2010 in healthcare engagement

2010 has been an incredible year for healthcare engagement. As we have observed, analysed and documented the changing landscape through our e-journal Healthcare Engagement Strategy, at Creation Healthcare we have also partnered with some of the world’s leaders in healthcare engagement and helped them to transform their own approach to emerging channels like the Internet, social media and mobile devices. We’ve had the privilege of working closely with some of the world’s largest commercial and not-for-profit stakeholders in health and healthcare, and to have helped shape their strategies so that they have achieved some great outcomes.

The old hot topics like regulatory compliance, adverse events, capacity planning, two-way engagement, return on investment are still high on the agenda and we continue to cover these. And for some in healthcare, these are still very new issues as they begin to step out into new channels of communication. For others, though, there are new issues to be uncovered, new questions to ask. Those who have been actively using social media effectively have dealt with the ‘big questions’ and some of them are now featured speakers at many of the events you can attend in 2011.

Many of these pioneers are now asking the next set of questions; the ‘what next?’ questions. Their engagement to date has taught them practical lessons, some of which have been learned the hard way but have left a wealth of knowledge for others to build on. This is why we’ve just launched our Elite Global Forum 2011, where the industry’s pioneers will challenge each other with previously unasked questions and will come away with new paradigms from which to continue to shape the future of healthcare engagement.

In January 2011, we’ll be announcing the winners of the Healthcare Engagement Strategy Awards and these will celebrate the year’s most effective strategies. Right now though, as the year draws to a close, it’s an opportunity to review some of the highlights of 2010 from articles we’ve published throughout the year.

Since last January we’ve published 62 articles, all in English and some translated into Chinese, Japanese, French, or Russian. Here’s my retrospective pick of the bunch, one article from each month:

January started with a bang and the announcement of The most effective Healthcare Engagement Strategies in the world in last year’s winners of the Healthcare Engagement Strategy Awards. The winning strategies, and the insights shared by the winners, inspired much innovation in the world of healthcare throughout 2010.


In February we raised some of the big issues that would shape 2010. From regulation to language barriers, and a plea not to jump on an emerging ‘mHealth’ bandwagon. But the piece that really defines February 2010 for me is Paul Grant’s article on Transitioning from local to global engagement. This was a prelude to some of the strategy changes we have since seen emerging.


Our March article, a 7-step digital health self-diagnosis, was a fun approach to assessing where you are in digital healthcare engagement. It turned out to be quite a hit and was subsequently published by the printed pharma press.


In April, the first of Jonnie Jensen’s articles about social media policies for healthcare companies provided a basic ‘how-to’ guide to developing a social media policy and set the scene for what would become one of the pharmaceutical industry’s hot topics of the year a few months later.


By May, we had run the London leg of our special Healthcare Engagement Strategy 2010 events where we brought together key stakeholders in healthcare to explore emerging strategies. Paul Grant’s review of the London event includes video interviews with participants including experts from Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Napp Pharmaceuticals, Systagenix, NHS, Benenden Healthcare Society and Doctors.net.uk.


“Our call centre operates 365 days a year, because our patients don’t have a holiday from being a patient”, said Hiroshi Kaihatsu, Business Strategy manager at Eisai Pharmaceuticals in Japan, in our June article reviewing Eisai Co’s consumer-centric pharmaceutical website, illustrating some of the innovation taking place in patient engagement amongst Japanese pharmaceutical companies. This was the first of our articles translated into Japanese and Chinese languages ahead of the launch of Creation Healthcare’s Tokyo office in July.


Language barriers in international healthcare engagement initiatives was a key theme throughout 2010, and one that Creation Healthcare went some way towards helping our clients overcome. In July, our article on Breaking down the healthcare language barrier provided a glimpse of some emerging technologies and systems to bridge the language gap in healthcare.


In August we launched a call to action on regulatory-compliant pharmaceutical engagement and suggested that it’s time for a meaningful, open international debate on emerging communications channels that have already changed the global landscape for patients and healthcare stakeholders.


Yet another first in September, when we launched the findings of the world’s most comprehensive study into reportable adverse events found online. The result of months of work by our global team, we first revealed the findings at DigiPharm conference in London and caused quite a stir when we challenged pharmaceutical companies about how they see the role of social media in reporting adverse events.


In October, Thibaud Guymard’s review of Roche’s ‘La Chaine Rose’ social media initiative in France was one of the year’s many articles sharing healthcare engagement innovation from around the world. It was also one of the growing number of articles that we have now published in French language.


Emerging markets are becoming increasingly important to many global healthcare stakeholders. Marie-Claire Wilson’s review of the role of digital in bridging Russia’s health divide provided new insights into the landscape in this emerging market in November.


Nadine Van Dongen’s insights into the power shift that has taken place between healthcare stakeholders, provided new data to support previously anecdotal evidence about the changing role of the patient in healthcare engagement. With some important lessons for pharmaceutical companies, I predict that the insights in this research will inspire new strategies in 2011. Watch this space…


If you want to be first to hear about new strategies, trends, and insights in 2011, make sure that you subscribe to Healthcare Enagagement Startegy. It’s a free, monthly update on how emerging channels are changing healthcare engagement. Published by Creation Healthcare and written exclusively by members of our global team, it’s read by professionals in your field the world over.

If you would like to apply some of the insights in these stories in your healthcare company or organization, contact Creation Healthcare for a free, no-obligation conversation about your objectives.

Daniel Ghinn

Daniel Ghinn is Editor of Healthcare Engagement Strategy and CEO of Creation Healthcare, the online market research consultancy for healthcare. He is a prolific writer and speaker on emerging trends healthcare engagement in the digital age.