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All things Pharma

Pharma and the Digital Age, part 3

 Di Spencer takes a look at two recent launches that could have a significant impact on the relationship between the industry and the technological world.

Last week saw the launch of HCSMUK (or Health Care Social Media UK), a new Twitter ‘tweet-up’ group for the discussion of all things social and media in the context of healthcare.

The first of these groups, HCSM was created in January 2009. This was quickly followed by HCSMEU in August 2009, founded by Silja Chouquet (@whydotpharma) and Andrew Spong (@andrewspong), as well as various other national spin-off groups.

The UK group will be led by Alex Butler, Head of Digital Strategy and Social Media for Janssen. “I think at this stage, and as only one voice it would be wrong to state a grandiose mission statement for the UK affiliate,” Alex writes in his blog. “However the vision I have is that we can discuss the impact social media and broader technological innovation has on the UK healthcare landscape.”

He lists the following three issues as UK-specific in this context:

  1. The NHS and its use of modern communications and new media, the IT ‘project’ (RIP) and the broader issue of EHR in the UK, NHS reform.
  2. The e-patient in the UK and how this has/will/is affecting patient advocacy.
  3. The pharma landscape, regulation and working within the ABPI Code of Practice.

He adds: “For #hcsmuk to work however it is I feel essential that the broadest possible stakeholder group for healthcare is represented in the discussion. This obviously means the NHS community, patients and patient advocacy, science and research, pharmaceuticals, agency both medcomms and creative design, advertising and of course media (in all its guises). In short everyone is welcome and everyone has an important voice and part to play.”

Get involved: HCSMEU (use hashtag #HCSMEU) takes place every Friday at noon (1pm CET). HCSMUK (#HCSMUK) will be held every third Wednesday of the month at 12.30 UK time.

The future of selling aids?

Another significant recent launch is the ‘body browser’ website developed by Google (you’ll need a web browser that supports WebGL). The site provides a fully interactive 3D model of the human body, allowing users to dissect and peel back to see different parts of the body and share what they are seeing with others.

Tools like this could do away with the need for traditional detail aids altogether and provide pharma sales teams with a whole new way to present to their NHS customers.

Neil Osmond, Managing Director of The Technology Studio, explains: “As health care professionals are digital consumers like the rest of us, they will demand more and more interactive, interesting and informative ways of gaining knowledge. We believe that creative 3D experiences such as Google Body and 3D ipad apps will become increasingly used to communicate the way pharmaceutical products and medical devices actually work. The days of flat websites with a few nice images may well be numbered.”

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