabine mentions that an internal communications campaign was undertaken within Roche and that the guidelines have delivered clarity across the organisation.

Post-publication, it is too early to see the impact of the guidelines, but there has been positive feedback from employees, according to Sabine, and will reviewed annually. In addition, the principles set out in the guidelines are not being ‘policed’ and rely on employee adherence, it remains to be seen if Roche expect providers and partners to adhere. Comments from the floor allude to Pfizer planning similar guidance.

Talk… and also listen
Alex Butler (Janssen, but speaking his own views) took to the stage to talk about building two-way relationships. Butler says social media is only one component of an integrated strategy. Going forward, it won’t be viable to keep social media elements separate (again this recurring theme of integration running throughout the conference). He mentions that Pharma is not trusted (says between tobacco and oil!) and thinks that social media is a way to improve trust between the public and Pharma. However, social media interactions, like people, are imperfect, and any social media engagement by Pharma will be imperfect due to Pharma’s conflicting obligations, however we should, where possible, follow the etiquette of each social media platform.

Butler turns his attention to outcomes measurement, he states that we are data rich but insight poor. Obsessing over measures and metrics robs the data of the value of its key insight. Quoting Einstein: “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Jannsen conducted a Twitter poll where 55% answered no to the question of “Do you trust inform from pharma companies?” (75% if you count neutral responses). He says, and I very much agree with this statement, that Pharma companies need to build up their presence in social media now – you cannot pay your way in later and after publishing and control, the next stage is curation of content – Pharma has to engage and it is not all about pushing messages. He also says that people don’t use websites – they are driven to pages via social media links.

Questions from the floor – How do you allocate resources? Butler spends around an hour to an hour-and-a-half a day on Jannsen UK social media.

That’s it from me right now! There’s still quite a bit more to come (I’ve barely reached lunch on the first day!).

7 thoughts on “DigiPharm Europe 2010 Pt 3

  1. Dear Paul,

    Further to my comments at the meeting urging caution, I asked formally at the WP helpdesk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Help_desk#Is_there_any_policy_on_drug_safety_information_for_pharmaceutical_product_pages_and_any_policy_on_drug_companies_having_responsibility_for_these.3F), and was guided to this discussion:


    I’d also like to mention there is already a member of GSK’s information services who is a member of WP and discloses his position here:


    Best wishes


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