The (Life) Science of Digital Connections - Pharmaceutical Executive


The (Life) Science of Digital Connections

Pharmaceutical Executive

Discerning Good Information from Bad

What are the pros and cons of patients using mobile technology to gain access to health information? What are the pros and cons of physicians doing the same? How do you strike a balance between real-time information versus risk of becoming too impersonal or accessing inaccurate information?

Gauri: The evidence unequivocally shows that it is not the caliber or quality of the provider that determines the quality of care delivery—it is the level of access to information. While the pros far outweigh the cons for most users to gain this access, for the tech-unsavvy users especially, the cons are a significant barrier to being able to use mobile technology. Password policy and poor user interfaces are the biggest deterrent to significant use.

What is the most influential piece of new technology and its impact on the healthcare industry?

Gauri: No surprise, the smartphone is by far the most influential new technology in healthcare. It ranks in the top dozen of the 100 greatest technologies ever invented, such as [devices like the] GPS, the portable music player, the calculator, and the camera. Smartphones and other mobile technologies give the consumer 24-hour access to information—and this technology has changed the way we view the world.

How can social media improve the physician/patient relationship?

Gauri: While social media has the potential to improve the physician/patient relationship, privacy issues have and will continue to significantly limit the evolution of this technology.

How has mobile technology changed the way pharma connects with HCPs?

Gauri: Ubiquitous and ready access to HCPs using asynchronous communication technologies has affected users of all types. Unfortunately, unregulated and constant bombardment of physician users with messages from pharma has steadily reduced the impact of this technology over the past decade.

What are the benefits and risks of a truly two-way conversation between pharma and patients, as can take place on websites such as Facebook?

Gauri: I would speculate that social media websites such as Facebook will be hard-pressed to be considered a viable hub for serious, meaningful communication with patients. Still, more formal social media sites are already showing the benefits of this nascent modality of communication. Security concerns again plague the evolution of this medium.


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