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MedCrowd re-brands to MedDigital – no relation!

Here’s the interesting news that MedCrowd, the medical crowd-sourcing company is re-branding to MedDigital. I’d like to state that Medigital is my personal blog and it is the pseudonym that I sometimes use for my professional self around the web, and although only one ‘d’ away, I am not an employee or associate of MedDigital.

The announcement

a Post-IE6 world

As with many large corporate entities, pharma companies rely on their IT infrastructure to keep them in business and it can be a mammoth task to plan an upgrade route for hardware (desktops, laptops, servers etc) as well as software. With this in mind, I expect that if you work in a pharma company, you will be working on a computer that runs Windows XP (or variant), using Microsoft Office 2003, and it is also likely that you are browsing the web with Internet Explorer (IE) 6, or at a stretch, IE7.

Naming no names, at least two of the clients I work with are stuck on IE6, a browser that was launched in 2001. That’s 10 years old! These companies contribute the 11.4% of people globally who are currently still using the browser. There are many reasons to upgrade from IE6, not least the added speed, addition of tabbed browsing and privacy features, but the single most important reason for upgrading is to fend against the security flaws that are present in that browser.

When working on web applications that are for internal use with our clients, we always have to ensure backwards compatibility with IE6, which is becoming increasingly challenging in terms of the amount of coding and testing we need to do. In fact, a number of high-profile websites no longer support IE6, including some Google services. The latest web service to drop support for IE6 is wordpress.com, where this blog is hosted. This is an issue for me at the moment, as it means I am losing readers, but I think anything that encourages companies to speed up their upgrade procedures is a good thing.

To those who no longer are forced to use IE6, welcome to teenhood from the noughties!

#HCSMGLOBAL

Heads up: I’ve written a post for #HCSMGLOBAL on the global information and communications technology (ICT) gap. #HCSMGLOBAL is the grass roots umbrella organization for regional #HCSM chapters who meet, discuss and influence the healthcare conversation on the social web. If you are connected with healthcare in any way (be it professionally, or maybe as a patient or a carer), I urge you to join the conversation in your location:

#HCSM (US)
#HCSMCA (Canada)
#HCSMEU (Europe)
#HCSMLA (Latin America)
#HCSMAsia (Asia)
#HCSMANZ (Australia & New Zealand)
#HCSMEUFR (France)
#HCSMES (Spain)
#HCSMUK (UK)

Look forward to chatting with you at #HCSMEU (@hcsmeu). We meet on Twitter at 1pm CET every Friday. Just search for #HCSMEU.

Right about Xoom and iPad 2

Last week I predicted Apple would drop the price of the iPad for the launch of the iPad 2. Looks like I was right, as Apple have announced a £100 reduction in the price of the original iPad in the UK, with other countries receiving similar reductions.

Whether this is for clearing stock of the iPad or a more permanent offering remains to be seen. However, this does support my predictions that the Motorola Xoom will not be considered over the iPad, or even the iPad 2 in a pharma salesforce or hospital environment.

When is digital strategy not digital strategy?

I want to pick up a bit more on the closing remark from my DigiPharm Europe 2010 posts. If you recall, I said:

To survive in this landscape, Pharma must make inroads into developing a digital strategy – and by that I mean integrate your digital tactics into your overall strategic plan, and at the same time, generate and maintain internal buy-in by developing a corporate digital strategy that integrates digital into the fabric of your organization’s culture and operations.

Although I work on the agency side myself, this is something that I face every day – My agency is full-service, so we integrate strategy with digital as well as traditional medical communications and we employ a range of highly skilled staff to satisfy that requirement, so there can be a challenge of enlightenment with regards to the uses of digital as a means to communicate with some people internally. Its a balancing act, and there is always resistance from those who don’t see the value of these channels or those who are set in their ways, unwilling or unable to move from their comfort zones. I approach these individuals with a mix of elucidation (e.g. demystifying microblogging), training (e.g. the concept of information architecture and the process of designing and developing a web project), encouragement (setting up a LinkedIn profile is a start) and information (circulating good examples of digital communication); all mixed in with the ol’ Jacobs Charm(tm).

For Pharma, the challenge is greater, as we have to layer on the regulatory and legal aspects (not to mention the challenge made by the boundaries of geography, where regulatory jurisdiction hinders us at every step!). For Pharma marketers wanting take advantage of the rich digital opportunities out there, it can be a daunting and frustrating task. However, with a bit of perseverance and the right inclusive and encouraging approach, it is achievable even in the most conservative of companies to gain buy-in from key stakeholders.

As a strategic thinker, its important to consider digital in your corporate, franchise and brand strategy, but I want to make absolutely clear that the phrase ‘digital strategy’ is a misnomer when it comes to a communications plan. When we consider the use of digital channels or tactics, we must also remain mindful that these are tools within the communications plan to serve the strategy, and not to replace the strategy. Pharma marketers need to be very clear that using a digital tactic will achieve those strategic imperatives. We all love iPhones, gadgetry, social media, interactive games and multimedia – but we must also make sure we take a step back and think – will this suit our needs? Or will we be better off with a simple or traditional print tactic?

Still having trouble? There are loads of great agencies out there who can help. Get a recommendation, throw a stone or ask me.

BlackBerry PlayBook

So RIM have unveiled the BlackBerry PlayBook, which may give them some leverage in the market vs Apple. It’s the same size as the Galaxy Tab at 7″ and it has Flash support.

As I mentioned in my previous post, confirmed it uses QNX operating system and it seems to have a decent spec.

Its downfall might be that you need to pair it with a BlackBerry handset to connect to anything, and the fact that BlackBerry App World has a very very long way to go to compete against Android Market and it’s more likely to reach the Sun before it overtakes iTunes. Also, the alarming use of capitals mid-word in the name is a huge negative.

Will this work in a hospital setting? I doubt – unless they issue all HCPs with BlackBerry handsets too!


About me

Hi, my name is Paul Jacobs and I write the Medigital blog, as well as being the Director, Digital Strategy at Sonic Boom, a digital and social agency. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts about the digital domain in pharma and medical communications/education.
Please note that opinions expressed in this blog are my very own and do not necessarily reflect those my employer, family or pets. Twitter: @PJ_Medigital
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