Editor’s voice: April – digital and social media

Rebecca Aris


Rebecca Aris highlights some of the digital and social media content pieces published on pharmaphorum throughout April.

The discipline focus of our content throughout April has been on digital and social media. This article highlights some of my personal favourite articles within this theme.

Content marketing

Content marketing is clearly an area of discussion right now, as three articles were published this month on the topic. “The highest form of content marketing is thought leadership…” explained Bruce Rogers of Forbes in his interview, who went on to note that “… the biggest mistake is jumping on the bandwagon of content marketing.”


“Content marketing is clearly an area of discussion right now…”


Bruce’s sentiments were echoed in this month’s Tunnah’s musings. Paul Tunnah explained in this piece that “…thought leadership is rapidly becoming the only valuable currency of business…”. Paul also offered valuable advice on content marketing, such as:-

•      Challenge the status quo

•      Keep it simple

•      Do not try to sell

The area was also explored by Candice O’Sullivan of Wellmark in her article, claiming that content marketing was “the ideal antidote for what ails pharma selling”.


Our digital and social media month also saw the topic of gamification heavily explored. In an article by Mark Evans of Langland, Mark highlights how gamification can be used for patient retention in clinical trials. “People are far more likely to comply if the burden of participating in a clinical trial is reduced,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Dr Sylvester Arnab of the Serious Games Institute questioned whether a game can really transform someone’s life in his article.

Also featured this month was an article on the role for ‘gamification’ in pharma, by Carwyn Jones and Faisal Ahmed. They highlighted how “Like any ‘buzz word’ there is a risk that someone somewhere in healthcare will be pushing to do it because they think they have to,” before highlighting some examples of gamification.


“Our digital and social media month also saw the topic of gamification heavily explored.”


Mobile health

Mobile health was an area that was also explored this month on pharmaphorum. Michael Spitz opened the month with his regular mHealth Monthly mashup with a regulatory update in his article focusing on finding a balance between safety, innovation, and implementation. He provided an overview of US news that “may foreshadow years and perhaps decades of mobile health guidance to come.”

James Whitehouse also looked at the healthcare app regulations in the US and also across Europe, in his article questioning whether healthcare apps are medical devices. He offered advice on when an app can be classed as a device. “Broadly speaking, software is a medical device when it has a controlling function…”, he explained. Read his article to find out what else he shared.

Our final content piece in the mobile health space this month questioned when apps will change the interaction between pharma and patients. The article by Dirk Poschenrieder of Razorfish Healthware highlighted how mhealth apps have the opportunity to change the interaction between pharma and patients. He also offered his thoughts on what makes someone download an app for health purposes.

Social media use in South America

Two articles this month looked at social media use in South America. Gustavo Pratt of asterisco healthcare communications shared such facts in his article as:-

•      “The LATAM market is hooked with Facebook, for personal reasons…”

•      “Social media in Mexico and all across LATAM is becoming a powerful force.”

The second article this month looked, more specifically, as social media use in Brazil. This article shared interesting social media facts about this region:-

•     “The well known social media channel Twitter has around 33.3 million users in Brazil…”

•      “As of the end of 2012, Brazil is now the largest market for both Facebook and YouTube after the US…”

Physician online engagement

Physician online engagement was an area discussed by Kay Wesley, in her two-part article, who questioned whether pharma should build or sponsor physician online community, before discussing the pros and cons of each option.

On a similar note, Oxana Kolosova explored the online behaviour of healthcare professionals in Russia in her article.

Pharma’s engagement

We also had some observations of pharma’s use of social media this month. Daniel Ghinn provided an outsider’s perspective of Sanofi’s engagement with the diabetes online community via Twitter in his regular blog post. On highlighting ths success of the company in this space, he notes how “it was clear from the start that the company’s intention was to engage, not merely publish content.”

We also featured an internal pharma perspective – Greg Kueterman offered us an insight into his view of the rise of social media from his position at Eli Lilly. He discusses Lilly’s social media efforts and shares his inside view by disclosing:-

“We could tread into social media waters, we were told, as long as we didn’t talk about the medicines we make. Or the people who take them.”

Greg also speaks of Lilly’s latest social media venture: LillyPad Media.

Other April content

Augmented reality, QR codes, Big data and the future of healthcare communications were also topics featured on pharmaphorum this month. The latter of these articles offering sound advice on moving into the digital space:-

“If one wants to be “In the digital space” isn’t it important to think about how you might differentiate yourselves in that space…”.

We also featured interviews with Briggs Morrison of AstraZeneca, Professor Ajay Kakkar of the Thrombosis Research Institute, Dr Christopher J. Schaber of Soligenix, physician Dr Mike Thompson and SCAD patient Katherine Leon.

Coming up next

Market access and respiratory disorders will be our focus topics throughout May, in addition to our usual flow of general content. To gain an insight into what topics we will be the focus for the rest of 2013, please view our editorial calendar here.

Until next time, I hope you continue to enjoy and share our content.


About the author:

Rebecca Aris is Managing Editor of pharmaphorum, a very fast growing online thought leadership channel for pharma, representing an audience of senior pharma execs from all over the world.

Rebecca was the first full time employee to join pharmaphorum, starting in her current role in mid-2010, and is responsible for coordinating all editorial content on the site. Prior to working at pharmaphorum she was a medical writer at a healthcare PR agency. In addition, she spent three years working as a commissioning editor on three journal titles at a biomedical publishing company. Rebecca holds a BSc (Hons) in pharmaceutical science.

For queries she can be reached through the site contact form or via Twitter @Rebecca_Aris.

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