CREATION Client Advocate, Anni Neumann, shares about her first 6 months in CREATION:

Why do we hear that the pharmaceutical industry is slow in moving forward when it comes to innovative technology? Why does it seem to take pharmaceutical companies longer than other industries to act upon technology developments, insights and recommendations? Is the digital age we live in yet to arrive for the pharmaceutical industry? Is social media something to be scared of?

When I first heard about CREATION and what they do, I didn’t understand everything and worse I had difficulty believing that HCPs were active on social media! At that point I had been working for nearly 8 years in a pharmaceutical company in South America, and this was the first time I heard someone talking about digital opinion leaders and healthcare professional conversations online. These were some of my immediate questions after hearing about CREATION:

  • Are healthcare professionals (HCPs) really active online?
  • Why would I need a Digital Opinion Leader (DOL) if we have good and proven KOLs?
  • How can this approach be compliant? Surely there is too much risk of finding adverse events that I don’t want to know about?
  • How can I trust social media – anyone can post or tweet anything?

6 months later, in January 2017, I was working for CREATION. I was, and I still am, fascinated by the work we do and the insights we can discover online.

Picking up on my previous sceptical thoughts and distrust, I can confirm HCPs are definitely talking online! I have the privilege of leading some of our projects and I get a close look at the data. I was surprised to see the extent to which HCPs are engaging online. We see HCPs connecting all over the world to solve problems and discuss issues; nurses educating doctors; institutes such as NICE asking for opinions and HCPs asking pharmaceutical companies for guidance and support in using their products. And yes, we also see critical questions raised from HCPs towards the pharmaceutical industry.

Is this not what the pharmaceutical industry wants to see!?

As those working in the pharmaceutical sector, we want to understand our customers better and we need insights and guidance on how to get the message out. We live in a digital era, and I think it is time to open our eyes and ears and listen to what HCPs are saying online.

Honestly, it took me some time to really understand and get into what we do here at CREATION. It’s so unique that it takes time to really grasp the concept behind this great technology. So what is it what we do? Simple: we listen to HCPs online! How do we do that? Using a unique, proprietary platform called CREATION Pinpoint which is able to identify, from all the social profile accounts online, who is a HCP and who isn’t. A computer identifying HCPs? Yes, but once CREATION Pinpoint brings in all the identified HCP accounts our Data Quality Team (around 20 people working worldwide) verify and validate each profile. Our Research Analyst Team then build queries to search the data for HCP views and opinions on issues that are of interest to our clients.

Up to now we have identified nearly 500,000 HCPs worldwide. Why wouldn’t a pharma company want to know what they are talking about? It’s not complicated; it’s simple!

There is so much value in what can be discovered and the insights found through HCPs talking and having discussions online. So, step out the boat and consider how new technologies could help you understand your customers better.

Look out for the second part of my blog, where I will talk about my other questions about HCP social media listening, including  DOLs vs. KOLs and the challenges of compliance.