A 7-step digital health self-diagnosis: How do you score?

How healthy is your digital engagement strategy? World-class ‘olympian’, or ‘gasping for breath’? We’ve put together a quick and fun tool for you to self-diagnose the health of your digital engagement. Just answer the seven questions below and see how your score adds up.

We recommend that you take this simple self-diagnosis check whether your focus is on product development, policy, corporate communications or marketing, and whether you are in prescription-only or over-the-counter medicines, medical devices, patient treatment or care. You will discover just how healthily you and your organization are engaging through digital.

A healthy digital engagement strategy allows you to connect with patients, healthcare professionals and other health stakeholders in a way that is relevant to each of them, and to achieve results aligned with business goals. Not only that, it allows you to discover which activities achieve the best outcomes so that you can continually improve effectiveness.

7-Step Self-Diagnosis

Simply answer these seven questions, and add up your score. Each question is worth up to 2 points. Find the closest response and score yourself accordingly. It’s entirely subjective and just for fun, so you can keep it to yourself or feel free to tweet me your score or comments (@EngagementStrat)!

1.

Who are the key stakeholders you want to engage? Patients, carers, healthcare professionals, government? Do you have a strategy in place to engage each of them online?

Award yourself between 0 and 2 points:
(2) I know all stakeholder groups and we have strategies for engaging each of them online.
(1) I know who our stakeholders are, and we connect with some of them online.
(0) I don’t know whether our stakeholders are online.

2.

Are your digital engagement activities and campaigns aligned with specific business goals? Are you able to measure the extent to which these goals are being achieved through digital activities?

Award yourself between 0 and 2 points:
(2): I understand our business goals; we have digital engagement strategies closely aligned with them. I am able to identify digital outcomes and their contribution to specific business goals.
(1): Our digital activities are designed in line with business goals, but I am unable to identify specific business goals that have been achieved through digital engagement.
(0): Our digital campaigns are not set up to demonstrate results against business goals.

3.

Is your digital engagement strategy an integral part of a broader business, communications or marketing strategy? Are you integrating digital engagement with your offline marketing or engagement activities such as advertising, sales, policy activities, clinical trials?

Award yourself between 0 and 2 points:
(2): Our digital engagement strategy is fully integrated with our business, marketing  or communications strategy. We plan for the online impact and opportunity with every offline activity and do not operate ‘digital strategy’ distinctly from non-digital engagement.
(1): Some planned integration exists between our online and offline engagement activities.
(0): We have a digital strategy that is completely distinct from our other engagement, marketing and communications strategies.

4.

Thinking about your key therapeutic areas, do you know what topics or words Internet users in your territories are searching for? And when they do, do you know what they find?

Award yourself between 0 and 2 points:
(2): We proactively analyse search activity and keywords around our key therapeutic areas, and I know what online resources we compete with for Internet users’ attention. We have a strategy to use search to connect with the right people at the right time.
(1): I know who are competitors are online, but we do not proactively analyse search behaviour or develop strategies based on search.
(0): I do not know what people search for around our key therapeutic areas or what they find when they do.

5.

If your digital engagement strategy includes a website, do you know how and why people find the site? Have you included clear goals you want visitors to achieve, and are you monitoring user journeys that achieve these goals?

Award yourself between 0 and 2 points:
(2): Our websites have clear outcome goals, we track user journeys and use this information to improve outcomes.
(1): I have access to key analytics data for our websites, but I am not able to align this data with tangible outcomes or goals from user journeys.
(0): We do not measure user journeys on our website.

6.

Is your approach to social media proactive or reactive – are you deliberately starting social media conversations, or listening and responding? Whichever approach you choose, do you have a plan in place to monitor and respond to social media events in a timely way?

Award yourself between 0 and 2 points:
(2): I know why we use social media; we engage in dialogue and we have an approved plan in place for managing conversations and outcomes. We are able to identify the results of social media engagement in terms of business goals.
(1): We use social media to connect with people, but we do not proactively listen to conversations outside our chosen channels of engagement.
(0): We use social media channels to make announcements; or we do not get involved with social media.

7.

Think about internal stakeholder engagement. Are your colleagues from legal and medical departments envisioned about your digital engagement strategy? Are you talking with company employees about social media and how to use it responsibly, in professional as well as personal capacity?

Award yourself between 0 and 2 points:
(2): Colleagues across all relevant departments understand the role of digital engagement in achieving our objectives, and we have a clear policy on social media engagement that colleagues understand and find helpful.
(1): We work with colleagues in different departments to plan proactively for social media engagement.
(0): We do what we have to, to gain approval from legal and medical colleagues before launching digital campaigns.

How did you score?

OK, add up your scores from the above and see which category you fit.

11-14: Olympian

Congratulations! You have pioneered, envisioned colleagues, and have a healthy approach to digital engagement. You understand that it’s a competitive environment, and you have measures in place to engage in a way that is continually relevant to stakeholders. You are achieving demonstrable business results, and you know exactly why.

You already know that in the world of digital, new platforms for engagement constantly emerge and user behaviour is unpredictable. When you need a partner who you can trust to give you independent advice about keeping your digital engagement strategy in top shape, contact Creation Healthcare. Like you, we care more about your outcomes than your digital agency.

6-10: On the mend

It’s likely that there are some areas where you are very strong. Your overall digital engagement health might be hindered by one or more areas of weakness. You probably know what needs to be done to change things for the better and you are close to having a digital strategy that delivers continually improving results.

By addressing those areas you know need work, you will move on towards Olympian level. At that point, your digital engagement activities will enable you to compete effectively online, achieving planned outcomes against business goals. To get you to that next stage, you might want to speak with an independent consultancy who can help you to make those improvements. Contact Creation Healthcare to discuss how we could help.

0-5: Gasping for breath

First, the good news: from the questions above you will probably have identified the areas you need to focus on to improve things. From a healthcare point of view, you are either in very poor health, or you are newborn – just starting out in digital engagement.

Look at the areas where you scored lowest, and select one or two to focus on. Don’t try to change everything at once. When you feel that you need extra help or advice, Creation Healthcare will guide you through the steps to healthy digital engagement. Contact Creation Healthcare at any time for a confidential discussion.


Creation Healthcare partners with pharmaceutical and healthcare organizations at every stage of their development in digital engagement. We are trusted allies to business leaders, communications and marketing directors who want their engagement strategies to get healthy and stay healthy.

If you would like an ally in the ever-changing world of healthcare engagement, or a second opinion on your self-diagnosis, talk with Creation Healthcare.

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.