Social Media Management Systems (SMMS) in healthcare

Those that have been subscribers of the Healthcare Engagement Strategy e-Journal for some time will know that Creation Healthcare has a particular interest in staying abreast of the latest developments in monitoring and analysis of online conversations.

Back in November 2010, we were horizon scanning and discovered exciting European developments in online pharmacovigilance.

However, for the most part, the pharmaceutical industry relies on creative agencies and consultancies to provide them with monitoring or analysis of social media conversations, using the standard tools such as Radian6, SM2, Meltwater, Market Sentinel, Cymphony and others. Creation Healthcare also has used these tools and others to conduct detailed understanding of reportable adverse events on the Worldwide Web.

Industry analyst Jeremiah Owyang, explains in an Altimeter Report published this year, that Social Media Management Systems are still not providing a complete intelligence picture, and that there is a clear need for consolidation of channel metrics into a unified solution. Of particular interest to me, the research behind the report involved 144 enterprise-class corporations, none of whom were from the pharmaceutical or healthcare sectors. That being so, I to some extent expected these ‘less restricted’ organizations to be far ahead of the tools and techniques being implemented by pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. This is not the case, and as typified by many of the recent Healthcare Engagement Strategy Awards winners, the pharmaceutical industry can be proud that it is implementing many ground-breaking techniques and processes to adapt to the changing social communication landscape.

In my own recent evaluation of the marketplace, I was pleased to discover a slightly different technology which is predominantly used in the defense and intelligence industries, and which may have significant implications for the health industry in understanding causality in online conversations. Attensity have a suite of products which have at their core a text analysis engine that semantically groups information to identify tone, actors, operators and subjects – amongst other things.


Figure 1 – The Attensity text analysis engine can identify the component parts of a sentence to extract deeper insight and context.

In the example illustration (Figure 1), it can be seen how the grouping of this information could form the basis of a much more intelligent monitoring solution for pharmaceutical communicators, and more importantly, could form the backbone of a pharmacovigilance monitoring solution.

Note how the tool is able to identify ‘symptoms’ and ‘patients’ in regards to an event, and can also identify a trigger of ‘litigation’ against the ‘manufacturer’. This kind of analysis goes far beyond simple keyword based monitoring, where even the best so-called sentiment analysis is often quite poor without a lot of manual training of the tool to understanding why ‘positive keywords’ may create a ‘negative conversation’.

Attensity’s deep analysis tool is also integrated in a ‘command center’ suite, complete with real-time issue identification and an engagement console similar to Hootsuite (although with enterprise features and compliance workflows very suited to pharmaceutical and medical approval processes).

Creation Healthcare has been recommending that to engage companies’ first need to listen and learn – through an internal or external online monitoring and situation center. This is especially true of high-profile organizations that have multiple brands and campaigns with the potential for two-way engagement, and therefore a possible social media crisis.

The multiple vendors providing social media management systems at the moment, are certainly competing for space and are potentially confusing organizations looking to equip their social teams with tools. That said, occasional new capabilities emerge which are worthy of attention and it seems that Attensity may have such a tool.

Creation Healthcare makes sure that our independent counsel gives our clients the very latest insight into tools and techniques that might help them adapt to the changing world of social engagement. For advice specific to your company needs, please do not hesitate to contact us today.


Image source: Wikipedia

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