Patients are increasingly turning to social media for answers to health questions – and those conversations are held on community sites significantly more frequently than on sites run by health industry organizations, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The report found that community sites – such as those run by patient groups – had 24 times more social media activity on average than any of the health companies studied over a one-week period. It also found that health businesses are more likely to listen via social media than fully engage.
This appears to be a fairly accurate reflection of the state of heathcare social media, as we seek to use new communication channels while respecting patient privacy and adhere to laws and regulations governing our industry.
With the release of this report, it would seem to be a useful time to remind our readers about our presence on social media in the United States – along with how we approach it as a business.
AstraZeneca and Social Media
First, there is this blog, of course. We use AZ Health Connections for four primary purposes:
- Shed light on how we do business, such as through question and answer stories with company leaders.
- Comment and engage on external issues, such as public policy or industry trends.
- Share corporate news and information.
- Amplify stories in the media about AstraZeneca.
Second, AstraZeneca US is on Twitter. Click here to visit our page.
Third, Facebook, where people can share, like and comment on our posts. We explained why we are on Facebook here.
And, finally, our YouTube channel, which we largely use to host videos for this blog.
Social Media Principles
AstraZeneca seeks to follow five principles that should be at the core of any company engagement in social media:
1. Truth and Accuracy: Content must be created, developed, or made available that is truthful, balanced, accurate, and not misleading.
2. Be Respectful: Encourage product sponsor participation that respects the interests of patients, caregivers, and health care providers, particularly related to matters of privacy and the primacy of the patient/physician relationship.
3. Protect and Advance Patient Health: Facilitate patient access to quality information for use with their physician to improve their health and protect patients through encouraging accurate and timely reporting on medicine safety.
4. Transparency: Any product sponsor participation should be accomplished in a manner that, at all times, is entirely transparent to other participants as to the role of product sponsors as participants in online discussion.
5. Respect the Views of Others: Acknowledge that patients, caregivers, clinicians and others who participate in social media have their own opinions and that, when they differ from those of the product sponsor, it is not the role of a product sponsor to censor or limit these views but to add the product sponsor’s own views to the discussion.
We look forward to improving our capabilities in the social media space – and hearing from you on how we can most appropriately and effectively engage and communicate with those who are impacted by our business.