Some of the Best Healthcare Blogs and eBooks of 2009

As we move into 2010, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve learned this year, much of it triggered by the tremendous number of thought leader blogs, eBooks and white papers that I’ve read this year.  While there is no way to capture all the great work happening 24/7, here’s a smattering of a few (well maybe more than a ‘few’) that you may want to read or re-read as we get ready to step into 2010…

Topics cover a range- from social media and technology, to ePatients and marketing, including implications for Pharma and Healthcare, in the US and Europe. Please feel free to share other posts that you found valuable. Happy reading…  Continue reading

Best Learning Actions for Healthcare Marketers in 2010? (free eBook)

Inspired by Alvin Toffler’s quote: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn,” we asked 12 leading bloggers and healthcare thought leaders to share their reflections: what would they recommend as top learning strategies for Pharma and Healthcare marketers in 2010?

Overall, there were six themes that contributors brought to life:

1)  e-Patients are at the center and critical to learning and design;
2)  Authenticity isn’t a ‘nice to do’, it’s a ‘must’ (and you won’t be the one who decides whether you’ve succeeded);
3)  Don’t’ get distracted by ‘bells and whistles’-remember the basics and keep your brand core strong;
4)  New marketing challenges require new ROI thinking…the ROI of connection, authenticity and compassion;
5)  The marketing cycle of life is going through unprecedented change requiring all marketers and communications people to unlearn much-the movement from paid marketing to earned marketing requires a different mindset and skills; and
6)  Effective marketing and engagement will require new kinds of leadership skills.

Or as Steve Woodruff would say, “it’s a holiday grab-bag of nuggets from the wise travelers–some myrrh, some gold, some SEO, some patient communities–stick your hand in and grab some goodies!”

My heartfelt appreciation to the 12 contributors-yet another example of the power of the community.  Continue reading

2010 Outlook: 10 Ways to Win With Patients and Improve DTC Efforts

[Full article: 2010 Outlook: Doom and Gloom For DTC? 10 Points for Winning with Patients, published in DTC Perspectives, December 2009]

Despite many gloomy predictions for DTC advertising and the pharma industry overall, there’s never been a better time for marketers to forward their brands and consumers’ lives with new thinking about what constitutes patient marketing in the 21st Century (DTC 21).  Ten prescriptions can help improve focus and strengthen DTC efforts in 2010.  Important media and technology trends are also “musts” to actively consider for those who want to bump impact and value.

  1. Adopt an updated definition for DTC that considers the full picture of how consumers will interpret and interact with a brand TODAY. This calls for attention beyond “big bang” marketing spends, and begs for identifying meaningful levers to drive education and growth. DTC is no longer just an awareness or acquisition vehicle to move “eyeballs” through a linear marketing funnel; it’s every influence and touch needed to bring new information and education, help convert, instill loyalty and inspire advocacy.  Continue reading

Pharma: Ask Not What Social Media Can Do For You, But What Your SM Can Do For Patient Health

Last week, I and a few hundred other SM-aniacs, spent  2-days in the #FDASM ‘bunker’-so nick-named for its lack of windows and web/cell phone coverage. (Many more also attended via a free webcast and live twitter.)

Shortly after the program began, I heard a faint voice in the back of my
mind. At first I couldn’t place the voice or make out the words.  But it grew louder with each presentation. On the train home, I recognized the voice as JFK’s, and the words as his inaugural speech “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do”.

If you haven’t read JFK’s short but powerful speech, do yourself a favor and read now.  I think you may be struck by the parallels between the challenges he faced and the vision he articulated to meet them, and the challenges we must rise to as pharmaceutical and social media professionals trying to keep up with empowered e-patients in a web 2.0 world, soon to be web 3.0.

Here are some of the challenges JFK articulated in his speech that seem particularly relevant to our challenges of engaging and educating patients and doctors using rapidly evolving technologies and strategies. I’ll also do my best to link back to the many speakers and presentations from #fdasm.  Continue reading

Pharma: Twas the Night before #FDASM

Twas the night before #fdasm, when all through the blogosphere,

Not a marketer was stirring, due to their fear.

The 62 slide decks were posted with care,

In hopes that St DDMAC soon would be there.

The pharma tweeps were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of facebook dance in the heads.

And legal in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the web there arose such a buzz,

I sprang from the bed to see what the fuss was,

Away to my Google, I flew like a flash,

To find in my search fourteen letters to trash.

Continue reading

Pharma: Are Your e-Patients Really Part Of The Team?

Hats off to Kevin Kruse for kicking off an exciting new conference called e-Patient Connections 2009 that will no doubt be the start of a long tradition in e-Patient Marketing and Learning. It was a productive two days marked by a strong range of excellent speakers and content, a well run conference and focused leader, and a broad group of engaged attendees. Read posts by @ericbrody, PharmaExec Blog and Steve Woodruff for other good summaries of the two-day e-Patient Conference (You can also read the Twitter stream: #epatcon)

Why Team e-Patient?

Driving home from the conference, my head swirling with ideas, this is what emerged for me:

“It may take a village to raise a family, but it takes a team to heal a patient.” 

…A team of doctors and nurses, patients and their families, friends and others who share their condition, hospital care, pharma treatments, insurance companies, employers, pharmacists and so on…actively participating and working together.

Reflecting on the presentations, they seem to converge around five essential themes for working towards patient-centered, participative marketing and healthcare…Highlighted below are but a few:  Continue reading

Pharma: Are Guard Rails Useful To Our Social Media Future?

There’s a reason why there was such a great turnout for the Digital Pharma Unconference this week…Hats off to Shwen Gwee, Jason Youner of eXL pharma, and all the speakers and participants. (#DigPharm)

Before I talk about Guard Rails, here are three other good reads from fellow bloggers: Steve Woodruff’s I Was There (Digital Pharma 2009), Jonathan Richman’s Dose of Digital How Pharma Overcomplicates Social Media, and John Mack’s Pharma Marketing Blog: Pharma Social Media Crips vs. Legal/Regulatory Bloods.  Also check out the tools that Fard Jonmar and Jonathan Richman used in their social media workshop. Or Digitas Health Social Media POV given by Sarah Larcker of Digitas.

So what do we mean by Guard Rails? The Wikipedia definition reads something like this:

Guard rail, sometimes referred to as guide rail or railing, is a system designed to keep people or vehicles from (in most cases unintentionally) straying into dangerous or off-limits areas.”

Continue reading

What Will Facebook Lite Mean To Pharma and Marketers?

Just when the broader consumer population is beginning to get comfortable using Facebook, and Marketers are continuing to build out their brand’s Facebook page(s), Facebook Lite launches in the US and India.  (Techcrunch)

Facebook Lite is a faster, slimed-down, simpler way for people to keep in touch with friends…and looks to be moving a step closer to the simpleness of Twitter’s offering…

Originally intended to be used in countries where high speed Internet connections are sparse or non-existent, Facebook realized there’s a real desire among many of its users to have a smaller, simpler, more elegant, version of the service.  Continue reading

Pharma: It’s All About a People-Driven Economy, Stupid!

All summer, I’ve been watching a nearby farm’s crop of sunflowers grow and reach for the sun…In taking some pictures this weekend, I couldn’t help but notice all the bees busy pollinating these sunflowers. Interesting, it is estimated that one third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees, especially the domesticated European honey bee. (Wikipedia) How does this relate to Pharma and Social Media Networks?

Bees may be solitary or may live in various types of communities. The most advanced of these are eusocial colonies found among the honey bees, bumblebees, and stingless bees.

Eusociality (Greek eu: “good/real” + “social”) is a term used for the highest level of social organization in a hierarchical classification.

  1. Reproductive division of labor (with or without sterile castes)
  2. Overlapping generations
  3. Cooperative care of young

So where do we humans fit in? How social are we really? Is Social Media a close cousin of Eusociality?

Continue reading

Why Pharma Needs to Pay Attention to Wikipedia

Guest Post by Eileen O’Brien (eiobri@yahoo.com and @EileenOBrien)

Eileen is passionate about using the web and social media to advance healthcare communications. (And she is currently looking for a new interactive job…)  Here’s why she believes that Pharma should pay attention to Wikipedia:

Whether you agree or disagree with the concept of Wikipedia and the accuracy of its information, it’s a huge player in the world of healthcare and deserves attention.

1)    Physicians and consumers use Wikipedia for health info

Nearly 50% of US physicians going online for professional purposes are visiting Wikipedia for medical information according to Manhattan Research. This is a significant increase over the 28% reported in 2008.

And 36% of US consumers searched for health info on Wikipedia according to Rodale’s DTC study.

Manhattan Research found Wikipedia is even more popular in Europe, with two-thirds of physicians online using the site as a medical resource monthly. It’s also a top health destination for European consumers: “And consumers want companies to take a role in making sure that Wikipedia content can be trusted – the majority of online European consumers expect that pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies monitor Wikipedia pages about their products.” Manhattan Research, Cybercitizen Health Europe v8.0  Continue reading