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[newmedia] New media in a regulated industry (health)

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

Marc Monseau (Johnson & Johnson): 50% of people change their behavior based on the medical advice they read on line. And most people are looking for info from other people like themselves. But that info isn’t always accurate. That means that the healthcare industry has an obligation to get out into the online world to present accurate info. We have lots of information, and we are companies of relationships: We have close relations with physician groups, patient groups, advocacy groups, gov’t organizations. We can tap into those resources of information and relations. E.g., we have an ADD product. The best info patients receive often come from other parents. at ADHD Moms at Facebook, there’s info, but also the possibility of linking to other patients. We set it up, but it’s unbranded.

Virginia Cox (Consumer Healthcare Products Association) gives an example: Teens getting high on cough medicine. There were 200 videos on YouTube about how to get high that way. So, we used social media to build awareness among mothers. We were completely transparent about who we are. Another example: We recruited five moms because people want to hear from other people like them. We put it on Gather and then on Facebook. We wanted to have them talking. It meant giving up control over what they’re saying.

Earl Whipple (AstraZeneca) says that while you want to provide accurate information, you don’t want to encroach on the physician-client relationship. You also have to be mindful of gov’t regulations, of course. He also notes that the search results are more often coming from bloggers than from sites of credentialed providers. The most controversial posts get pulled up first, frequently, and many people assume that those are the most reliable. Therefore, the question isn’t what’s the risk of engaging in the new social media space; the question is what’s the risk of not engaging.

Q: How are things changing? How authentic can you be?
Earl: The concept of spokespeople is now laughable. People want to hear directly from the content area expert.
Marc: You can be authentic while talking about highly regulated products by being transparent about what you can talk about and what you can’t. People understand we’re under limitations. And we can at least direct the traffic to the right place.

Q: Info across a global world?
Earl: When we put out information, we include who the information is intended for. It’s an unbounded environment.

Q: What is it that you can’t tell people because of regs?
Marc: The FDA limits what pharmas can say about approved products. If people notice a new use for a product, you have to go back to the script and say what’s on the product label. It doesn’t prevent you from engaging. But you can’t get into a detailed conversation about unapproved uses. And if you come across someone who’s had a problem with the product, you have to report that back.
Virginia: There are strict regulations around advertising. Companies have to be careful about what counts as advertising.
Earl: There are many unanswered issues. E.g., if you’re in a genuine dialog and someone brings up an unapproved use, what exactly is your responsibility?

Q: How do you monitor the Five Moms site, for example?
Virginia: We don’t have to monitor it for content. The Moms respond on their own. But we are required to monitor it for adverse reports, etc.

Q: What should all students know about social media and health if their in the communications field?

From the Five Moms Site:

Tips to monitor your kids online.

* Make sure that your children are never online without your permission.
* Be clear with your kids about your rules on Internet use at home and outside of the home.
* Place your computer in an area of the house where you can easily supervise their Internet activity.
* Ask your children about who they talk to and what activities they do online.
* Use parental filters to block access to questionable sites.
* Build an open and trusting relationship with your kids about their online use.

The last point is an unintentional punchline. [Tags: ]

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