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The Year In Review: Social Media Medical Stories

2011 was a very intense and exciting year regarding the developments and new insights of the relationship between medicine/healthcare and social media. Here are my favourite stories from 2011 selected and featured month by month.

January

I had the honour to be included in the Advisory Board of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media; I wrote about how a Samsung Galaxy Tab changed totally my online activities, how Google Translate can be used in medicine and featured HealCam, a medical alternative of ChatRoulette.

February

Facebook diagnosis by surgeon saved a friend; there was a lively discussion whether pharma companies can edit Wikipedia entries about their own products, it turned out Wikipedia can be a key tool for global public health promotion; and Scienceroll won the Best Medical Technology/Informatics Blog category for the third time in a row in the Medgadget’s Weblog Awards.

March Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Does Google+ Have The Potential To Be Used In Medicine And Pharma?

There have been some articles and blog entries lately focusing on whether Google+ could be used in medicine or pharma. I’ve been trying to use it more actively in the past couple of days and it’s still a question for me to figure out whether I should separate my professional Facebook and Google+ activities. A few comments from fellow bloggers:

Google+: the ultimate tool for social geeks

My first impressions are enthusiastic. Google+ has enormous potential and can become the future of private and social communication. Fresh and slim design, no gaming distractions, no 140 word limit. Yes, it sets itself between facebook and twitter. There is a necessary condition: people willing to adopt this new tool and even migrate from other platforms. If I really have to say, I think its competing more with facebook, since twitter can be easily synced with Google Buzz, which I have ultimately activated today. In few words Google+ has given me an excellent impression of being a professional and versatile platform.

Could Google+ be Pharma’s Answer to Social Media Marketing? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Free Medical Apps Are Usually Paid For By Big Pharma

The medical app industry is a big business, but the apps are no longer the product – the physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers who use them are. In the first part of this series, we examined some of the financial forces driving the medical app industry. Our focus then was Epocrates, the veritable founder of the industry. As is clearly stated in their recent SEC statement, Epocrates primary revenue stream has become the pharmaceutical industry and as such a key goal has become to further grow their user base by enhancing their free offerings.

Now, one might be tempted to say that this is just one company or even that it is just limited to free apps. An expected counter-example would be Skyscape, which probably has the largest cache of apps of any developer and nearly all for fee. As a private company, there isn’t much financial data available nor is the website particularly forthcoming, but it does appear that the company has been enjoying some success. A deeper look however suggests they in fact have more in common with Epocrates than you may think. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Medical Meeting Vendors Don’t Know How To Use Twitter Appropriately

I’ve been to several major medical meetings recently and Twitter is beginning to see traction.  Slowly but surely Twitter hashtag use among doctors at meetings is growing.  The vendors are there, too. I attended AGA/Digestive Disease Week this week and I have been unimpressed with the attempts of vendors to participate in the back channel.  Those trying seem inept at real dialog.

Remember that a meeting’s Twitter feed is a communication channel, not an opportunity for spam.  Go ahead and remind us about your booth but only after contributing in a way that serves everyone in a non-promotional way (one pitch tweet for 10-20 informational tweets).

What works is sharing, not selling.  Take interest in the attendees.  Watch the feed.  Listen.  Re-tweet the interesting stuff.  Share some breaking medical information.  Reach out to attendees in a genuine, respectful way.  And fear is no excuse – because the most memorable dialog will not involve your drug or medical device.

Start there and Twitter will work for not only for you but everyone.

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Off-label Drug Marketing: Insidious And Under-Recognized

There’s an important paper in PLoS Medicine, “Strategies and Practices in Off-Label Marketing of Pharmaceuticals: A Retrospective Analysis of Whistleblower Complaints.” The authors provide this background on off-label marketing:

“An important part of the (drug) approval process is the creation of the “drug label,” a detailed report that specifies the exact diseases and patient groups in which the drug can be used and the approved doses of the drug.

Physicians can, however, legally use FDA-approved drugs ‘off-label.’ That is, they can prescribe drugs for a different disease, in a different group of patients, or at a different dose to that specified in the drug’s label. However, because drugs’ manufacturers stand to benefit financially from off-label use through increased drugs sales, the FDA prohibits them from directly promoting unapproved uses. The fear is that such marketing would encourage the widespread use of drugs in settings where their efficacy and safety has not been rigorously tested, exposing patients to uncertain benefits and possible adverse effects.”

The authors conclude: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

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Latest Book Reviews

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