Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Digital Pharma West 2010: Day 2

There has been a lot of talk about transparency in the past couple of days. The observations made in this post may test the comfort level of some when it comes to being transparent… Day 2 of Digital Pharma West 2010 was actually day one since technically the first day was some pre-conference sessions. But regardless, the topics and discussion for the Tuesday sessions were also very interesting and pretty good. The morning sessions, in my opinion, had to do a lot with sales. But, what do you expect from a marketing conference?

I talked about this in a previous post, but I just find it interesting that success stories in this industry are ones which are of orphan disease conditions (in other words, important but less common disease conditions) in which there is only one medication to choose from for that condition. In other words, it is a success because there is a monopoly in that area.

This is so interesting to me. It’s kind of like the cable television model of comcast and time warner. Of course this model is going to be a success – there is no other competition. Also something interesting was the continued use of phrases like “Disease State Marketing.” I don’t know about you, but that kind of sends chills up my spine. But, what do I know, I’m just a physician…

One of the last sessions of the afternoon talked about physician behavior while online. By the title, this was very intriguing to me. (BTW, I’m not going to mention the presenter or the company by name here. But, this will be an interesting test of their social media presence, since I anticipate to be corrected on any inaccuracies in the following…)

Anyway, from how I understood the presentation, they tracked where physicians went on the internet while at home (using proprietary technology, of course, placed on their home computer). From this, they accumulated data and are extrapolating – that THIS is how physicians behave overall while online. When they tried to get access to physician’s office computers to do the same thing, the company was shown a big “HIPPA” sign and that stopped any tracking at the office. Understandable.

As the graphs and the data were being shown to the audience, the entire crowd seemed very interested – that is, except two physicians in the audience – me and @Doctor_V. Check out the tweets that occurred during the presentation by clicking here.

Now, even though I’m pretty down on the presentation, I do give credit to this company for at least attempting to get this data. And, to their defense, they stated that they just started accumulating data in the past year. So, definitely this is a continuing work in progress. Plus, the feedback following the presentation was not all positive, and the company stated that they can further granulate the data to answer more specific questions that the audience had.

For example, one of the pieces of data that were shown was the low tendency of physicians to use “Social Media.” The audience brought out in the Q&A that there are social media pieces within some sites – like medscape. How can this data be captured?

However, an underlying premise of this study is physician behavior online at home trends toward overall physician behavior – meaning that the websites that they go to at home are presumably the same ones that they go to overall. I don’t think that this can be very accurate. Another piece missing is physician internet use while on a mobile device, like a smartphone. I think this data is needed, but how to capture that is difficult (I understand that).

What’s a conference without controversy, right? The dialogue here has been excellent. Like I said previously, I’m learning lots about an industry that I know little about. This knowledge gives me perspective in how things work from their end. The final day of Digital Pharma West is highlighted by a panel discussion which includes me and @Doctor_V. Should be a good time!

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