Digital Strategy Workshop

digital-dna-test-smallAre you prepared for the digital healthcare revolution?

As digital and mobile technologies continue to evolve and grow in popularity, the healthcare and pharma sectors are having to quickly adapt in order to meet the demands of the modern day patient and healthcare professional. But in order to develop a sound strategy and allocate resources to digital projects senior management and marketers need to understand the effectiveness of their existing digital initiatives. To help them do this, Genetic Digital is offering a tailored Digital Strategy workshop, which we’re calling the Digital DNA Test. The session will involve a study of your organisation’s current digital presence (on its own and in relation to your competitors) across three key areas:

3-As1 – Assets

We will assess how well you’re taking advantage of digital and mobile assets like websites, apps and video (inline with compliance).

2 – Acquisition

We will assess how well you’re using digital channels like search engines & social media to acquire & retain customers.

3 – Analysis

We will assess how well you’re taking full advantage of analytics tools and if you’re capturing the right metrics to help measure and improve performance.

To help guide you down the right path, we will set up a simple traffic light decision filter that will aid in prioritising your findings.

  • Green – Continue your current course. Monitor and look for incremental improvement.
  • Yellow – Pause and assess. Adjust based on priorities and capacity.
  • Red – Stop and fill gaps. Change strategic/tactical direction based on objectives and budget.

To learn more:

Obtaining funding for your digital health project

biomedical_catalyst_programmeWe often get approached by individuals who are often healthcare professionals or research students looking for expert help to turn their innovative digital healthcare business plan into a tangible and commercially viable product. However, many of them struggle to progress their business plans to the next level as they lack the capital required to invest in product development. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs will be painfully aware of high hard it can be to secure a loan from a bank or attract private funding from an investment firm or angel investor. So what other sources of funding are out there for healthcare innovators?

I recently attended a workshop called the Biomedical Catalyst Programme (BMC). The event which was organised by the Digital Health Special Interest Group in partnership with the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) gave attendees the opportunity to hear about the BMC funding programme and how it is relevant to innovators in key areas of Digital Health which clearly address unmet clinical need. The objectives of the workshop were to learn how the BMC programme works, explore the types of projects that could fit the programme’s investment criteria and understand some of the important considerations for exploiting products and services into the healthcare sector.

It was interesting to hear that at present only 4% of projects that receive funding are in digital health. I was astonished by how low this figure was, but felt reassured to hear that the TSB panel stated that they want to encourage more digital health investments. To learn more about the scheme visit:

If you have an idea for a new digital healthcare product and need some expert digital development and marketing assistance to help you bring you product to market, then get in touch. You may also find our white papers and other resources such as our App Business Planner useful documents when producing your business plan.

We’re shortlisted for a PM Society Digital Media Award!

Genetic Digital has been shortlisted as a finalist at this years PM Society’s Digital Media Awards. Their LinkedIn campaign for Britannia Pharmaceuticals has been shortlisted under the ‘Social Media’ category.

Damon Lightley, MD of Genetic Digital comments: “As a young but fast growing agency, to have our work credited by a highly reputable third party is superb news. We like to push the boundaries when it comes to digital and many pharma companies have shied away from using social media as a way of communicating with their target audiences. Our LinkedIn campaign has demonstrated that social media is more than just Facebook or Twitter and the success of this particular campaign has clearly shown that the social channel can indeed generate some great commercial results for a pharma company looking for innovative and less competitive ways to reach out to healthcare professionals.”

Turning your clinical pathway into a mobile app

It has been reported that health and wellbeing applications are estimated to make up approximately 40% of new smartphone apps currently being developed. Health and medical related apps have the potential to be adapted and used by healthcare professionals, helping to revolutionise the sector and reflect the digital age we live in.

There has also been a lot of discussion around providing HCPs with greater access to clinical pathways and care maps so that they can easily check medical guidelines on the go to help ensure that they are implementing a specific task in-line with best practice.

So, does it make sense for healthcare organisations to create handy mobile apps that HCPs can quickly and easily access on their smartphone so that they can check to make sure that they’re following the correct procedure?

Here are 5 key areas for you to consider that will help you to make an informed decision.

1. Does the pathway already exist already?
Because clinical pathways exist to promote efficient patient care based on evidence based practice they are more often than not available in a paper format but trying to track them down can be difficult. If the pathway already exists in paper based format then it’s more than likely that the pathway can be re-produced to work as an app, providing that there is a clear process that can be followed.

2. Can the pathway be used in its current format or does it need modifying?
Generally clinical pathways refer to medical guidelines. However a single pathway may refer to guidelines on several topics in a well specified context, for example both paediatric and adult pathways for a single indication, so it’s important to imagine the user and the point at which they may need to engage with the pathway. If the pathway is overly complex covering a number of topics, can it be reproduced in a number of different flavours making it easier for the end user to access the correct pathway more quickly?

3. Additional help information and any other relevant reference points.
Using the devices functionality a user will be guided through the process by answering relevant questions about the patient and their symptoms. In some cases the answer may not be entirely clear but developing the pathway as an app allows you to include additional information in the form of text, images and video to help clarify points and questions. In addition to this if there are other reference points that are relevant to the pathway, links can be built into these to help provide further explanation.

4. Test the app with local teams to check its effectiveness, sign off and launch the app and tell everyone about it.
As with any new tool, it’s important that you test it thoroughly before launching it for use by the whole of the department/organisation. Testing should involve making sure that each end-user can fully complete each specific task on the app that you set them. If they are unable to do so then you will be able to identify whether the app has a technical glitch or if the user journey is not clear and thus making it confusing for the end-user to complete the task. It’s also important to make sure that if the app is designed for use on multiple devices and operating systems, i.e. iPhone, Android, iPad, Blackberry, Microsoft etc, then make sure that you have users in your testing group that will be trialling the app on each of the devices and platforms that you will want the app to work on.

5. Track usage and improve the app where necessary
Even when the app is ‘live’ and in use it’s still important to capture data on its usage and give end-users the opportunity to submit feedback to highlight any glitches or possible areas for improvement. Your end-users can provide you with some useful insights into additional features and functionality that could help make the app even more useful and this can help to encourage more people to download it.

Communicating with Physicians on the Internet, What Healthcare Companies Need to Know.

There is no doubt that more and more doctors are coming around to the use of the digital world – according to Simon Grime Managing Director of Communications for the UK’s largest and most active network of medical professionals.  Over 40,000 doctors engage with each day – that’s over 25% of all UK doctors using the same website in a single day.

But, Grime warns, to make the most of the huge potential to engage with doctors online, pharma and healthcare companies must first make it their business to understand doctors’ needs and digital behaviour, so that they can be sure that they are providing the right content in the right format.

Grime points out that when contemplating any approach ‘en masse’ to medical professionals, the first thing to bear in mind is that they are not all the same.  Indeed, according to his experience Grime has observed that doctors online information and communication needs vary significantly according to such factors as their specialty, the age of the doctor and their nationality.

Work that have done has shown, for instance, that:

    • Oncologists are more likely to download medical apps when compared to haematologists. (71% vs 51%)
    • Haematologists use the Internet much more frequently to read clinical papers than psychiatrists. (40% vs 8% use the Internet at least twice a day to read a clinical paper)
    • Rheumatologists are half as likely to visit pharma-operated websites in a typical month compared to Haematologists. (14% vs 30%) has also gathered information from other sources specifically data from their partners in the Networks in Health Alliance of Physician networks – which covers more than two million physicians worldwide through its online community networks.  They have found from this that there is considerable variation in physician attitudes and on-line behaviour across Europe.

Some interesting statistics that they have posted show that pharmaceutical representatives are most likely to be trusted by doctors in Spain and least likely to be trusted by them in the UK, Sweden and Germany.  Interestingly it is in the latter group where the use of the Internet and membership of independent online communities is more advanced and important to physicians that the greatest caution is observed.   Surprisingly, the work that has done shows that the use of the Internet by doctors in France is significantly lower than doctors in other major European countries, although this picture, they report, is changing.

There is no doubt that making contact with online professional communities can provide the most effective method of making meaningful long-term relationships with any medical orientated audience.  They offer a wide array of prospects and exclusive understanding of the on-line physicians’ thinking and behaviour.

In a world where so much information is available, doctors, when they use the Internet are naturally seeking to ensure that they have the security of an authenticated and legitimate online sources within the medical and pharmaceutical community. These communities, therefore, are becoming the communications channel of choice for pharmaceutical companies who wish to reach medical professionals.

It follows therefore that those wishing to communicate with physicians and other medical professionals need first to do their research into the group they want to target with their message.  Then they need to understand those groups on line behaviour, if they want theirs to be the message that is received, understood and acted upon.



Doctors, healthcare professionals and the use of social media

Damon Lightley featured in Clinical Business ExcellenceRead Damon’s, guest article in Clinical Business Excellence about the use of social media within the medical sectors. The article appears on page 16 of the October 2012 issue of Clinical Business Excellence. It is titled: “Doctors, healthcare professionals and the use of social media.” PDF version is also available

This is Damon’s second article that he has had published in the publication. He has also written one titled: “Mobile Medical Applications: A Great Way of Reaching HCPs?”

Doctors, healthcare professionals and the use of social media

Leveraging KOLs Online

Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)Key Opinion Leaders can be crucial for healthcare and pharmaceutical companies. Respected in their field, these “thought leaders” are usually highly experienced and qualified physicians who influence their peer’s medical practice through articles they write or presentations that they give. It’s common that pharmaceutical companies engage KOLs during the drug development process, as they can provide advocacy and valuable marketing feedback.

Physicians often have to choose between a wide range of drug options for their patients, and often turn to key opinion leaders for knowledge, advice and guidance on pharmaceuticals, healthcare products and treatments. The credibility that KOLs possess is valuable and hugely desirable for pharmaceutical companies who wish to develop and distribute new medications. KOLs establish this credibility through years of experience and qualifications.

KOLs are incredibly important for medical and pharmaceutical companies, forming a critical part of any marketing plan. KOLs have a lot to add to a pharmaceutical marketing campaign, whether it’s bringing scientific studies into focus or creating an academic buzz for a particular product. Often this discourse can begin years before a drug or other product is brought to the market. KOLs can help establish the need for a drug, skew clinical trials in the products favour, downplay the side effect, neutralise critics.

KOLs Online

Leveraging the influence of a key opinion leader is a complicated process which requires an understanding of the KOL’s contribution to their industry or specialism, the ability to identify and understand their existing collaborations and relationships, as well as their degree of involvement with various institutions and organisations.

Often KOL management is based on the lifecycle of a product; KOLs involved in clinical trials might be emphasised in the early stages of a product’s life, followed by KOLs with publications at a later stage. Whatever credentials the KOL has, there are various ways of promoting them online, whether they are academic publishers or involved in clinical trials.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a subset of Google which allows users to search specifically for scholarly material online. GS locates journal articles, theses, dissertations, books, reports, papers and research materials from a wide range of sources including academic publications, professional societies, institutional repositories and databases. It’s a great place for physicians and medical professionals to find information about specific products and treatments.

Publishers of scholarly works can apply to have their site included in Google Scholar search, as long as some criteria are met, including providing an abstract of each work to non-subscribers. Libraries and publishes of textbooks can also have their content indexed on Google Scholar and Google Book Search.

Google Authorship

Google author tags were rolled out in mid-2011, and they enable websites to identify authors of content on their site and across the web. Webmasters just need to add simple tags to content which associates it with Google+ profiles. Google+ profile pictures are displayed alongside authored search results, along with a link to see more content written by this author. It gives visibility to authors in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and presents a great opportunity to utilise KOL relevancy and authority to promote search results on Google.

It’s through Google+, Google Authors, +1s and Google local pages that the search engine is increasingly becoming a social network. Ensuring good placing and visibility on Google is now not simply SEO – it’s about building a community of engaged audiences just like other social media activity. It’s thought that some sort of “author rank” will be introduced to identify the relevance and authority of various authors.


Twitter is not the most relevant social network for healthcare and pharmaceuticals, but it is the most timely. On Twitter important real-time communications develop around news events and current affairs. This could include breaking news around clinical tests and new products in development.

Media-savvy individuals use Twitter because they know it is the best way to reach certain individuals who might be less likely to respond to an email.


LinkedIn gives marketers the ability to connect with specific groups of people by employer, job title, location, gender and age. The difference in LinkedIn is that most of its users use the site in a professional capacity, and it’s not just used for HR and recruitment; discussion groups debate industry news and developments…

Posting in relevant discussion groups can create a conversation about a product, service, treatment, and KOLs can “weigh-in” on the subject with their professional credentials laid bare for the world to see. Professionals get taken seriously on LinkedIn.


HARO stands for Help a Report Out, and is an email service which helps reporters and journalists find sources for their stories. It’s the ideal opportunity for key opinion leaders to recommend products, services, treatments and “weigh-in” on important issues facing the associated industry. 30, 000 members, including journalists from the New York Times, ABC News and the Huffington Post, have all used HARO to find sources for their stories.

The HARO email goes out daily, so marketers should have a look when they can if they don’t want to miss out on free PR and media opportunities.

Using LinkedIn to engage with HCPs

Using LinkedIn to engage with HCPsIncreasingly healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing budgets are moving to online spaces. In 2010 eMarketer predicted that online pharmaceutical advertising spending would rise to $1.52 billion by 2014. In 2011 spending rose 23.3% to $1.58 billion, and eMarketer are now predicting that online pharmaceutical advertising spend is likely to reach $2.48 billion by 2016.

Marketing healthcare & pharmaceutical products that tend to specific diseases will require niche marketing strategies. Online and social media present an unparalleled opportunity to reach a highly-targeted group of individuals, that include healthcare professionals (HCPs). Using the various digital media channels at their disposal, pharmaceutical marketers can now produce highly customisable campaigns which target specific audiences based on a number of factors and activities.

But online advertising is not just about selling; it could also be about recruitment, human resources, identifying key opinion leaders and reaching out to them. In terms of marketing to professionals there’s no better platform than LinkedIn ads, which has proved massively effective for B2B industries due to the wealth of personal, professional information which LinkedIn users provide.

For regulatory reasons highly-targeted marketing in this form is very appealing to pharmaceutical companies that want to engage with HCPs. LinkedIn allows advertisers to serve ads to users with certain qualifications or titles, as well as the types of groups they have signed up to and the industry sectors they work in. It means that advertising spend can be extremely efficient and that specific people can be targeted for specific ads.

As well as the professional information which most users submit when using the site, there are also company pages and discussion groups on LinkedIn, which can be great place to engage audiences. LinkedIn groups encourage users to use LinkedIn for longer sessions of reading and sharing information, and promotion through groups can be a good way of targeting specific individuals while they are thinking/talking about a particular issue or topic in a group environment.

The difference with LinkedIn when compared to other social media platforms, is that LinkedIn is business-orientated. Whether recruiting or networking to promote products and services, most users on LinkedIn are acting in a professional capacity, and as such, it is a unique social platform in this respect.

With LinkedIn advertisers have the ability to target campaigns focusing on a particular company, a particular job role or even by geographical location. You can also target members by gender and age. There are over 1.5 million healthcare professionals on LinkedIn, and a quick search can identify:

  • 261, 514 users whose job titles includes the word “physician”
  • 151, 088 users who list themselves as a “medical specialist”
  • 267,883 who identify themselves as a “doctor”
  • 103, 273 who identify themselves as a “clinical specialist”

Because LinkedIn is so business-focused, its user data is ten times more accurate than any other social network’s registration data. It means that most LinkedIn users are being themselves in order to connect with work colleagues or other professionals, and so need to be honest and open about their employer, their job role, academic qualifications and experience. Accurate profile data makes targeted campaigns work – reducing wastage and keeping to budget.

LinkedIn & Google DoubleClick

LinkedIn has also partnered with the Google double click Ad Exchange, which means that targets can be identified based on job titles and employers, and they can be marketed to across Google’s network on a cost-per-click basis. Combined with Google-support capabilities such as re-targeting, this could prove a wise tactic for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies looking to target healthcare professionals.

New report: Online pharmaceutical marketing impacts brand awareness

comScore inc, a worldwide leader in measuring the digital world, recently released important new results which suggest that branded pharmaceutical websites generate the highest lifts in Rx conversion and adherence.

The information was deduced from comScore’s sixth annual ‘Online Marketing Effectiveness Benchmarks for the Pharmaceutical Industry’ report, which was conducted in partnership with Evolution Road LLC, a marketing innovation consultancy. The report was based on survey data from approximately one million online participants, and information from over 100 pharmaceutical studies. Whilst the report was compiled in the US, the findings are likely to have global implications.

The findings show that exposure to online display ads creates a lift in brand awareness. This highlights the positive impact that online pharmaceutical marketing can have on brand awareness and conversion among prospects. “Over the years, our benchmarking studies have proven the impact that online marketing continues to have on increasing consumer awareness and favourability towards health brands, ultimately driving treatment,” said comScore’s vice president for Health and Pharmaceutical Solutions, John Mangano.

In conjunction with the release of this information, comScore is introducing new enhancements to its Pharmaceutical Rx Lift Measurement studies, in order to offer pharmaceutical marketers additional, more actionable insight into the success of their campaigns. The Pharmaceutical Rx Lift methodology now allows marketers to identify the effect and success of specific elements of their campaigns.

Pharmaceutical marketing faces a ‘hurricane of change’

A report by the global management consultancy firm Booz and Company shows that senior executives within the pharmaceutical industry believe the business model is broken and that the industry needs to adapt marketing strategies appropriate for the digital age.

The critical nature of the state of sales and marketing within the industry was revealed by Danielle Rollmann, a partner in Booz and Company’s Global Health Practice, who claimed that “the pharmaceutical industry is the eye of a hurricane of change”.

The Booz and Company survey was designed to take the ‘industry temperature’ by surveying executives from leading US and European pharmaceutical companies. In response to the question ‘Is the pharmaceutical model broken?’ 68% answered in the affirmative with 44% in agreement and 24% in strong agreement.

In response to a range of questions, it was clear that many decision makers within the pharmaceutical industry believe that budgetary and financial pressures were going to have a serious impact on future sales and marketing efforts. The survey revealed that there was likely to be a substantial shift towards digital methods of marketing and a sharp decline in traditional print and journal advertising.

The biggest shift in marketing priorities was accelerated adoption of social media aimed at doctors to promote products with 58% of respondents projecting an increase in expenditure on social media as a marketing channel. Mobile technology for marketing, e-detailing and doctor oriented media channels were all identified by over 50% of those surveyed as likely to receive higher budgets in the next two years.

The results of the survey underline the increasing central role that digital marketing will play within the pharmaceutical industry for the foreseeable future and the importance of companies claiming their slice of digital territory as the earliest possible stage.