Some interesting tidbits to mule over

Some interesting tidbits to mule over

While everyone is busy embracing the idea that social media could revolutionize health care and become an invaluable tool in diabetes management a recent study may provide some insight into just how aggressively companies should be moving here. According to the new Cybercitizen Health® Europe study; “Online consumers show much higher demand for practical online resources from pharmaceutical companies, such as disease and treatment information and condition management tools, than for online contests and games.”

The study also found, “Among consumers who are already using or interested in online information and tools from pharmaceutical companies, only 13 percent want to access this content on Facebook and 5 percent on Twitter. In contrast, 43 percent of this audience would like to obtain pharma resources from websites about conditions and diseases.”

Now it may seem so 90’s that consumers actually prefer an old-fashioned web site rather than Facebook or Twitter however Diabetic Investor isn’t really that surprised.  Looking at diabetes specifically there are literally hundreds, if not, thousands of blogs, tweets, apps and Facebook pages that deal with diabetes. While it is true these forms of communication receive their fair share of traffic it is also true that their audience is rather small when compared to the actual number of patients with diabetes.  The simple fact is when it comes to diabetes the majority of patients prefer their privacy and rather than let the whole world know they have diabetes with a Facebook post or tweet, they instead prefer to seek information that will actually help them manage their diabetes, imagine that.

That rather than play games or participate in contests, which are usually, just disguised marketing tactics patients want information that will help them manage their diabetes or put another way they not only want the tools but the education that teaches them how to effectively uses these tools. Diabetic Investor is not surprised by this revelation as we have never seen social media as the answer, there is a place for social media however there is a greater demand for practical, easy to understand information – information which will actually help educate the patient so they can more effectively manage their diabetes.

Yet it continues to amaze Diabetic Investor how much time, effort and resources companies are putting into social media falsely believing that these efforts will lead to greater sales of insulin or patients using more test strips. Once again the industry which should have embraced internet based diabetes education years ago has been slow to catch on and when they finally realize that people are actually using the internet they pick the wrong tool to deliver their message and end up delivering the wrong message.

Diabetes is a serious condition which can be managed when the patient who wants education gets what they need. However the industry rather than acknowledge this fact treats patients as if they are small children unable to understand or accept the everyday realities of managing diabetes. That like small children they will respond to games, contests, pretty colors  and other superficial tactics rather than real information that acknowledges what these patients are going through each day of their lives and helps makes their lives just a little easier.

Is it any wonder why executives, most of whom who have no clue as to what a patient goes through, embrace social media. Diabetic Investor has said it before and we’ll say it again – when it comes to diabetes and actually helping patients more effectively manage their diabetes social media isn’t the answer. Just because social media is popular does not necessarily mean it works 100% of the time, yes there is a role for social media just not the role many of the executives have envisioned.

Internet based education is where it’s at and the sooner these executives understand that the better. When will these people learn?