First Half At #DigiSights13: Future Of Pharma Is Digital But With Defined Social Media Guidelines

Synopsis of first half at DigiSights 2013 about the evolution of healthcare industry with the digital and social media world.

India’s first digital marketing conference in Pharma and Healthcare - DigiSights 2013 is on at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai today. The day started early with a light and healthy breakfast, and events started on time, which should be a pat on the back for the organizers, MediaMedic.

The day started with understanding the changing pharma ecosystem in the digital age from a very experienced man, who has been observing the pharma space when businesses used telephones and have moved on to smartphones now.

Changing Pharma ecosystem in the Digital Age

Prof Narayan Gad – Director, Pharma Tech Management, was at the helm at #DigiSights13. Professor shared how the Pharma ecosystem has evolved and divided into Pharma 1.0 (1960-80), 2.0 (1980-2000) and 3.0 (2000 ahead). Explaining the evolution, he shared an interesting fact that 75-90% healthcare professionals are digitally literate.

Further going ahead with the slides, he said that digital and social is the way forward for the healthcare industry, the reason being the rapid and seamless response provided by the medium.

Digital tools have crept into the ecosystem and doctors are now being controlled more by apps than brains. Apps can be of great use for patient education, tracking, among other useful needs. Clinical trials are gaining the usage of digital world and all this is happening while having fun via gamification.

Before the big applause, Prof. Gad stressed upon social being the way forward and shared that – “Pharma companies should not just focus on sales but on engagement.

Changing needs of HCPs in the digital age: panel discussion

The first panel for the day had quite an experienced and eminent set of panelists from the industry. The session moderated by Amlesh Ranjan, Associate Director, Sanofi started the discussion by asking Dr. Aniruddha Malpani, Medical Director @HELP on what change is he observing in the industry. Malpani shared that doctors should educate patients and the big problem the market is facing is the trust deficit. “Patients don’t trust doctors and having a website will be the best thing but doctors don’t have time; this is where the Pharma industry comes into picture,” added Malpani. He ended his thought by an insight – “Pharma industry should not create brands but they should create trust.

DigiSights India 2013

However, Dr. Sushil Sabnis, Orthopaedic Surgeon wasn’t very happy with the thoughts and placed a counter question – “What about people who don’t access the internet, these people see doctor as god; they don’t care about anything.” He also added that digital is helpful but putting health related content by not so experienced doctors can do more wrong for patients. Finally it comes to one-to-one with a doctor.

Taking the conversation forward, Dr. Ajit Dangi, President & CEO, Danssen Consulting, shared that he is quite excited by the medium and its quick reach. However, Pharma is a regulated industry so content placed on social media should have set guidelines otherwise things could go wrong.

Ashish Babtiwale, Director, Virchow Labs, was also quite vocal about the speed of the digital world, how to reach faster and how Apps are being used aggressively. His perception is that digital kills the distance; smartphones, apps are the game changers of the industry.

Finally Andrew Spong, Managing Director, STweM Ltd, who has traveled from the US for the conference, shared his belief that patients have the right to participation in today’s world. Smartphone penetration in India is the boon and Pharma industry should take advantage.

He further added that, “Digital is giving an opportunity to patients to learn about the disease. How about if a patient comes in with research about his disease and discusses it with the doctor; it helps the process and it is the future of medicine.”

The session was interesting since it brought forward two different schools of thoughts and lots of insights about the reality of the Pharma world in the country.

That called for a much required tea break to charge our brain cells!

Changing pace of Digital World

The session started after a short 10 min break. Dinesh Chindarkar, Co-founder, MediaMedic Communications Pvt. Ltd started his talk with Dinesh Mediamedicexamples on how digital and social is changing the world. He shared a cool example - In 2008-2009 infant mortality rate was bothering the Modi government in Gujarat. To tackle it the government made sure that in each taluka level, once a mother enrolls for pregnancy, all details are recorded from time to time and every week she gets a message to help prepare her better with information like what to eat, how to prepare, etc. All this was delivered on a feature phone as an SMS in the local language. This way the government could bring down the morality rate in the state.

He shared few more examples while emphasizing that the consumer is getting a chance to manage his health. The market is also being supported by a host of Indian startups that are helping rural India too. One great example was Biosense and how it is working with rural India in healthcare.

Before he could finish he emphasized that - Social + Local + Mobile is the game changer and is the future of the healthcare industry too.

Social Media: From Insighting to Category building

Priti Mohile, Managing Director, MediaMedic Communications Pvt. Ltd. started talking about the Pharma market and its association with digital. Moving ahead she focused on the challenges of being a highly regulated market and stressed that rules and laws should be placed in the Pharma market too. However, the laws can’t be laid down so effectively since the medium is rapidly changing.

But why should the Pharma industry go digital? According to Priti, it will matter to India and marketers should use the medium to learn and listen for product development, form market strategy, etc. The idea is also to educate the consumer and market for non prescription products with digital.

The presentation had some interesting insights on why people should just not jump onto social. “They should have an integrated approach, rather than opening a Facebook page. Integrated communication is the way to go and not isolated communication,” shared Priti.

With these words, Priti not only gave a glimpse of her experience in the industry but also a lot of food for thought for the day.

It was about time for lunch and also the completion of the first half of the day.

For more insights and live updates, do check the hashtag #Digisights13.