UCB’s Active Social Media Listening Approach Better Communications, Better Patient Experiences, & Better Solutions

A conversation with Trish Nettleship, Director, Social Media & Influence, UCB, Inc. (see Bio), about her company’s approach to social media and patient centricity, which involves active listening to understand patient needs and issues – including adverse events – and how this results in better communications and patient experiences.

Aired LIVE on:
November 13, 2013

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Adverse Event Elephant


PatientsLikeMe (PLM) — an online community for people with “life-changing conditions” — submitted comments to the FDA regarding its experience with adverse events reported by its members. In short, PLM found that 7% of 500 randomly selected posts from the 364,000 posts contributed by patients within the PatientsLikeMe Forum during 2009 incorporated all four elements required for reporting an adverse event (an identifiable patient, a specific medication, an identifiable reporter and a reaction). This is 35 times the rate in the frequently cited Nielson study, which found only one such message in its random sample of 500 posts.

Biopharma company UCB and PatientsLikeMe partnered in the past to create an online, open epilepsy community that captures real-world experiences of people living with epilepsy in the U.S. Part of this partnership included a pharmacovigilance program to monitor the site for adverse events and report directly to the FDA adverse events associated with UCB products (see “Finally, a Drug Company Embraces Social Media, AEs Included!”).

Questions/Topics Discussed

  • Can you define “active listening” as it applies to social media?
  • Please summarize UCB’s experience with hosting a patient forum on Patients Like Me?
  • What is necessary for a pharma company to actively engage patients via social media in terms of technology, human resources, and policies? What about the regulatory issues? How do you navigate those waters?

Guest Bio

Trish Nettleship

Trish Nettleship is the Director for Social Media & Influence at UCB, Inc., a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system.

Trish’s role at UCB is to create a social media center of excellence to support UCB on a global scale and drive adoption of social across the organization. She has spent the better part of her career helping business customers succeed. Previously at AT&T supporting small businesses with a resource portal to help increase productivity and grow their business. Nettleship then went on to build the social media practice for AT&T with B2B space. Under her leadership, AT&T grew social into a significant channel for lead generation and overall engagement with their customers.

Nettleship has held various marketing roles from social media, digital strategy, communications, product marketing and business development within the technology space. She holds an Master of Business Administration in International and a Bachelor of Administration in management and marketing both from Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. She regularly speaks at social media and pharmaceutical conferences on topics related to leveraging digital and social to support business objectives.

Additional Resources