Health care going social

Health care industry has evolved with the social web. One of the key areas of impact has been in the way patient support groups operate. Something that was much of a local group concept has now become much more powerful and global with the help of communities, forums and social networks. These networks have provided patients, caretakers and health care practitioners means to connect and discuss various issues. They are permanently shifting the dynamics of how a side-effect of a drug or the news of a new cure is spread in the world today.

This brings great challenges and opportunities for health care companies. Let’s start with the key challenge. It’s no longer the case where pharmaceutical companies can control the messaging on anything from drug recall or a device malfunctioning to a drug side-effect. People affected by the issue now have a channel to spread the word without the help of a mass media outlet.

But that presents a great opportunity as well. Drug manufacturers can proactively understand what are the biggest impediments for patients to take a drug. They can understand why patients are purchasing one brand over the other. They can learn on why doctors are prescribing their competitor’s drug over theirs. It’s a vast pool of information, more current than ever before and more real than it can ever be. What you need is the right technology to mine the information, organize it and make sense of it. You will get insights that can help you in everything from messaging to new product development.

The rise of use of social technologies is affecting every industry, brand and product out there. It is not possible for you, as a brand, to escape the phenomenon. It is no longer a question whether you are getting affected by the social media or not. Your social world is already out there and it is having an impact on you. The question is whether you are leveraging it or not?

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