Wikipedia is the destination of choice for doctors, according to IMS, and studies from Google and Manhattan research mention that 90% of doctors with a smartphone search for information with 50% sharing content with patients. With these statistics underpinning discussion and as the PM Society Digital Awards are set to open for entries, the 14th PM Society Digital Breakfast took a deep dive into how pharma is engaging in the digital arena.
 
Social Media as a separate entity was a thread running through the one hour broadcast, with the Digitally Sick team commenting that analysis puts social media at over 70 percent, of all media output, demonstrating how embedded it now is into trust and authority. Companies need to be there, social media needs to be a part of what they do and integrated. 
 
However, the digital space should not be considered in isolation and, in some respects, the pharma industry appears to be moving further and further from the communities with which it wants to communicate. The key is to look at the broader picture and start by focusing on the ‘user’ need. Start there and work back rather than deciding to create a website because there is budget for it. Digital shouldn’t be a separate competing strategy, but rather an opportunity to think about the whole strategy. 
 
Insight was provided into Wikipedia – the key is enabling your medical department to ensure that the information is available to the people who are managing the pages – and the PMCPA Code of Practice as it applies to digital: it isn’t and should never be held up as a barrier. Stakeholders need to be more familiar with the Code of Practice. 
 
Where pharma is concerned there are a handful of companies engaging, but probably none getting everything right. The businesses doing digital well are actually investing more, but doing less and investment in upskilling and training each and every staff member is the way forward. There should not be a separate digital function, but rather it should be part of the DNA of the company alongside other opportunities to communicate with and meet the information needs of its stakeholders.
 
On areas to watch, the advent of IOS8’s rumored Healthbook, a central health care data hub and and mobile health generally present opportunities. Partnerships with technology providers may  also be a future avenue for industry. However, there was a warning that pharma needs to guard against tendencies to self-promotion and to participate in the eco-system, rather than creating an ‘ego-system’.
 
To learn more, log on free to the discussion.
 
The next PM Society Digital Debate will see two doctors talk about their digital life – how they use and interact with digital platforms on Thursday, 24 April.
 

Digitally Sick is a podcast-driven, thought leadership blog set up to provide informal, incisive and, occasionally, irreverent commentary on the issues of the moment in European health. 
 
The PM Society seeks to promote marketing excellence throughout the healthcare and life science industries, promising to educate, inform and facilitate networking through its various channels – online, print and at live events. 
 
The not-for-profit Society is run largely by volunteers with a skeleton staff working to support its growing membership from over 750 companies operating in the UK. To achieve its aims, the Society works closely with media partners, third party suppliers and associations to provide quality content, workshops and learning for members. 
 
PriMe – training for the industry by the industry is the PM Society’s flexible modular training programme is developed by the industry for the industry addressing the specific training needs for pharmaceutical marketing