Archive for July, 2010

iPad+Hospitals=gimmick?

Reading yesterday about the 500 Graduate doctors, nurses and advanced practice nurses who will receive iPads got me to thinking whether this is is really a good idea. No doubt that iPads are the must-have device for surfing the internet whilst watching TV, training soldiers to shoot guns or babysitting toddlers, however is this the best choice of device in a hospital setting?

I suppose the answer is to determine how they will be used. In the pharmaceutical and medical industry, I can see a need for iPad (or other tablet) – useful for demonstrating and engaging on an exhibition booth, or apps for educating physicians and medical reference (which I understand will be partly what the device will be used for here).

What I am not so sure about is using the iPad during interactions with patients. Are you able to sterilise an iPad? What about the security element? iPads are sexy – are they not likely to be stolen in high quantities?

Ok, So I know that this is not the first time that the idea of using iPads in a hospital setting has been tried, but why iPad over other solutions? There are a number of (primarily windows-based) tablet PCs that are marketed to the hospital community, and after thinking about this for a while, I can only think that the low pricepoint compared with other tablet PCs ($400 vs $2000) combats the high desirability profile of the device (and the high likelihood of it being stolen) – you could replace it 4-times over – and add that to the networked nature of the system they likely have in place (all data held on hospital server, no no patient data on the device itself).

Turns out that an iPad, or maybe in the future an Android-based tablet device in the hospital setting may not be such a bad idea after all…

Don’t miss a trick on mobile

I am fascinated by the mobile landscape. I mean, have a think about a consumer electronics product that has revolutionised the way we communicate with each other as much as the mobile or cell phone. Look at advances in mobile technology over the few short years – I could link to a number of sources but you could just search for mobile posts on Mashable and find it yourself.

Nokia, that giant among the industry is losing value fast: a profit drop of 40% in Q2 of this year. This is because they were taken by surprise by Apple and Google in the race for smartphones. What do Nokia have to compete with iOS 4 and Android 2.x? Symbian – nope, or maybe the touted MeeGo – a mashup of two originally separate platforms. However, they are way off bringing an MeeGo handset to market, which puts them in really dire straights considering that they are still the top-selling mobile manufacturer in the world: over 110,000 units sold in Q1 2010. Now I am not an economist, but I expect that these are low-end phones and Nokia are not seeing any benefit from the 43% surge in smartphone sales that is being reported.

So here’s the thing, I see clients go doolally for patient iPhone apps (less so for Android or Blackberry, which is also short-sighted but that’s a post for another day), but I still think they are missing a trick. Nokia are failing badly in their current business model, however they sold 110,000 handsets in Q1 2010 – this shows that although smartphones are very popular, it will be a while before they overtake your “feature” phone in popularity stakes globally – that’s a whole lot of WAP-enabled phones missed…

Inspirations and aspirations

I’d hate to misrepresent myself on this blog. To be clear, I’ve been working in the medical communications/education industry for nine years – which is (just about) enough time to understand the industry, the challenges those in the industry face, and the pitfalls/opportunities a brand may encounter.

I also have an eclectic mix of experience in terms of disciplines, ranging from print creative, editorial, client services and now digital (I’ve been in my digital-specific role for exactly three months and one week).

What am I getting at here? although I have delivered many digital tactics throughout my career, I can categorically say that I have learned more about the digital space in those three months than the rest of the eight years and seven months put together.

Much of this has been through the support systems at my workplace (we have a great digital strategist in our Group who I go to for advice and chat to every week), but other than my own passion and drive for all things digital, mobile and social, I have found that there is a brilliant community of experts out in internetland who are leading the field. These people very much inspire me to lofty aspirations – to grow as a digital specialist, to try my damnedest in the search for innovation, engagement and, most importantly, to understand the digital space, how it works, how we manoeuvre in it and how it can reap rewards on so many levels for all stakeholders in this industry: patients, healthcare providers, pharma companies, medical societies, charities, health authorities, agencies and individuals.

So thank you to all those who share their knowledge, advice and opinions. I’d like to list out here some of these people, many of whose blogs I have been an avid reader for a long while:

Jonathan Richman (@jonmrichman) – Dose of Digital (and thanks Jonathan for pointing me towards a reference for some stats I was having trouble backing up)
John Mack (@pharmaguy) – Pharma Marketing Blog
Wendy Blackburn (@WendyBlackburn) – epharma Rx
Andrew Spong (@andrewspong) – STweM
Schwen Gwee (@schwen) – med20.com (glad to see you updating the blog again!)
Plus many, many others!

Over the falls

So I’ll begin my first blog post to say that, ashamedly, I have been a voracious consumer of content surrounding digital and social media in the pharmaceuticals industry, but never really one to engage.

For example, I have accounts on all the major networking tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc, but I primarily use them (along with a number of blogs) to monitor trends, viewpoints and discussion surrounding the digital arena. I don’t really get involved in the wall-posting and virtual-turnip-growing interactions that occur between my friends on Facebook. I do, however find myself having to monitor my events and message inbox, as this is the forum that many of my friends use as their primary form of communication.

It’s only really now, after a long while observing how others interact within these media, that I have been able to decide for myself that I have a contribution to make to the debate, that my input into the discussion may be valuable to others, and that maybe I should put myself out there into these ongoing discussion in order reap the benefits of engaging.

As I see it, this is also a lesson that needs to be learned by pharma marketers who might view the social media environment with the air of a barrel-clad lady looking out at the Horse-shoe falls. There may come a time where you exhaust all the passive ways that you might push out your messaging to your audience of HCPs (no matter how innovative your conference booth touch screens are), and where do you go from there?

Geronimo?


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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