Pharma Commercial Services
Social Media Monitoring Analysis
Social media is integral to patient’s information journey
Popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and forums have now become an integral part of a patient’s information journey, which typically starts with Google. The consequent empowerment of the patients in making decisions around their treatment has led to a paradigm shift; patients are now more aware and exercise a greater say in the treatment process which impacts healthcare outcomes.
Social media encompasses all stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem
Multiple stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry including patients and caregivers, physicians, payers, providers and advocacy groups are increasingly using the social web to seek or provide information, converse with each other and voice opinions on various aspect of healthcare. Hashtags are changing healthcare. Therefore there is an indispensable need for pharmaceutical companies to stand up, take notice and engage these stakeholders optimally.
Social media needs to be monitored at each stage of the drug life cycle
Social media analytics can be applied at various stages of the drug lifecycle right from the drug discovery stage to the maturity stage. Insights generated during each stage can be utilized across functions to serve specific business objectives. For instance, during the development / clinical trials phase, social media analytics can help in understanding unmet patient needs which can shape research initiatives. During the pre-launch phase, social media can be used in the marketing mix to raise awareness and monitor competitor activities. During the launch phase, insights from social media can help in shaping marketing communications and brand messaging. After launch, social media can help in driving drug adoption and monitoring brand reputation. Physician and patients can be actively and cost effectively engaged during the maturity phase using social media.
Challenges in social media listening
A significant challenge in social media listening and analytics is to convert data into information, information into intelligence and finally, intelligence into wisdom. This challenge stems from four distinct characteristics of content generated in pharma-related social media
- Diversity of platforms and participants
- Dynamic and unstructured nature of social media content
- Relevance of data and quality of analysis
- Regulatory issues and concerns around privacy and compliance
The massive amount of social media data generated on a daily basis complicates real time discovery, extraction and filtering. Also, the unstructured nature of data makes it difficult to identify certain parameters such as stakeholder profile, geographic origin etc. Complexity in managing various diseases impacts the qualitative determination of patient sentiments, conversation themes, unmet patient needs, views around side effects and drug usage recommendations. Further, the emergence of social patient advocates influencing online patient communities and KOLs adopting digital and social media, necessitates measuring impact of online activism.
IMS social media monitoring and analysis methodology
Our social media monitoring and analysis methodology addresses the above challenges using a blended approach. Our specially designed 4-step methodology is an optimum mix of automated source identification and data extraction, and strong human dependence on analysis and interpretation.
- Data Gathering / API Extraction: We use commercially available listening platforms for data discovery and extraction and supplement the process with human verification. Our customized API programs are configured to extract and gather content directly from social media platforms, whether they are popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, global or geography-specific disease related forums, blogs, or review and rating websites. Such an approach allows us to simultaneously maintain relevancy and efficiency.
- Contextualization and Refinement: Human intelligence and analytical skills come into play in the contextualization and refinement of the gathered content. Our team composition – individuals with a blend of in-depth pharma-knowledge, analytical skills and expertise in social and digital media – ensure objectivity and accuracy. Our team manually categorizes data with specific objectives in mind, consolidates the output into structured analysis and, finally, builds a case for decision making on various aspects. This is how we address the issue that these activities cannot be meaningfully carried out by analytics software or textual analysis tools at the current level of technological advancement.
- Human Analysis and Interpretation: The analysis and interpretation of patient generated content focuses on critical parameters related to drugs and treatment such as the side effects of drugs, their reported efficacy, switchovers between drugs and reasons for change, patient concerns in disease management, cost issues, issues related to drug administration, life style issues and patients’ unmet needs. Such coverage of a multitude of areas ensures that our analytical perspective is comprehensive and insightful.
- Recommendations and Actionability: Our final output is comprehensive and consultative. We ensure that our recommendations are actionable and fit well within the regulatory framework of the pharma industry. Insights derived from IMS’ social media monitoring and analysis can be applied to various strategic activities including such as market research, competitive intelligence, brand building and communication, generating research ideas, patient and physician/KOL engagement, mapping patient journeys, modifying clinical trials etc.
- Methodology: An optimum blend of automated and human listening ensures comprehensive, contextual and relevant data capture and in-depth analysis by analysts with the subject matter expertize and medical experts
- Geography/language coverage: IMS Health’s global presence allows us to leverage on-shore/off-shore analyst resources so that analysis is done by native language experts
- Ability to deliver actionable insights: Our analysis is not limited to presenting findings; we also think from clients’ perspective and present actionable insights which can be implemented across business functions. Our recommendations are based on our understanding of the social media space as well as pharma’s strict regulatory environment
- IMS Data sets: IMS Health brings to table a unique ability to correlate insights obtained from social media with IMS data assets, thus closing the information loop
Areas of social media monitoring and analysis
- Brands and products: Online/social media reputation monitoring and analysis for prescription drug brands, molecules and OTC products
- Disease area: Social media activities overview around an indication or a disease area globally or in specific geography
- Conferences/congresses: Analysis and insights from social media data around a conference or an event
- KOL / KSA profiling: Social media profiling of KOLs/physicians and key social advocates
- Web presence CI/SEO audit: Analysis of web presence and social media presence of companies, brands and competitors, search optimization/web-optimization audit and recommend