With the growth in the number of HCPs collaborating via social media channels pharma are realising the importance of engaging with the most influencial of these online HCP Digital Opinion Leaders.

Over the next few blog posts I will be discussing the insights emerging around HCP digital behaviour and the new opportunities, engagement strategies and tactics this has created.

1. Identify existing HCP digital opinion leaders in your therapy area

Over the last few years we have seen a growing number of HCPs using social media to share their experiences, learn from their peers and discuss individual patient cases, treatment options and drugs.

Several doctors’ Twitter ‘chats’ have developed, providing a place for doctors to discuss professional ideas with other HCPs from around the world.

Online HCP digital opinion leader discussion

Online HCP digital opinion leader discussion

During 2012, #meded, a weekly twitter chats for doctors, included chat from over 4,600 HCPs and other stakeholders in 90 countries. So far in 2013, this has grown to more than 11,300 participants.

HCP Digital Opinion Leaders (DOLs) are those HCPs whose opinions are valued by and often influence their peers. A DOL can be compared to an online version of a Key Opinion Leader (KOL) however, unlike the KOL, a DOL’s online influence is not necessarily based on professional seniority. DOLs are those who are well connected and respected online among peers who also use social tools so HCPs of any rank or role can be influencers.

Previous attempts by researchers to distil the HCP voice and discover the key DOLs related to a therapy area were restricted to looking for the use of clinical terms in social media or search analysis tools. Since patients are also using clinical terms online, this approach was limited.

With new technology like Creation Pinpoint it is now possible to identify named HCP digital opinion leaders discussing a particular therapy area or treatment and piece together a definitive picture of your brand’s DOLs.