What Docs Discuss Online Will New FDA Guidelines Allow Pharma to Join In?
Pharmaguy interviews Peter Kirk, CEO & Sermo (see Bio), who talks about the nature and value of physician discussions on Sermo and how pharma can engage docs on social media sites and online discussion boards.

Air Date: Thursday, 12 March 2015

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Pharma-Semo-PhysiciansEvery piece of demographic, psychographic, technographic “data” we have indicates huge numbers of physicians want to be using physician peer communities, but actual use falls far short of this according to some experts. “There is a gap in how physicians are participating in social media and how we expect them to be participating,” said Bruce Grant, SVP of Strategic Services at Digitas Health, at the Social Health Summit Unconference (SXSH) held on September 19, 2011, in Philadelphia.

Pharma companies have debated whether or not they should participate in online physician discussions and even host such discussions on their own sites.

For example, Shona L. Davies, Global Communications & Programme Leader, Merck & Co Inc., talked about the prospects of implementing discussion boards & other services for healthcare professionals (HCPs) on the Univadis/Medicus portal sites. Her point of view is to always ask what value such services provide to the user, especially when there are competing sites that already offer these services. Listen to her comments here.

Pfizer and Sermo, meanwhile, completed a “strategic collaboration designed to redefine the way physicians in the U.S. and the healthcare industry work together to improve patient care.” This was back in 2010 (see here).

In 2014, MSD France launched Comuniti, a new online community that is part of MSD France’s Univadis service exclusively for healthcare professionals.

Questions/Topics of Discussion

  • Tell us a bit about Sermo and the physician members.
  • Are physician members engaged in meaningful discussions on Sermo? What are they discussing? Jeff Tangney, CEO of Doximity, said most online physician discussions were mundane and not related to medical practice.
  • In the past Sermo has worked with pharma companies such as Pfizer to bring them into these discussions (see here). How did that work? Was it successful? What kinds of discussions do physicians on Sermo want to have with pharma?
  • In your opinion, what impact will the recent FDA guidelines have on how the pharmaceutical industry engages physicians on social media sites and discussion boards such as Sermo.
  • What value can pharma marketers gain from engaging in physician discussions via social media? What values can physicians gain?

Guest Bio

Peter KirkPeter Kirk is the CEO of SERMO. Since launching the company in 2000, Peter has grown the organization into an enterprise with over 300 employees in 10 global offices and a global network of close to 2 million healthcare professionals.

Under Peter’s leadership, SERMO membership has increased 100 percent year over year, and the social community now has over 300,000 physicians from over 90 different specialties and sub-specialties — approximately 40 percent of all U.S. physicians.