Patients of a Digital Era: The Relationship Between Patients and the Pharmaceutical Industry in the Era of the Web and Social Media

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Basel, Switzerland | Credits @ursprung

Does the pharmaceutical industry facilitate patients of a digital era to answer their questions on health issues?

Some of us believe that there is a gap in this communication. 

A communication bridge that is based on trust and compliance will help patients. 

Certainly, there is great interest and discussion about this topic on local, regional and global level. This is the reason of starting as a thesis and now becoming a blog and website. 

Three years ago, I realized my need to gain graduate level knowledge about digital communication and social media and try to find answers and solutions on this topic in my thesis. So, it had in its core to understand in depth the relationship in the context of the online ecosystem.  

In the beginning of this year, Journal of the Hellenic Society of Pharmaceutical Medicine (EL.E.F.I) accepted and published my article based on my thesis: “Patients of a Digital Era: The Relationship Between Patients and the Pharmaceutical  Industry in the Era of the Web and Social Media”. 

Here is the abstract of the article. 

Patients of a Digital Era: The Relationship Between Patients and the Pharmaceutical Industry in the Era of the Web and Social Media


ABSTRACT 

Objective: This research explores the relationship of people with the pharmaceutical industry in the online environment and has in its core to understand in depth those both parts in the context of the online ecosystem.

Method: A quantitative analytical survey was utilized to gather insights from 400 respondents randomly selected from five European countries: Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Spain and United Kingdom. Data collection was managed online via an online platform.

Results: The major findings advance knowledge about how people behave online while seeking for health information in relation to pharmaceutical companies. This article evidences that people initiate their search online in search engines. Although relevant and credible content could be found in pharmaceutical companies’ websites, they do not appear widely accepted, while it is unlikely to be recommended plus that companies’ social media accounts are rarely followed. Lack of trust in pharmaceutical industry was spontaneously reported.

Conclusions: As the amount of people experiencing various aspects of life in the parallel digital world that inevitably integrates, healthcare will continue to grow and be transformed in the digital environment. Digital communication accelerates health and healthcare evolution because it diminishes the concepts of time and place. Health information is more than ever accessed everywhere, anytime, from an exponentially growing amount of people. In the digital sphere, a new approach of pharmaceutical industry’s ethos, logos and pathos has the potential to ensure more and healthier days for patients. Based on the findings’ analysis, we advocate in favor of further academic research on the topic given individuals’ increasing use of the Internet as the primary sources for finding answers to their health-related concerns. 


Discussing about Patients of a Digital Era

Last month, at Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, it was a great honor and pleasure for me to present it at “Pharmaceutical Medicine & Clinical Research in the 21st Century: Adapting to Digital Health and Empowering the Patient” the 4th Panhellenic Congress of Clinical Research, organized by EL.E.F.I. .

We all can learn more and find ways to meet patients’ needs. Patients are searching for health related issues in every step of their journey.

Let’s start!

#patientsdigitalera