In part VI of this blog series, I covered the challenges and potential found in the Outcomes and Adherence stage of the pharma lifecycle, and introduced the power of data to drive insight, including gaining access to clinical information from EHRs. Now we look at the next stage, which involves pharmacovigilance, where we close the loop between consumers and pharmas by tracking how consumers feel about drugs and other products.
Not that many years ago, the way we got feedback for a drug or product was to either call consumers directly to solicit for it or to wait for the inbound complaint calls or letters. Today, consumer feedback, whether good or bad, is now shared in real time via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks. This feedback is both directed at the manufacturer as well as other members of consumers’ social networks, which likely include many other current or potential consumers.
Taking Twitter as an example, if you simply search for relevant terms, you’ll see real-time feeds from across the world that can be analyzed. Searching for “pharma” and “prescription” or “hospital” and “unhappy” yields a goldmine of opinions that can be valuable and actionable for both short-term responses as well as long-term strategic planning.
Analyzing these feeds for terms that provide sentiment as to whether or not the product or drug is well liked can then be displayed visually. In the chart below, each “bubble” represents a single product or drug. The size of the bubble reflects the volume of product or drug mentions, in this case on Twitter. The vertical positioning, above or below the center line, indicates whether the overall sentiment is positive or negative.
So, for example, Product 1 (gold) has quite a bit of activity (volume) and it is seen in a positive light as reflected by consumers. Product 2 (green) has had only a handful of tweets about it and the majority of them have been negative. A lot of other information could be gathered as well, depending upon what is of interest to the pharma, and the summary display could be altered to include numerical results, etc.
Access to social networks and the data that is publicly available on them is a good example of how not only consumer sentiment can be continuously gathered, but how business decisions and insights can be continuously garnered as well. This is lightyears ahead of calling prospective consumers, determining if they have purchased and used the product and then soliciting their personal feedback, which many may be reluctant to give.
Taking advantage of data is key as we’ve learned throughout the first six blogs in this series, in this case for the purposes of sentiment.
If you’d like to learn more, check out my recent webinar titled “Overcoming Healthcare & Pharma Data Challenges for Competitive Advantage: Lessons from Other Industries.”
Have you taken advantage of data available for sentiment? I’d love to hear about it if so.
Until next time,