Two and a half weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a meeting of minds in Berlin, where those involved with the until-now Twitter-based group, Healthcare Social Media Europe (#hcsmeu), met in person to debate some key issues relating to social media and healthcare. I’ve been busily scribbling down the insights on this for the industry press, which should appear in the coming months, but in the meantime, here are some of my highlights:
- Across Europe, the level at which healthcare professionals engage with social media vary, and it is perhaps not a high priority for doctors. Interestingly, the UK seems to have an anomaly in terms of doctors.net, which offers a professional-only platform for medics. Read an interesting post on its popularity here. Nevertheless, the question remains about how to encourage the healthcare professional audience to engage broadly, on the basis that there is a need for expert opinion within the patient social media environment? Value propositions are key
- Some pioneering work has been done by the pharma industry to use social media to proliferate useful, non-promotional, information. Check out the Janssen Cilag UK Twitter feed @jcmediauk. The Aurora team is supporting a number of clients to work through the practical implications to make Twitter work as a way of generating dialogue
- Bar certain notable patient groups, many across Europe are not actively engaged with social media, but they are probably best placed to filter useful information to their members. How can these groups be empowered to engage?
I also had a very interesting conversation with a lawyer specialised in digital pharma about the old argument of information vs. promotion when it comes to communicating with patients. Things are not as clear cut as some may suggest and opportunities do exist. You just need a ‘yes and’ rather than ‘no but’ approach.
Moving forward, #hcsmeu aims to develop resources to advance the cause of positively changing the delivery of healthcare as a result of people being able to access useful information. This could be in the capacity of a think tank for change, as reflected by the word cloud of Tweets relating to the event in Berlin.
Thanks to the #hcsmeu pioneers and Berlin event organisers: @whydotpharma and @andrewspong
Thanks to Berlin also, a city I have never visited before and absolutely enjoyed!
Find out more about #hcsmeu