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Archive for September, 2010

Recommended: Knowing the Hospital

Here at Impactiviti, we take great pride in lining up the best providers of training and marketing services – companies and people that are high-quality, proven, and recommended by our clients.

One of our partners does an exceptional job with training for Hospital/Large Healthcare Organization Account Managers. Levels of business acumen are woven into practical, simulation-based learning activities to equip the pharma/biotech professional for more effective business relationships.

Download this Hospital Training one-pager, and let us know how we can be of assistance!

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This week, I am attending the 2nd Annual ePatient Connections conference in Philadelphia. Last year’s inaugural event was a milestone for me – it brought me into contact with patients in a new way, people who live with medical conditions and who are the ultimate “customers” for the medicines produced by pharma companies.

I have to admit that we who work in and around the industry have stayed far too long in our little bubble. It’s very easy to think far too much of efficacy stats, market share, regulatory concerns, marketing messages….and utterly forget about the people who are on the receiving end. Some of whom remain alive today because of these meds.

In recent days, I’ve heard some skepticism about the rise of the ePatient, and I understand it. Have things REALLY changed THAT much in the average patient-doctor interaction? Probably not – but it’s not averages we should be thinking about. It’s the broader trends that make this ePatient revolution a reality.

In short:

- since doctors have less and less time to get real in-depth with each individual, patients and their caregivers MUST do more legwork on their own;

- an amazing wealth of medical information (some good, some bad) is now available to anyone with a computer and internet access;

- patient communities are springing up all over via social networks, where peer-to-peer care and information-sharing is occurring outside of any “official” medical boundaries;

- the older population, which is the biggest demographic for using prescription drugs, is also a very rapidly-growing demographic in the adoption of social networking.

This blog post (including brief video and SlideShare), called The New Normal, explains more about these trends shaping the industry. Suffice it to say that I don’t think anyone in our industry should have their head in the sand about empowered patients. It’s not a fad. It’s an inevitability.

If you wish to follow the Twitter stream from the conference (there will be many reporting “live” via social media Tues and Wed), you can use this link: ePatCon TweetChat.

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Here at Impactiviti, we take great pride in lining up the best providers of training and marketing services – companies and people that are high-quality, proven, and recommended by our clients.

While we make recommendations to you (as the “eHarmony” of pharma vendor/client relationships), you also give us your feedback as to who is best-in-class. This network approach helps everyone – well, except for the not-so-good providers!

What if you’re looking for training for Specialty or Oncology reps – those more tenured employees who (think they) already know it all, and who have a more complex sales cycle?

We can help with that. Some of our preferred partners specialize right in that sweet spot. Download this Specialty Training one-pager, and let us know how we can be of assistance!

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Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection almost-daily e-newsletter (see sample), chock full of news and resources for pharmaceutical professionals.

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Visit the Impactiviti Job Board

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If you already know what a TweetChat is, just skip the next paragraph. If, on the other hand, you think I’ve just caught a strange disease, read on.

A TweetChat is a block of time – usually an hour – set aside for anyone on Twitter to “chat” about a specific topic. Usually there is one designated leader, and a specific pre-announced topic. Each tweet is appended with what we call in the Twitter universe a #hashtag, so that people can follow that stream of discussion separate from everything else going on in Twitter. It’s like a big, on-line cocktail party conversation. With me so far?

OK, so on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 12 noon ET, there will be a chat about Pharma+Social Media, hosted by yours truly, Steve Woodruff, obscure-and-probably-best-left-that-way pharma social media progenitor. Hashtag: #SM78. People from the whole spectrum of interests participate in the @SocialMedia chats, so this is a good opportunity for my pharma Twitter compadres to help educate others about our industry.

To follow along (and participate!), you can go here: http://hashtagsocialmedia.com/live

or here: http://tweetchat.com/room/sm78

starting at 11:55 am or so. Warning – if you’ve not done one of these chats before, the pace of information flow will get your blood pumping!

Now, as a special treat, a couple items to prime your discussion pump. First, if you’re not in the pharma marketplace (or other regulated industry), this helpful blog post by Abby Carr sketches out some of the challenges we all face.

Secondly this little video I created takes a more fun approach to the upside-down world of pharma social media (warning: if you are sipping coffee, you might snort it out your nose – just saying…):

Thanks to Marc Meyer and Jason Breed for inviting me to lead this chat (this is #78 in their #socialmedia chat series!)

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Rant warning.

This stupid article appears in a Forbes blog: A Vaccine against Suicide?

Why do I consider it stupid? Not because of the problem it addresses (suicide is a major problem, and prevention is a good thing), but because they abuse the terms “disease” and “vaccine,” and over-medicalize a problem that primarily has other roots.

This article yaks on about public-health interventions targeting youth, with comments by an epidemiologist and a bunch of well-meaning but vaporous babble that doesn’t justify in the least the headline, or the approach being “offered.”

The best defense against suicide is a good family and social offense – a supportive environment which encourages accomplishment, rewards good behavior, discourages self-destructive behaviors, and puts the arm of love around kids. In other words, solid families, healthy neighborhoods, strong social ties – you know, all the common sense stuff we’ve always known.

Re-casting suicide as a disease and talking about vaccines while off-loading more responsibility to medical/psychological “experts” is stupid. It’s an analogy with undesirable consequences. I’m all for medical interventions when necessary, but let’s keep the primary focus where it belongs, and stop screwing around with the language.

It is our role to love kids. Not some “expert’s” role to vaccinate.

Rant over.

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How does the use of Social Media fit into a highly regulated industry like pharmaceuticals/healthcare?

With difficulty. At least initially. And trying to convince others often leads to plenty of resistance.

So here’s my advice: Don’t start with social media. Start with the much bigger trends, which are making social media inevitable.

It’s all outlined here: Pharma and Social Media – What’s the New Normal? This Slideshare explains that technology-fueled Trend Currents (not current trends!) are shaping society in such a way that the use of social media/networked communications is inexorable – and inevitable.

Social Media (or, as I prefer to more accurately call it, “Networked Communications”) is not some add-on to a marketing strategy. It is a pervasive fact of life, and these digitally-fueled forms of connecting people and information will continue to accelerate and impact how we do business.

If you are seeking to grow awareness in your company about Social Media and the pharma/biotech industry, Impactiviti provides specialized consulting services, as well as workshops for executives, marketers, and innovators to help fuel the business discussion.

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Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection almost-daily e-newsletter (see sample), chock full of news and resources for pharmaceutical professionals.

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Impactiviti: A Labor of Love

I’m a professional “matchmaker” and network builder. I help people and companies connect with the resources they need.

And I love it. I love writing, brainstorming, consulting, and helping good clients and partners get together. I find that when I describe my “job” to people, spontaneously the expression will pop out of my mouth, “I love what I do!

On a holiday called Labor Day, it’s hard to think of a more fitting declaration.

Have I always loved my jobs? Of course not. In the course of my long and not-so-illustrious trek to this stage of my life, I’ve worked as a paperboy, a grocery store clerk, a factory worker, a McDonald’s grillman (twice), a busboy, a waiter, a wine steward, a pastoral intern,  a mason’s assistant, a painter, a med device salesman, a sales/marketing/biz dev guy for a software solutions company – you get the picture.

Some of those were just jobs – exchanging labor for a paycheck. Some were great developmental steps along the way – at times, very enjoyable, but always with an admixture of wearing uniforms and fulfilling roles that didn’t quite fit. Working for people with whom I did not always see eye-to-eye.

I suspect that this career trajectory is pretty normal for many of us. And most of us yearn to be in a place where our work is, and increasingly becomes, a labor of love.

If that’s your yearning, here’s my advice.

[Update: related and thought-provoking post from Mitch Joel. Good stuff!]

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Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection almost-daily e-newsletter (see sample), chock full of news and resources for pharmaceutical professionals.

Get the Impactiviti overview.

Visit the Impactiviti Job Board

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